Yup, I’m sure you’ve been there, done that with gyms! I’ve heard the horror stories but I listened to the stories praising gyms. There is no one size fits all on how to find the perfect gym for your needs. Finding the perfect gym is a lot like finding love. You may have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince but once you find your prince it is hook-line-sinker…sign me up! Before you know it, you are up at the gym working on your fitness, making maybe friends, and you find yourself (gulp) liking your early morning workouts, smiling in between sets, or even skipping outside post-workout.
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I’m trying out a new gym. I still belong to my old gym and I’m currently accruing personal training sessions monthly (grrr!). My new gym is a HIIT 45 minute circuit gym with a friendly environment, a caring trainer, and worth the 20 minute drive. So far, so good.
First of all get rid of the word: perfect. There’s no such thing. However, there is such thing as near-perfect fit or fabulous enough for your needs. With so many options across the country, I’ve narrowed it down to five ways to find the perfect gym for you:
How To Find The Perfect Gym
Make A Wish List – This is just like shopping so grab a pen and a piece of paper and make of list of must-haves and deal-breakers. If you are spending your time, hard-earned ducats, and energy at the gym, make it count. Consider BIG things like hours of operation, class selections and schedule, childcare but also consider things like distance from your home and extras like personal training and spa/sauna.
Narrow Down By Type of Gym – There are so many types of gyms. Find out what you prefer. A big franchise gym may appeal to some but you might want to look at your local health club, sports club, YWCA, or locally-owned gym. Specialty gyms like for CrossFit may up your alley but a yoga and pilates studio may offer what you need and you can supplement at home.
Shop Around and Try It Out – You probably received tons of mailers and e-mails about trial memberships and day passes. Take advantage! Even if the gym you want to try isn’t actively promoting a deal, call and see if they will accommodate a tour (they will!) and if you can try a day or week. While you are on your trial, try EVERY LITTLE THANG your heart desires. Make sure to talk to the staff and members. Are they content or miserable? Check out the gym’s cleanliness…is it dusty, musty, and/or crusty? Does the equipment look old and poorly maintained? These are red flags to RUN.
- Ballin’ On A Budget – Gyms can be very costly. Consider your budget, your wish-list, and overall experience to decide whether you want no-frills or luxe. Look for deals on LivingSocial, Groupon, or on gyms’ Facebook pages. ClassPass is another alternative to signing on with a gym. With ClassPass you get a variety of gyms but it is still pricey as far as gyms go.
The Gym You Choose Isn’t The End All – Before you sign a contract, be cautious and research the heck out on the gym. Google the gym for customer feedback and experiences and check Yelp for reviews. Also, choosing a gym isn’t the end all. If you don’t love the gym, there is always another one that can be the perfect one for you now or at a different stage of your fitness journey.