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Gym checklist advice

What to look for when you are joining a gym?

When you are thinking about joining a gym, it's vital to have a good checklist to work from - that way you can be sure to find just the right place. As you tour the gym you can look at what is on offer, and ask the right questions.

When you tour the facility you need to look around, evaluating both the facilities and the knowledge of the staff. Many gyms offer a day pass or trial membership - don't be afraid to ask about this, it gives you the chance to see if the place suits you, if the staff are attentive to your needs, and - very important - how crowded it gets.

When you are visiting, be aware of special "sign-up now" offers. The staff are paid to get you to sign quickly, but the reality is that many people join a gym in haste, with the best of intentions, but soon discover it's not what they want. A club that requires immediate commitment is probably more interested on numbers than delivering a quality service once you have joined.

It's vital to find the right place - the bottom line is that if you like it you'll go regularly, but if you don't, you'll find every excuse in the book not to go.

The checklist below covers all the main areas you need to consider:

  • Is it close to home or work? (This is often the number one reason people don't go)
  • What facilities do I need? (Classes, personal trainers etc.)
  • What do I actually want to achieve? (Cardio fitness, weight loss etc.)
  • When can I go to the gym? (Mornings, evening, weekends?)
  • Do I want professional advice? (On weights, nutrition, weight loss, etc.)
  • How often will I go to the gym? (Consider membership Vs pay per session)
  • How will I get there? (Car, tube, bus, bike)
  • Does it have a crèche?

You also need to look at the particular facility and how it operates:

  • What are the club's opening times?
  • How much is the monthly membership fee?
  • Is the membership a yearly contract?
  • Can membership be cancelled or frozen?
  • Can you down / up grade a membership?
  • Are there off-peak prices?
  • Are there showers and changing rooms?
  • Are qualified instructors available to help at all times?
  • Do they offer fitness inductions?
  • Will you be given an exercise programme to follow?
  • What fitness classes are offered?
  • Are classes included in the membership price?
  • What specific facilities are available?
  • How busy does the gym get? And at what times?

Once you've visited a few different places, you can review the information you have and make an informed choice.

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