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How Do I Choose a Gym?

Tips on Choosing a Gym

If chilly temps are putting your outdoor workouts on hold, then it's time to find a gym so you can keep up with your runs and bike rides. Many health clubs offer lower rates this time of year, so if you're looking to join, now is a great time. If you're not sure how to choose a gym, these questions should help.

  • Where is it located? If it's more than a 10-minute walk or car ride from your home or office, chances are you'll be less motivated to go.
  • What's the cost per month or year? Call around to see what deals are being offered and what the price includes. You may have to pay extra for classes, parking, use of the pool or sauna, or for meetings with a trainer. Monthly fees are usually around $10 to $75, and some gyms require you to pay a sign-up or annual fee too.
  • When is the gym open? If you can only go at 5:30 a.m., but the gym doesn't open until 6, then you'll have to find a different place. Check the weekend hours too, since some gyms close early on Sundays, or aren't open at all. Many facilities now are open 24 hours a day, but you may be paying extra for that and it won't matter if you're never going to go past 5 at night
  • What do you like to do? Whether it be using the treadmill, tennis, lifting weights, or taking classes, go with the gym that offers the activities you like. Don't pay extra for the pool if you know you'll never swim.

Want to hear the rest? Then


  • Is the gym clean? The equipment, bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms should be well taken care of.
  • Is the gym crowded at times you plan on going? If you can only go at noon, and no cardio machines are free at that time, then you'll be wasting time and money. Before you sign up, visit the gym at times you think you'll be working out to check the availability of equipment.
  • What are the fellow gym goers like? If you prefer working out with just ladies, and the gym is filled with huge muscle men, you probably won't feel comfortable.
  • What's the staff like? Are they friendly and helpful? Do they go out of their way to show you around and introduce you to people? Also, they should be trained in first aid and CPR, so check on that.
  • Does the gym have personal trainers? If so, find out if you get to meet with one for a free session when you sign up. If not, how much are sessions?

Most gyms will offer free day passes, so take advantage of these. Check out all the gyms in your area to see which one fits your needs best.

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Join The Conversation
Giasbash6260 Giasbash6260 7 years
- My gym is located on the same road I live on - My gym is 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week - My gym has a tremendous amount of cadio equipment and cute personal trainers to look at - My gym is pretty clean and has cleaning solution everywhere so people can clean their machines down after their sweat sesh - My gym isn't too crowded... and if it is, I don't notice because I am on my cardio machine paying attention to me sweating! - My gym has many members of all shapes and sizes who all seem to want to work out to be healthy and happy - My gym has really nice staff & cute personal trainers!
Spectra Spectra 7 years
The only criteria that I needed were that it was right by the hospital where I work and that it have well-kept equipment and that it wasn't crazy-crowded all the time. Plus, the monthly membership fee is pretty low, so it's a good deal for me too.
syako syako 7 years
Wow, that's so random. I'd never even think to look or ask if there's a water fountain. Thanks for the tip.
threadhunter threadhunter 7 years
i'd also check that it has a water fountain. which should be a given, however, i just moved back to PA from CA, and the gym I joined doesn't have a water fountain. i never thought of asking or looking for one until it was too late. when i asked if they had a fountain they said, "no. we have bottled water that you can purchase." so i can buy a $1 16 oz plastic water bottle? No thanks! i always bring my reusable bottle, and fill it before i get there. when i asked why they DON'T have a water fountain, they said, "it's not sanitary" ok. whatever.
runningesq runningesq 7 years
My only critera for a pool was that it was close and had an indoor/ outdoor pool. I hate that I pay $80/ month but it has what I need.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 7 years
when you are looking at prices of a gym, ASK their sales reps about upcoming sales. January especially is a HUGE sign up month because of new years resolutions etc, so if you join in December make sure you ask "what are you going to offer price-wise in the coming weeks, and can you extend those prices to me now" I save over $100 signing fee doing that
Vanonymous Vanonymous 7 years
I just switched this week from a World Gym to the local YMCA. It costs $7 more a month but you get SO much more. Pool, tennis courts, basketball courts, sauna, in addition to the essentials (for me) like a great cardio area, variety of classes at no extra charge and nautical equipment. They also offer spinning which my last gym did not have. I'm so excited. Heading there on my lunch break in 20 min!
syako syako 7 years
I think the number one thing is to decide what you want from a gym. Do you want a place where you can get in a good workout, take a couple of classes, have a clean locker room and shower and be done with it? Or do you want something that gives you all of that and much more --- lots of variety in classes, all the fancy extras like tennis, a pool, sauna, a juice bar, etc. etc. Just deciding that will help you weed out a lot of gyms and make the list to check out much shorter and easier to conquer.
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