How to Find and Choose a Gym in Your Area

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Whether your goal is to lose weight, gain muscle or stay healthy, joining a gym could be an important step in reaching it. It's also a big investment, so you want to make sure you choose the right gym for you. The right gym will be convenient, within your budget and have the fitness classes, equipment or sports facilities you need to get the most out of your workouts. Your first step is to find a gym near you.

Finding a Gym Near You

The most important thing to look for when joining a gym is convenience. Gyms that are too far out of your way, chances go down that you'll actually show up. If it's on the way home from work or just minutes from your house, you'll be much more motivated to get to that early morning spin class or weight workout. 

What to Look For When Joining a Gym

Aside from convenience, you'll want to make sure your gym has everything you need to reach your goals. Doing things you enjoy is the best way to ensure you'll actually use your membership. There are other important things to consider, including:

  • Find out about any additional sign-up fees or extra charges before signing on the dotted line.
  • Visit the gym during the times you want to exercise to make sure it isn't overcrowded.
  • Take tours of the gyms you're interested in and make sure they have the cardio and weight training equipment you want to use.
  • On your tour, pay attention to the details. Is it clean? Are the machines in good shape or are there too many 'Out of Order' signs? Make sure the temperature is comfortable and there's plenty of air circulation.
  • If you're interested in fitness classes or programs, take a look at the class schedule to make sure they have classes you enjoy at convenient times.
  • Make sure staff members are qualified experts. Personal trainers and fitness instructions should have accredited certifications, have knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and exercise and should also be trained in CPR.
  • Last, make sure the gym belongs to a professional association such as the International Health, Racquet, and Sports Club Association. That will ensure they're keeping current with safety standards.

You don't have to join a gym to get a good workout, but gyms offer more variety, more energy and more resources for getting you started on the right foot. To get the most out of your gym membership, do your research and don't settle for less than what you need for a great workout.

By Paige Waehner, CPT
Paige Waehner is a certified personal trainer, author of the "Guide to Become a Personal Trainer," and co-author of "The Buzz on Exercise & Fitness."