The main things to consider when choosing a gym are:
Make location your #1 consideration in choosing a gym. If your gym is more than a 20 minutes from your home or office, studies show that you probably won't go. It has to be convenient.
Membership fees vary widely, from $35 - $100/month. Some gyms charge an initial sign up fee as well. (this is called an enrollment fee). Many gyms will allow you a free trial period to test-drive the facility.
Make sure the hours of operation fit your needs. Most gyms offer early morning as well as weekend and evening hours. Most staffed gyms have instructors and staff that are certified in CPR and first aid. Some gyms have 24-hour access - these gyms have no supervision, no instructional staff and no classes.
A variety of equipment is preferred for a complete workout. Free weights, selectorized equipment, cardio (treadmills, lifecycles, arc trainers) and even a place to stretch are important. Make sure there is enough equipment so you don’t have to wait in line to use a popular piece of equipment. Some gyms have amenities like workout towels to use while you exercise, bath towels, shampoo, cold drinks and a lounge for post exercise.
A variety of classes should be available. Your gym should offer classes for different levels of exercisers. Classes should range from the beginner to advanced and have options in the morning, evenings and weekends. Most gyms now offer indoor cycling/spin as a group class too.
If you're new to the gym scene, you'll want a friendly and helpful staff. When you tour the club, ask if certified trainers are available for members. Trainers should be certified by a nationally ranked group and experienced in the industry. Midtown fitness has weekly free orientation classes for new members. Even if you're a gym veteran, you might need a nationally certified trainer at some point, especially to show you the ropes of the new equipment or to supercharge your routine. Besides having a helpful attitude, the staff at a gym should be trained in both first aid and CPR and have an AED on site.
You should feel comfortable at your gym--with the people and the place. If you don't feel welcome, you won't go. Before purchasing a club membership, take a tour during the time you think you'll be working out. That will allow you to see how crowded the gym will be when you're there. Most gyms will have peak and off-peak times
Some gyms cater to different groups -- bodybuilders, power lifters, women’s only, and even a gym like ours that caters to both genders and all ages just doing their best to stay healthy and in shape (that’s why I call midtown the friendly neighborhood gym)
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