Exercise! - Picking a gym....help!

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03-30-2011, 10:54 PM
I've been "trying" to lose weight on and off for years, but I think I'm at the point where I'm actually serious about doing what I need to do in order to really lose significant weight and keep it off. I know that part of getting serious about weight loss is exercise, and for that I'm thinking about getting a gym membership.
The problem is, though, I don't really know what to look for when picking a gym. I need something that isn't insanely expensive with flexible hours, but other than that I just don't know where to start. What are some key points I should look for? Does anyone have any recommendations on franchise/chain gyms that are good?

03-30-2011, 11:40 PM
I would drop by during peak hours that you will be going. Plan on going after work? Drop by then and see if all the equipment is totally full. If they are already at capacity, you will have to wait on equipment. Also, look for the amenties. Do you need or want to change or shower at the gym? Do they have good room for that? One gym I went to only had one ladies bathroom...so you had to wait to change and couldn't shower after a workout. Do they sell water bottles or protein bars (if thats important for you). Are there lockers (if you will be bringing stuff to keep while you work out).

Is there loud music blaring or is it too quiet? Do you feel comfortable there? Most gyms will offer you a free or cheap try it out day....if they don't offer, ask. Get a feel for working out there. Also, does equipment look or feel dirty? Do they set cleaner out for you to use? You don't want nasty equipment, you can get infections from it.

03-31-2011, 12:29 AM
Razorback posted exactly what I was going to say :D. Most gyms have a free trial you can take advantage of, or will say yes if you ask them for a free trial session. Try out a few different ones before picking out which one you felt most comfortable in. Definitely going during the times you're most likely to frequent the gym to see if equipment is available and if it's an environment you're comfortable exercising in (i.e. is it all body building men that are intimidating? Or maybe it's all body building men that give you motivation to be around!). Check for cleanliness too, are there paper towels and spray bottles?

Look up the types of routines you think you might want to do and then make sure that equipment is in the gym. Personally I don't like machines for weight building, I prefer to have mats, kettleballs, resistance bands, free weights, and exercise balls to use. If I were looking at gyms and one didn't have those, only machines, I would be less interested in it. Perhaps you're the opposite.

Another *big* thing for me is TVs on the cardio machines. Sad as it is, having an indiviudal tv on the cardio machines is what will help motivate me and keep me on the treadmill longer. Some people hate paying for gyms who have tvs outfitted on the machines because they won't use them, so it's to each his/her own.

Lastly, a major thing are classes. Some people couldn't care less about classes, but when I join a gym it's important to me to have yoga, pilates, aerobics, and strength classes to break up the regular routine. Does the gym charge extra for participating in classes? How many are there, and are the ones available during the times you are available of interest? Or are all the "good" classes during times you can't make it to the gym?

03-31-2011, 01:59 AM
Great advice, thanks so much y'all! I'm gonna start checking around my area and see what free trials are available.

03-31-2011, 09:27 AM
I really like 24 hour Fitness - cheap, no contract, lots of classes and machines. But, if you plan on going during peak hours, forget about it - waaaay to crowded. I echo everything others have said as well. Good luck and way to go on making the decision to take care of your health!!