Going to the gym is a great idea for your health and fitness, but not all gyms are created equal. Gyms differ in size, focus, target audience, prices, and more. Here are some things to take into consideration when you’re looking for a gym to join.
1. Variety of equipment
Unless you are a bodybuilder focusing on building up lots of muscle mass in one specific area of your body, such as your triceps or abs, you should do full-body workouts for maximum health and fitness improvement. This means that you need both cardio equipment—such as treadmills, a step machine, or a cross-body trainer—and weightlifting equipment. Choose a gym that has a variety of machines so you don’t get bored, and make sure that they also have equipment to help you stretch before and after your workouts, such as mats and yoga balls.
2. Classes available
Taking exercise classes at your gym will help you discover new ways of working out in a fun and social way. The best gyms offer a variety of classes throughout the day and evening and at the weekend to suit all tastes and schedules.
3. Types of membership
One of the main concerns that people tend to have when they are thinking of joining a gym is whether they will actually end up going regularly enough to justify the expense. If you’re not sure whether joining a gym is the right thing for you at this moment, choose a gym that offers a trial period and has several types of membership. For instance, FC Gym Balham offers a two-week trial membership at a reduced price, and you can also choose between paying regularly—such as every month, every six months, or every year—or buying a ‘pack’ of sessions to use whenever you can. This last option might work best for you if you know that you’re only going to be able to go to the gym sporadically.
When you are working out, you want to feel safe and supported. Unfortunately, too many people report being harassed at the gym or simply feeling uncomfortable because the atmosphere among users of that particular gym is cliquey or too competitive. Find a gym that offers a trial period and use it to assess the atmosphere in that particular place—if you don’t feel safe, go somewhere else. If you are a woman, remember that there are women-only gyms or mixed gyms with women-only floors or scheduled times, which might help you feel more comfortable.
5. Availability of personal trainers
Even if you’re not thinking of hiring a personal trainer at the moment, knowing that there are personal trainers available at your gym will give you more flexibility in your fitness journey. When choosing a personal trainer, make sure that they have the right qualities, a key one being empathy—you don’t want to be shouted at for an hour unless that’s what works to motivate you!
Now you know what to look for in a gym.