Sticking to your plan to regularly hit the gym can be tough. It's even tougher if you hate the gym where you work out. Consciously choosing to endure the sweat and labor involved with getting into shape already takes enough willpower. Don't make it even harder by having to steel yourself to make your daily trip to a place that blasts crappy music, smells like socks, or has jerks for fellow members. Working out is a lot easier if you look forward to visiting your gym. Follow these tips for picking the right place to get your fitness on:
- Visit first – Take the time to visit a gym a few times before becoming a member. See if the trainer will give you a complimentary session so you can get a feel for everything the gym has to offer. If you have a friend who's a member, see if they can take you there as a guest a few times so you can get a feel for the facility.
- The right spot – Pick a gym that's convenient to your home or work. Getting to the gym on a regular basis is a lot easier if it's not in an out-of-the way spot. Make sure that parking is convenient. Also, if you plan to work out in the evening hours, be sure that the gym is in a safe neighborhood.
- Explore options – What fitness options does the gym offer? Does it have yoga or MMA-style classes? How often can you work with a trainer? What type of exercise equipment does it have? Are childcare options available? Find a gym with options that appeal to you and your fitness goals.
- Check reviews – Take a look at the online reviews for the gym you're considering. A few bad reviews are to be expected anywhere, but if a location has consistently bad reviews, it may be a red flag.
- Check the amenities – See if the gym you're considering has convenient access to sports drinks and water, as well as healthy snacks like energy bars. Being able to refuel your body after a strenuous workout really helps.
- Check prices – Make sure you understand the pricing structure of your gym. Many gyms have low monthly fees, but then stick it to their members with a variety of annual or quarterly fees. To avoid any unpleasant surprises, be sure to get a clear picture of how gym membership will impact your finances.
- Understand the plan – Many a gym member has been burned by unreasonable gym membership contracts. You're joining a gym, not selling your soul. Avoid gyms that lock you into long-term commitments, and be sure to understand how you can break your contract in case of a medical emergency or in the event you have to move to another city.