Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What things to look for in a gym?

I decided to write down a list of things that I look out for when scoping out a new gym. I thought this might help some of you who are in the search and don’t know where to start. Like anything else there is the low-end and high-end gyms but that doesn’t necessarily mean better. Today, I’ll focus on few of the things that I think are important when assessing whether your future gym is a good fit.

Variety of free weights available – Make sure there is a range of weights, you don’t want to be spending extra time trying to find the ones you need. They gym should be equipped with at least one set if not more of every weight starting at the lower end at as low as 5 lbs to 100+lbs.

Functioning and clean equipment – if there are too many repair signs or chains on the equipment you know it’s a bad sign. You shouldn’t have to worry about things falling off the equipment when you are using it or drawing attention to yourself when making embarrassing squeaking sounds.

Clean locker room facilities – This is not only important for your health but having a clean shower and locker room to change at can make a world of difference when debating on weather you want to come back. If you find yourself having to change your mind about changing or taking a shower at the gym then that is not going to help you stay consistent then what is the point of having a locker room. If it becomes an inconvenience then you’ll find a way to avoid going. Also, do your part and help keep the space clean by taking care of your mess and to the staff who cleans…be nice to them and thank them often!

Lots of cardio equipment – No body wants to wait around, having lots of cardio equipment and a variety of them is good. Keep cardio fun and explore different options. Don’t shy away from the stair master…it burns more calories per hour than if you were gliding on the elliptical which we all love…also its low-impact and better for your knees than say the treadmill.

Friendly staff – no one likes to walk into a gym and have the staff treat you like they don’t know why you are there. Every client or potential client is important. You are the client, expect good service! Ask to see the facilities and speak to a sales rep to discuss the rates. Remember, you don’t have to commit! Most gyms offer free day or week passes so take advantage of that and check out the gym for a few days before you commit.

Sauna/Steam room – always a plus when you want to relax your muscles after a hard day at work and a tough workout.

Childcare – when you have a kid, you need a place to drop them off if the babysitter falls through so make sure to check the childcare schedule and see if the facility is adequately equipped with a safe and entertaining space for your child whether they are 2 or 10.

Stretching room area – Is the area safe or do you risk being clocked the forward by the dude with the barbell?, do you have enough space? Is it clean? Do you have access to mats you can place on the floor?

Variety of classes – What if I’m not into aerobics??? Are there boxing, kickboxing, spinning, yoga, and other classes available that I haven’t tried before?

Towel Service – Its nice to have a towel to dry your sweat from your forehead after a cardio session but its also good to wipe off any nasty sweat somebody else left on the bench you are about to use. I suggest carrying two in this case. Your own and the one to clean up. I suggest making yours a different color so you don’t’ get confused or you can also use the paper towels and the squirt bottle with cleaning solution available at some gyms.

Is it close to Public Transportation, home or work? - Having your gym close to your work or home is essential. It will increase the likely-hood that you will actually go and keep going.

Do you have friends who workout there? Having a workout buddy or meeting up with a friend to check out a spinning class might be what you need to get you motivated.

Ok, so this is not everything but I hope that these are helpful tips to get you started. If you need any additional help or recommendations please let me know. I’m also available to set you up with a personal training evaluation and training plan to get you where you want to be in your fitness goals.

Contact: Gael, Certified Fitness Trainer at 917-459-8779

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