I have also trained (and worked) at a few fitness clubs in my day and I know that choosing a club can often be overwhelming, especially for the new exerciser.
With that in mind, here are some things to think about when you are scoping out the fitness clubs in your area.
What are the different membership options?
Some clubs offer month-to-month memberships, 6 month and 12 month contracts. Others may sell sessions or classes (like in the case of a private studio). Think about which option is best for you and your needs. Here are a few questions to consider:
- Are you able to cancel your membership at anytime or are your locked into a contract?
- Can you put your membership on hold for an extended period?
- Is the membership transferable?
- Is there a joining fee? (You can often get this waived, all you have to do is ask).
- Is the membership all-inclusive or are there different rates depending on the services you choose?
- Is there a family rate or can you save by joining with a friend?
Is the location easy to get to?
How many of us are paying or have paid for a gym membership that we never use(d)? (You can admit it, we all have done it :) Make sure this doesn't happen by finding a location that is convenient to get to from home/work in all types of weather so you are not wasting your hard earned money.
Does it have the services/amenities that you are looking for?
Location is very important, but if you join the gym right around the corner from your house and it doesn't offer the classes you are looking for, you may never get there.
Think specifically about what you want in a gym. Are you looking for a place with a sauna and hot tub or a no-frill gym with just the basics? Make a list of your must-haves and take it with you when you visit each club.
Is a fitness orientation and assessment included in the membership?
This is an important one, especially for beginners. You want to make sure that a qualified trainer will take you on a session (or two) around the club, introduce you to the equipment and get you started on a program. Nothing is more frustrating then joining a gym and being let loose to fend for yourself when you have no idea how to use any of the equipment.
Having an assessment is important to help you track your progress. Find out if regular fitness assessments are part of your membership.
What are the things did you considered when joining your gym? Any positive/negative experiences you would like to share?