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Old 01-19-2010, 09:08 PM   #1  
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Default I need advice on joining a gym

So I've never joined a gym before. I literally know nothing about the process but its high time I stopped making excuses and took a leap of faith. So my question is where do you recommend? There are so many gyms around me I don't know how I would choose "one" some of the larger names near me are fitworks and curves...What can I expect once I join and what are some of the key differences between certain gyms?
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:55 PM   #2  
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Is there a Planet Fitness in your area? I've joined three or four gyms in the past. One of them was a place called Corey's Fitness for Women. It was nice being surrounded by other females, but it was approximately $40 a month WITH a contract. Of course, it offered classes. Planet Fitness has this deal where you pay around $50 for a one-time start up fee and $10 every month WITHOUT a contract. There aren't any classes, but it has all the equipment any other gym would have. The one that I attend also has a section with a 30 minute interval training circuit and is also open 24 hours except Saturday night. They also offer tanning and opportunities to have a personal trainer. Good luck on your healthy lifestyle. :-)
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:55 PM   #3  
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I've never really had a choice, as I always use my school gym.

However, I think location and cost are important. Also, the classes offered (yoga, zumba, etc) and when those classes are offered is important. I also think its important to know the vibe of the gym: a lot of older people, heavily-muscled men, etc. If I were you, I'd scope out the gyms that were in my price range and close by, get a short term membership (most gyms will give you like a two week trial membership) and work out at each of them. That way, you figure out where you feel like you're going to fit
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:03 PM   #4  
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I came across the following article today. Might be helpful.
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:14 PM   #5  
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I like the YMCA. They have good prices and you can cancel ANYTIME! Make sure you ask lots of questions about the contract and the cancelation policy. I've talked to people who've canceled memberships at the gym location, were under the impression that that was all they needed to do, and then the gym continued to charge them because they didn't write a letter to corporate (this was at LA Fitness). I also had a cancelation issue with Bally's. When I signed up for a 3 month membership, I asked the sales guy about 4 times if I needed to cancel or if it would cancel itself automatically. He told me EVERY SINGLE TIME that the membership would run out automatically and I would not need to do anything to cancel it. Of course at the end of the 3 months they started charging me a monthly fee. I wrote corporate and their response was that their employees would never say something like that. They refused to refund me the money for the extra month (and I was a really broke college student at the time).

So I recommend that when the time comes that you want/need to cancel, cover your a**. Send a letter in certified mail, send an email, and notify the gym location. And of course shop around, compare what you local gyms cost and what's included in that (fitness classes, steam room, sauna, pool, etc)
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:16 PM   #6  
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Picking a gym is as personal as picking a spouse! XD Everyone will have different wants and needs in a gym. For instance, I did a 3 month turn around a FitZone for Women and they offered ultra-discount tanning and a certain amount of free tanning. Umm, thanks if I feel like percolating in cancer I'll give you a ring. I ultimately didn't like the FitZone because there were too many old women slowing up the machines with their 30 reps of light weights (but my friend at a different location loves her gym). Also it was close to work but too far from home for it to be convenient on non-work days or anything time not IMMEDIATELY after work.

Ask yourself what you're interested and ask each gym for a tour. Do you want a certain class (zumba, spin, advanced yoga, body combat, martial arts, water aerobics)? Do you want a gym open real late, early, 24/7? Are you interested in well-stocked free weights, cable machines, recumbent bikes, etc? Would you like a co-ed or women's gym? Are you interested in personal training? What certifications do the trainer's have? Does the gym offer a free "intro" to the gym training session? (I find this sooo useful, to learn how to use all the equipment even though I'm only really interested free weights and some cardio equipments).

Always give a gym a tour, talk to the staff, and ask about free trials. Oh, and visit during times you are likely to go during your membership. If you take your tour at off-hours and then want to work out when it is super busy you maybe disappointed.
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:29 PM   #7  
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Thanks for the tips all of those are extremly helpful...I will have to make saturday my day to visit each of them, find out the perks and see what feels comfortable. I'll be sure to ask each if they offer a trial period and also about their cancellation policies
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Old 01-20-2010, 06:29 AM   #8  
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I try a couple that offer a free trial, usuall a few days, and then decide what you like and don't like. Honestly though I think most gyms are about the same. Just look out for how well the equipment is actually maintained, ie or machines broken.
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:52 AM   #9  
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Another note about the YMCA, they are willing to take payment on a sliding scale. Here the income limit is pretty high and I don't know many 20 somethings that make much over their set income limit. I pay about half of what an actual membership costs and I think my particular Y is much nicer than the local Bally's.

Good Luck in your search!
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Old 01-20-2010, 10:57 AM   #10  
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Try out different gyms. Look around. Any gym should offer you a day pass so you can give it a whirl. YMCA's are nice in some areas, not so nice in others. You just have to do the leg work to find out.

We have tried all kinds, from the upscale "clubs" to the Y to the local rec center. My criteria is that the cardio equipment is nice and there's plenty machines. I also like a friendly, community atmosphere.

Also, ANYTHING at a gym is negotiable. Anything. There are limits of course, but I think it's ridiculous that people pay initiation fees. Don't be afraid to ask for discounts.
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Old 01-20-2010, 04:58 PM   #11  
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I went "gym shopping" at the beginning of this month. I started by googling the gyms in the area and looking up the reviews. Some of the larger gyms (Womens Fitness and Golds Gym to name a couple), had horrid reviews on cleanliness and fees. Definitely make sure you read reviews for your local gym.

Also think about what is important to you. Do you want to do circuit training? Do you want to get in the water? Will you feel comfortable next to a man? Do you want to do the classes? How much time do you have to spare? Location and hours of operation?

For me, I ended up settling on Curves and made the perfect choice for me. I'm horribly out of shape and their machines don't require weight adjustments... whatever you put into them is what you get back. So if you work hard for 30 minutes (another major perk for me because I don't have hours to spend at the gym), then you're going to do terrif. If you're having an off day but you want to do SOMETHING, then you can take it easy too. All of their machines work 2 muscles so you're getting 2 workouts in one machine. It's only women, which was a biggy for me. The staff is terrific. They create goals set specifically to your needs and are really concerned about making sure you get in shape and lose weight in a healthy and safe manner. And the best part is that I can go to any Curves, both national and international. We frequently go out of town for days on end to my daughter's Children's hospital and I don't have to worry about slacking off while I'm there because there's a Curves right down the streeth.

It's all about what you need and what is important to you. Good luck choosing!
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Old 01-21-2010, 07:39 PM   #12  
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I've been a member of 4 gyms since 2004. The first was a local, women-only gym that closed two years after my membership ended (was bought by a competitor....what a loss; such a great gym. It was pretty awesome: steam room, swedish sauna, weights and strength training, cardio room, classes (including spinning)....there was even child care for people who had kids, and an area where the staff could whip up health smoothies. This is where I fell in love with the Precor Elliptical (One of the first ellipticals ever on the market, so it's pretty old school. Love that thing.).It was around 40 dollars a month. At the time I thought that was expensive. I ended up not renewing it when it expired. Didn't know what I had.

The second gym was the YMCA, my first coed experience. Freaked me out at first. It was nice, but more expensive than my first gym, around 45-50 dollars a month. This is where I really got into Spinning, to the point where all I really went there for was to Spin. But then I got bored and stopped going.

The third gym was Anytime Fitness, also coed. It was open 24 hours per day and directly in the path between my work and my apartment. No classes, and 60 dollars monthly. Cardio, and all the weight machines and free weights and barbells you ever wanted. I went often, but not as often as I should have. And it was kind of boring....staff were hardly ever around, and it was often filled with grunting, weight lifting men. Anytime Fitness prided itself on having the newest equipment. And it did. It was just boring in there,

My fourth (and current) gym is Planet Fitness, by far the least expensive gym I've ever had the pleasure of being a member. Staff around regularly, although I still haven't been able to get an intro class from them. I was told you have to call a day or so in advance to schedule attendance of one which is kind of ridiculous. But! It was only like 30 dollars to join and I pay a little over 10 dollars monthly. That is crazy, INSANE for a gym. The price alone was motivation enough to join. They also have tanning, but I don't need a tan. Tanning costs more per month. They have the most cardio equipment of any gym I've ever attended. They have policies against all that grunting and clanging of weights around. They have a circuit training room (kind of like Curves.....I haven't taken advantage of this yet, but I'm itching to). They have weights (machines, free, barbells). No classes or pool, and it's pretty out of the way for me, the largest negatives. It's coed, which I've grown to be ok with. The contract must be bought out if I break it, but we're talking like less than 70 dollars at this point, so no biggie). I'm happy with my choice.

The most important criteria for me when choosing a gym are:

1. Cost/price (including any joining/initiation fees).
2. Location.
3. Essentials (cardio and weight/strength training).
4. Amenities (classes, pools, saunas, ball courts, spas, towel service, etc.).
5. Rules and regulations (dress codes, security, variety in patronage, etc.).
6. Staff (are they nice, basically).

Good luck on the gym search!
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