Exercise! - Trying to decide on which gym to join

05-04-2012, 12:11 PM
So I'm looking to join a gym for the summer and I'll probably look into joining after finals. Now that i've lost most of my weight, I'm wanting to work on getting toned. I've never set a food inside a gym so this is going to be quite the experience. I have a few options to choose from, a 24hr Fitness gym, Super LA Fitness and Total Women. All gyms are pretty close to my house. I haven't done much research, yet just kind of looking at reviews online and trying to find out prices.

So basically I was wondering how you guys decide on which gym to join? Do you base your decision on closness, gym hours, prices, best looking facilities...? This is a whole new area for me, and looking for some pointers on what you guys did to decide on your gym and what was your experience if you hadn't gone to a gym before them.

05-04-2012, 12:20 PM
Well, I think everybody's needs are going to vary. For me, the most important things are:

1. Quality childcare with hours that work for me.
2. Membership price
3. Sufficient free weights area
4. Convenient location

Those are all really important factors to me, and I'd have to find something that satisfied all my needs. Yours might be different, but I'd suggest making a list of the things that you absolutely must have (price under $X, lap swim available during _____, etc.) and then add some nice-to-haves.

05-04-2012, 12:25 PM
SoCalCowgirl, congrats on your accomplishments !

The best thing to do is to check them out yourself. Most gyms offer one-time free passes (for a week or whatever) so you can actually use the gym without joining. That's really the best way to make your decision. Because the closest or most expensive, or cheapest gym isn't always the best for You. Vibe has a lot to do with it....

good luck & enjoy

05-04-2012, 12:26 PM
Closeness and cheapness are my top priorities. I joined a gym that is a ten minute walk or two minute drive from my apartment, and sometimes getting there feels like a huge chore. I run on a bike path that is halfway between work and home.

My gym is super minimalist, smells bad, no A/C, and is 90% huge dudes who are training for MMA or boxing. There are always cardio machines free because they're all doing bicep curls with 100 lb weights. It's also $15 a month with NO CONTRACT, which is great, and I feel a lot more pressure to perform because most of the clientele are already in great shape as opposed to trying to lose weight. I also go with my 6'2 220 lb boyfriend, which is a buffer against being stared at/hit on (a very real possibility at gyms like this) - I don't know that I would enjoy going regularly to this specific gym on my own without a buddy or escort.

It's really up to the individual to determine what your priorities are. I don't look to spend 4 hours in the gym every day - I'd rather be outside if possible. I go there 2-3 times a week and that's just enough. In my mind, a gym is a place to grunt and sweat, and no-frills works just as well if not better than "cardio cinema" and "free pizza night!"

05-04-2012, 12:42 PM
Closeness is #1 for me. Absolutely. When I had to drive 20 minutes to my gym, going there got old REAL fast. Now it's about 5-7 minutes away, and it's not a chore to get there.

After that, I guess price comes - I am not going to pay the $59/mo that the YMCA charged (though they had everything - a pool, jacuzzi, classes, walking track, bball and tennis courts, etc). The Planet Fitness charged $10/mo for a very basic offering (no classes, few free weight areas, focus on cardio machines). I am now signed up in a One Life Fitness, which charges $30 and I am comfortable with that. They offer tons of classes, there are many different workout areas, a variety of clientele, and great hours (almost 24h but not quite). Plus there is a dry sauna... which I love!

So I guess first is proximity, then I balance amenities with price (amenities that I will USE). Gender mix doesn't bother me and I probably actually wouldn't bother considering a women-only gym.

05-04-2012, 02:57 PM
Last time I joined a gym we joined because they had an indoor track and a warm therapy pool. I can't stand cold water and I thought a therapy pool might help a little with my fibromyalgia. However their free weights were lacking. They didn't even have a squat rack. It's a very large gym attached to a hospital and I guess they just didn't have enough people who were interested. Their number of weight machines was obscene.

I've contemplated joining another gym which would just be the one closest one to me. It's probably also much cheaper than the last.

05-04-2012, 05:21 PM
It was simple for me: I work at the Y, so I joined there ($15 for a year's membership, yay!) Plus, all the other gyms in town are totally overpriced simply because they offer nutrition programs as well (which I don't need.)

05-04-2012, 05:44 PM
I've been to many gyms and I love the one I'm with now. It just has a nice vibe. Mix of clientele. Old fat ladies in aqua (who are awesome) down to buff dudes in the free weights (I haven't been over there yet, but I'm gonna start soon) And a wonderful kiddie pool - which is important to me because of my son. I also run into people I know there, so it has family/ neighbourhood feel. I feel just as good going there for a splash-about with my boy as I do running on the treadmill and using weight machines.

05-04-2012, 10:38 PM
Thanks all for the great advice. I'm so excited but nervous about joining and ill keep all this in mind. And ill let you all know how things go when the time comes. I really want to join this weekend but I must wait until after finals :)

05-05-2012, 06:21 PM
Look into each gym and spend time there. Tell the gyms you're deciding between the three and hopefully they'll give you some free passes.

Some gyms are all glitter and unicorns but lack good trainers and effective equipment. These tend to appeal to those who go to the gym for appearances rather than getting a good, efficient work out.

Some gyms are bare bones as far as flashiness but they have all the pieces of equipment you'll ever need. These tend to attract serious individuals and qualified professionals.

Some gyms are simply the most expensive and go over the top in ammenities that you may never need or use. These gyms tend to attract clients all over the board as far as seriousness. What I do notice, though, is the one in particular by my old neighborhood was filled with snooty jerky people.

All of the above is simply stereotyped so you have to go look for yourself.

Pay attention to the other members. You may find some of them smelly or don't clean up after their sweaty mess. OR You may find a future spouse. You never know.

Staff is important, too. Pay attention to them. Are they sitting around doing nothing? Are they assisting members? Are they cleaning? Are they certified? Are they approachable and friendly?

All of that will make or break your love of going to the gym.

The gym where I work at has a total mix, except no snootie people. It is where I train hard. Where the athletes go. Where I met my significant other. Where I've made great friends. I used to go to the most expensive place in town and it sucked compared to this.

Good luck!