Weight and Resistance Training - Choosing a gym - advice please

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01-03-2006, 12:52 PM
When I started exercising early last year I picked my gym on convenience. The bus rolls past it, to give me pangs of guilt if I don't go, it's a fifteen minute walk from home. I didn't consider any other factor.

Well nearly 12 months on and my membership is due to run out. I am starting to outgrow it. It has a very small free weights area with only dumbells, it has a good range of weight machines, which I am starting to use less and less as you lot teach me new ways of working.

It also has no classes, and I am beginning to want to do the odd class to add a bit of variety to my routine. And swimming - the pool has such restrictive opening hours that I can't swim more than three times a week, and that's with supreme organisational skills on my behalf!

Can one (some or all) of you give me a checklist or some idea of what I should be looking for in a new gym and what questions I should be asking?

01-03-2006, 01:02 PM
Sounds like you just gave yourself a good checklist!
I'd still look for convenience and cleanliness. See if you can get a free pass for a couple of visits and go at the times when you would normally use then gym.


01-03-2006, 01:11 PM
I agree with Mel. Sounds like you know what to look for. Look for a gym that is easy for you to get to several times a week (both times and location). Make sure they have the activities/machines/weights/etc. that you like to do, like a pool, classes, and a larger weightlifting selection. If you know someone in your area that works out in a gym, you might ask them what they think of the gym they go to.

Good luck to you!

01-03-2006, 02:45 PM
I joined a JJB Sports gymn in November. (Previously I'd been at a local authority gymn, and then a university one.) The best thing for me is a trainer I see every few weeks who is interested in free weights, doesn't see anything strange in a woman doing it, and who knows about physiology. It's got a pool and has classes. It's clean. I think I was lucky, though, in the trainer who happened to show me round when I was just looking. JJB was running a 12 days of Christmas promotion - 12 sessions for £12. Might have finished now, though.

[edit] I mention JJB as I think it started in Wigan and has spread across the NW and North Wales. The chain has about 20 gymns.

[edit] More titbits of information. A friend teaches pilates at the Holmes Place in Manchester Printworks. I gather it's the place to go if you want to be in the same classes as celebs.... Probably costs an arm and a leg, though. (It's got a stainlesss steel pool ....)

Good luck! I've had a lot more success since I moved gymns.

01-03-2006, 03:18 PM
Until last month, I had only one choice of gyms unless I wanted to drive more than 30 minutes. Fortunately, this gym compares favorably with what I had available when I lived in a bigger city. :) It has several free weight areas, lots of weight machines, 2 cable towers, a cage affair, a large aerobics classroom and 1/2 dozen each of treadmills, stationary bikes and ellipticals. What it doesn't have is a pool :(, and the ladies' locker room has been undersized since they opened. Men got a new one last year (though it took nearly 18 months!) and allegedly the women's is "under construction"

Just before Christmas the statewide chain of clubs opened a new "Express" location quite near the gym. It has only cardio machines, though, and no showers. The only reason I can see for joining (which I won't) is to get access to their "full" gyms when in another city (mostly Anchorage, which has about 10 locations, but is over an hour away).

The only pool I have access to is at the high school, and it has - necessarily - a limited public schedule and the changing room/showers are just plain nasty :barf:

01-03-2006, 04:23 PM
For what it's worth, I, too, used to make "convenience of location" my No. 1 priority, and that's why I joined the university gym, which couldn't be handier: it's across the street from my office. BUT I hardly ever went because it was not user-friendly for me, and it didn't offer the services I wanted -- pool, classes, both weight machines and free weights, and access to well-trained PTs.

I LOVE my new gym (the Y), which has everything I want, and keeps great hours (it opens at 5 a.m.). As a morning person, I find that early start of critical importance. I don't much like the locker room, but I've gotten accustomed to it, and there are just too many pros to balance that con. The proof is in the pudding; I joined in August, and I go several times a week. Good luck in your search.

01-03-2006, 05:19 PM
Excellent, thanks for all the suggestions. I love my current gym in that the staff all know me, they know where I'm coming from and where I am going to....but the best instructor now only works mornings, and they don't open early enough for me to attend before work. So that's on my checklist, being a morning person!

I cen get a discount at Holmes Place - which makes it quite expensive as opposed to frightfully expensive, Silverbirch, but I don't know if I want to hang with the celebs, they may not be able to compete with me :) wouldn't want to intimidate them now!!!!!

JJB is on my list, there is one nearly completed in Bury, which I plan to try out. I went and checked at my gym and I have three more months left on my membership, so that's three months to troll around the gyms and compare them all!!!!

When I first joined the gym I was so timid, I didn't care what they were offering. And I have really used my membership I have gone 5 - 6 times a week, sometimes more, if I swim in the morning and go back for gym in the evening, but I have really outgrown it.

Thanks to everyone for your helpful advice!