New Year, New You:
Tips For Finding The Right Gym For You
Every year we make resolutions for the new year to become better versions of ourselves, and every year the same resolutions come up. At the top of the list for many people is losing weight. Conventional wisdom suggests exercising more is how to get rid of those extra pounds. In the winter, it's tough to get in a workout outdoors so a gym might be your only option for exercise. But a lot of thought has to go into finding a good gym. Here are 4 tips for finding the right gym for you.
Know What You Want
Different gyms have different areas of concentration so one gym might not have exactly what you need. Before you commit to transforming into a new you at one gym, you should know what you want to get out of your exercise routine to get ready for summer and playing with beach toys. Think about whether you want to lift weights, use free-weights, focus on cardio, or work on balance and flexibility. Think about whether you need the structure of classes or if you're disciplined enough to work out on your own. There's likely a gym that suits your needs, but you have to look for it. Knowing what you want helps to narrow down your list.
Know What You Need
All gyms have a certain amount of amenities to help make the lives of members a little bit easier. Some gyms have a daycare option (with or without an extra fee), some offer free parking, some provide certain equipment (like yoga mats) for classes, some provide laundered towels. Some gyms are bare bones and only offer a place to stop in for a quick run on the treadmill. Think about your schedule and your family's schedule and consider what would make going to the gym easy -- there's likely a good gym that can take care of you.
Know Where You Want To Be
A lot of gyms are chains with several facilities in different locations. With those, you're usually given the option of selecting a home gym and having access (limited or unlimited, based on pricing) to their other facilities, so you have to take geography into account. Ideally, choose a chain that has a gym close to work and home. If that's not an option, think about best time for you to work out -- before work, at lunch, after work, weekends -- and let that determine if you should choose a gym close to work or close to home.
Know What You're Getting Into
Gyms are a business. They want members to pay fees every month so they can keep their doors open. It's easier to workout outside in the summer, so people don't want to pay for a gym if they can run outside for free. This is why so many gyms have membership contracts -- you pay a fee to sign up in addition to your monthly bill. Make sure to read the fine print so you know exactly how much you are spending each month and for how long. If you don't want a full year contract, you may be able to find a gym that offers a month-to-month membership, but the fee might be slightly higher than it would be with a long term contract. Also, gyms sometimes have special offers and waive the initial fee or you may be able to find a website with special coupons and deals to offset the fees. This is when you have to pull out the calculator and see if it's worth it to pay for a gym for three months or if you'd like the luxury of having access all year.