05/02/14 by Rennie Detore
You've more than likely asked yourself plenty of questions before you ultimately decided to join a health club or gym, but perhaps the most important of those is "where."
Often when it comes to exercise and implementing a workout routine, you already know why you should head down that road. Whether you're interested in adding muscle or desperately need to lose weight, you have your reason in mind when you begin to determine exactly where you'd like to join. Some would be exercisers assume that all gyms or health clubs are created equal, and that treadmills, elliptical machines, weights and classes won't vary much from place to place, and that price is a motivator.
That mentality isn't too far off, especially if you're someone who believes wholeheartedly that you'll probably use a few cardiovascular machines and engage in some modest weight training. Often what goes overlooked as you begin finding a place to begin exercising are the smallest of details, things you wouldn't expect to define your decision.
Even though your gym might pass the proverbial naked eye test, you'd be wise to take a closer look at the finer points of your place of fitness. Otherwise, you may come to the realization that you've joined the wrong place.
1. Cleanliness: As part of your initial tour of prospective gyms, you should treat these establishments and their cleanliness the same way you would a restaurant you're deciding to eat at or not. The best place to comb over to see if this club or gym takes cleaning seriously is the bathroom. Check for mold or soap scum in the showers or take a quick glance at how clean the toilets are.
2. Staffing: This one is two fold. When you're visiting a gym, you should talk to a few of the staff members and see if they're the type of employees that are interested in truly helping you achieve your goals. Truthfully, some staff within the walls of health clubs and gyms like the idea of getting a free membership to the facility, and take the job for that reason alone. Any management team that permits and perpetuates that mentality by allowing that personality to continue to work there definitely isn't a place you want to visit. The other staffing aspect to keep in mind is volume. If you're new to exercise, and don't always feel comfortable with how to use various equipment, it's always nice to know that you have some support.
3. Current members: You may not pay much attention to the other people working out when you're taking a tour, but keep an eye on what you see. Do the members that already belong there make eye contact with you? Are the other members all on their cell phones, which is an remarkably annoying action to deal with while you're at the gym? Do they look as though they're unfriendly? The last thing you want to do is join a gym, feel completely inadequate and thus stop going just as you're getting started.
4. Terms: The days of long term contracts upon joining are pretty much done, particularly when joining a gym. If you start visiting clubs, always ask if there is a contract involved, and if the answer is "yes," you can pretty much cross them off your list. Some health clubs and gyms offer incentive to sign a year contract, but month to month is easily your better bet. If the gym you're visiting is pushing terms on you, there's plenty of other options around town that isn't solely interested in only locking you into a contract.
5. Trainers: Most of the general public that joins the gym does so with the intent of hiring someone to help them along the way. That help comes traditionally in the form of personal trainers, and finding one that matches your personality is paramount. You know you've picked the wrong gym and trainer specifically if you hear lots of loud barking and yelling from trainer to client, and very little encouragement. That means the trainer is more about hearing the sound of their own voice, rather than actually helping you achieve the goal of losing weight or whatever you're trying to do while you're there. Some clubs have a tendency to hire a fleet of trainers that all have that same mentality of punish the people they're training and rarely stop to reflect on why they are there in the first place: to help.
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