Choosing a gym: 8 things to consider before joining a new gym

Read this if you are ready to take your workouts and body to the next level but not sure what things to look out for in a new gym.

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choosing a gym, things to look for in a gym, how to choose a gym
Choosing a gym: 8 things to consider before joining a new gym. Photo: virginactive.co.uk

It’s nearly that time of the year when most of us begin to consider joining a gym. Whether it’s because you want to improve your general fitness level, sculpt your body for the summer holidays or want to pursue an active hobby in the New Year, choosing the right gym is vital in achieving your goal.

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Before you part with your hard earned cash and sign up a lengthy contract, you need to explore your options. To help you make a decision, here’s our guide on how to choose the right gym:

Things to look for in a gym before joining

Joining a gym is a big commitment and to avoid disappointment and pouring money down the drain, make sure you:

1. Find out which gyms are near you

The chances are that you are within a short distance from a gym. If you are not aware of any gyms near you, then ask the Internet. If you are employed or a student, then consider gyms near your workplace and/or college/university as it may be more practical for you to go to the gym before or after work/lessons.

2. Visit the gyms before you join them

The above steps will help you make a shortlist of the gyms you like to consider joining. The next step is to pay them a visit. It’s a good idea to ring and make an appointment rather than just turn up and expect to be shown around the gym.

visit new gym, gym members, gym staff, gym cleanliness
Visit the gym before joining to make sure you are happy with its location, staff, facilities, cleanliness and the other gym members.

3. Are you comfortable in the gym?

When you are doing the gym tour, take a note of the general cleanliness, lighting, car parking and anything else that is important to you. Are you comfortable in the presence of the other members, are the members of staff pleasant, can you see yourself as a member of this gym?

4. How much does it cost to join that gym

Using the gym facilities comes at a cost and you need to be aware of that. Find out the membership costs, joining fees and any other costs you may encounter upon joining. Most gym memberships are based on a yearly contract and charge a joining fee while others are based on pay as you go basis.

gym membership cost
Make sure you know how much your new gym membership costs.

5. Ask for recommendations

Now that you have an idea which gyms are near you and you have read the online reviews, it’s time to ask your friends/family/colleagues for recommendations as some of them may be going to a gym near you. It’s worth asking them about it.

6. Inspect the gym facilities

When you go on your gym tour, make sure they show you all of the gym’s facilities. Don’t be afraid to have a closer look at the machines and other equipment. Are they new, well maintained, clean? Do they all work? It may sound silly at this stage but that’s what really matters. You don’t want to join that gym and then discover that the equipment is not up to scratch.

gym facilities, gym swimming pool
Don’t forget to inspect all facilities at your gym to make sure they are up to your standard.

7. Ask for a day pass before you join the gym

Doing a gym tour is a must but If you are serious about joining the gym and working out, you need to ask for a day pass. That will give you the chance to go back and experience what it’s like to be a member there. You can workout, use the facilities and talk to other members. If you are still happy and feel comfortable, then it’s time to become a member.

8. Gym contract and small print

At the end of the gym tour, the member of staff who was showing you around is likely to invite you for a chat. They will explain the different membership options, facilities, classes and anything else they think you need to know before joining. Don’t feel pressured to sign up as a member at that point. Use this chat to find out about their cancelation policy, special offers/promotions, discounts (especially if you are a student) and anything else that’s important to you.

gym membership contract, gym contract small print
Before you sign the gym membership contract, check the small print for any hidden costs and clauses.

Honest advice on how to choose a gym

Remember that the people who run the gyms are well aware of the competition and that works to your advantage. Don’t be afraid to compare your local gyms or those that you are interested in joining and use that information to help you make the right choice. Pay particular attention to joining fees and other charges such as car park and/or additional charges for facilities not included in your gym membership package (swimming pool, steam room and sauna etc.).

A gym membership is not just for Christmas, even if you do join because it’s on your New Year’s Resolution.

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