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10 Things You Need to Know About Joining a Gym

Before you commit yourself to an expensive gym contract, check out our top 10 tips for finding the right gym for you.

Joining a Gym 

If you’ve  decided to commit to a healthier lifestyle then joining a health club or gym may well be on your ‘To Do’ list, however finding the right place can be a bit of a chore.

These days so much effort goes into club image and the sales promotion it’s hard to know whether you are truly getting the best deal for you. Here are some guidelines to enable you to avoid making costly mistakes.

Gym Facilities
Some health clubs consist of a single aerobics studio while others can offer climate-controlled studios, fully equipped gyms, swimming pools, spa, tennis and squash courts. It may be that you don't need a fully equipped center if you only want to use the gymnasium. You should enquire if the club offers off-peak membership which can be upgraded later.

Finding a Good Gym Service
Does the health club give an excellent service? Gym staff should be polie, happy and cheerful and know what they’re talking about. They also need to be able to talk to members openly. You'll know a good health club by staff who give customers the inspiration to complete a routine.

The first time you visit a health club investigate it thoroughly by walking on your own and asking members if they would recommend it. One of the best places to over hear gossip is in the sauna or steam room. Keep an eye out for out-of-order signs, as a club with high levels of service , should not allow facilities to be out of actin for long.

Inspecting Gym Equipment
The health club should have various equipment and sufficient numnbers. If cardio fitness, or weight loss, is your goal take a careful look at treadmills, bikes and steppers to be sure there are enough of them to go with the high volume of members at peak hours. Queuing for equipment is a real no no. A good sign is a club imposing time limits of 15 minutes, for example, on cardiovascular equipment during busy periods. On the conditioning side, keeep a look for clean gym areas and ask if they are serviced regularly. Also, is there a hygienic matt area for stretching and abdominal work? Also, do they have the latest technology like fitness balls, medicine balls, yoga blocks and core, bosu and wobble boards for postural training.

The Cost of Joining a Gym or Health Club
There are always varying price scales, ranges of facilities and service. Shop around to suit your budget. Usually off-peak prices are available for when the club is quiet. Recent legislation has prevented health clubs tying you into long payment contracts, however it is still worth checking details such as whether they will freeze membership if you are sick for a long period, or have to work away from home.

Opening Hours
Health Club operating hours should fit with your daily routine. If you join a local gym or health club close to home, check you can go in the early morning or late evening. If it closes at 9 pm on weekday nights, see  if this gives you sufficient time to leave work, exercise (sauna!) and shower.

Gym Classes on Offer
If you like going to classes at the gym, check there is a wide range available for you. Check to see that distinctions are made between beginner, intermediate and advanced level. A comprehensive timetable will include the following curretnly popular options: Pilates, Yoga (possibly modern variations such as Fitness Yoga) Aerobics, Dance, Body Conditioning ( BodyMax, BodyPump) Aqua Exercise, Martial Arts Fitness (TKO, BodyCombat) and Spinning.

Do You Feel Comfortable in Your Gym
Do you feel comfortable and relaxed in the health club environment?  Many clubs have separate areas  women, if this is important to you check its available. Many people join clubs within easy reach of home so they are more likely to actually go! For example, when it’s cold and dark you’re more likely to chicken out of your session if it takes too much effort to travel there. Do you need parking space in the gym?Are children welcome at the times you will visit? Is there a crèche or children’s activity programme?

Gym Social Events
Many people like clubs with a social events calendar. Or perhaps you prefer less sociable atmospheres. Have a look at the promotional advertising within the gym to see what nights are planned on the social calendar.

Gym Changing Rooms
A common gripe is concern over locker storage in the changing rooms. Are the wet areas clean and dry to prevent the spread of germs? Are dryers, hand towels, and shampoo provided? Are the showers group or private? Are there adequate mirrors and dressing tables for your needs? Cleanliness is absolutely critical to wellbeing enjoyed at a health club or gym.

What are Gym Screen Tests
Most clubs now offer screening and this is a sensible requirement in many cases. Testing can include height and weight measurements, cardiovascular testing, lung function assessment along with flexibility and strength tests. Sometimes a personality profile to see what you like and what motivates you. A medical history should also be taken. It is wise not to hold back true info here as it is in your interests to be honest.

Comments (4)
4 Monday, 01 March 2010 15:04
Location is important but the most important factor iis the facilities. you have to want to get up and go to the gym, and if the equipment or facilities are poor then you just wont bother.
3 Monday, 01 March 2010 15:02
Location is important but most important are the facilities. you have to want to get up and go to the gym, and if the equipment or facilities are poor then you just wont bother.
2 Monday, 01 March 2010 14:59
Sam Winston
A good check list of tips but its very simple, you need to choose the gym that fits your budget but is nearest to you... Location, location, location!
1 Sunday, 28 February 2010 08:49
Thanks, this was a really interesting post. Found here some very usuful information.

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