So you’ve decided enough is enough. Couch to 5k just isn’t fun for you; Joe Wicks has lost his appeal (that was so COVID 2020 🤣); you’ve no motivation to use that shiny new multi-gym in your garage and running around after the kids isn’t quite making the difference you hoped it would.
Time to find a gym to join! 💪 But how do you choose? There are so many options available – how do you know which one is for you? Well, here’s our Insider’s Guide to choosing the best gym for you.
Side note: it’s useful to have a list of what you are looking for and what you want to get out of the gym. So go ahead and make a list of the five things you want to get out of this new venture, in order of importance.
- Ask your friends for recommendations.
The chances are, if you have friends who go to a gym and really love it, you will like it too – that’s why you’re friends, right? You have similar tastes! They might even be able to intro you to their gym via some sort of event 👌
- Take a look at the gym’s social media accounts.
If their clients are getting success, they should be shouting this from the rooftops! 📢 Do the people in the pictures look like your tribe? Could you see yourself as a part of the picture?
- Read the online reviews.
What is the general trend? If the reviews say “Great selection of burgers in the restaurant downstairs!” or “Very hygienic”, please ignore them. A gym with a great burger-bar is not interested in your weight loss goals and every gym should be clean! If the reviews say “Great community!” or “They really make you feel welcome from day one”, they are probably worth a look.
- Figure out what type of gym it is.
Is it a big chain gym? (They’re probably the ones with the amazing selection of burgers in the restaurant downstairs!) These places are likely to have all the fancy equipment and inhabit a big shiny building with air-conditioning and more mirrors than a mirror-maze! But… if they are part of a PLC their main objective is to please their shareholders, not their members.
Is it a 24-hour gym? Great! You can exercise at 2:30am if you really want. But that is the middle of the night 🤔 You will probably want to use the gym at the same time everybody else does, and it’ll probably be rammed!
Is it a micro-gym? (Think owner/operator – the one-man-band type deal) These are the people who want you to succeed. These are the people who are always happy at work. Think of this as the difference between visiting the local supermarket or the local farmer’s market. The person behind the table in Winchester High Street is most likely the one who can tell you the name of the chicken your eggs came from 🐔 They genuinely care.
- Check out the location.
Tick off the no-brainers like access, parking and shower facilities and work out how long it’s going to take you to get there at the time of day you will workout.
Your gym ideally needs to be within a 20-minute drive of either your home or your work. Anything more can become a barrier and make it harder for you to stick to your routine. Hopefully there will be plentiful parking too, so that the whole process of getting there is as easy and stress-free as possible!
- Pay them a visit.
Book your visit for the time of day you will go to the gym so that you can get a proper feel for the place at that time.
Who meets you? A sales rep or the owner? What’s the general vibe of the place like? Are they friendly and welcoming?
- Do they ask you about your goals?
They should do! This visit should be all about you – what you want to achieve, what your biggest struggles are and how they might help you, rather than some well-rehearsed spiel about them and the gym’s facilities.
How will your progress be measured? Do they have a structure for measuring your progress, either your level of fitness or body composition (lean muscle and body fat)? This could take a few different formats – maybe a chart to tick off your 1-mile run time and how many push-ups you can do. Or maybe a set of scales that measures muscle and body fat ⚖
This would be an excellent starting point and indicate that they are serious about your progress and want to get you results, not just a workout.
What do the staff refer to themselves as? Coaches = they are going to help guide you to become the person you want to be. Instructors = they are there to help you participate; it’ll be on you to do things correctly!
- The nitty gritty.
Stay clear of 12-month contracts – even more so if they offer this at a discount. This creates a level of accountability, but only to a few. To most, this just means they have your financial commitment regardless of whether you attend or not. A 30-day cancellation policy is perfectly appropriate for any gym.
A free trial will attract you to use their facilities, enjoy a class and see if the showers are any good. But can you really get a proper feel for a place if you just visit it once?
A reduced joining fee, or reduced first three months, is just bait – they’re not sure how else to convince you to try them. Also, if you can have three months with a discount, why can’t you have the rest of your annual contract at the same rate?
- Check out their members.
On your way in and out of the gym, are there any other members around and are they friendly? Do they chat to you and make you feel welcome? Do they seem like the sort of people you would like to hang out with, not just workout with? A gym doesn’t have to be just a gym, it can be a place where beautiful relationships are built 💑
- The follow-up.
If you don’t sign up on the spot, what happens next? Does the person you saw when you visited follow up with you or did they forget about you as soon as you left and move on to the next person?
Do they check in to see if you’re making progress towards your goals and send you useful tips and advice for free? A genuine health and fitness coach will care if you’re making progress on your fitness journey, regardless of whether you actually joined their gym.
We hope these tips have helped you to select the right gym for you. And if you’d like to put these tips to the test and pay us a visit you can book a Free No-Sweat Intro by clicking on the button below.