With the season of new year’s resolutions fast approaching and many people making plans to lose weight, get fitter and reach their health goals, joining a gym is at the top of the priority list for many people.
And whether you have been a member of one before and are just looking to get back into it, or are new to the gym scene altogether, it can be worth it to take some time and carefully assess what your getting and what you’re getting into before you take the plunge.
Here are 5 things to consider as part of your plans:
- How much of a deal is it? At this time of year, in anticipation for all the New Year’s resolutioners, many gyms will offer promotional deals to entice you to sign up. While it’s great if you are already planning to sign up anyway, and can now save some cash, it’s not always the deal they make it out to be. Read the fine print and make sure that you won’t pay for it down the line, or that they aren’t actually making you pay the same, just over a different time period or through a different number of instalments. Ask lots of questions, be very clear about what you are/aren’t getting and don’t be afraid to walk away and say no if it doesn’t seem right to you.
- Are you on a contract? This can be the single most disappointing thing about choosing a gym: they want to lock you in for a year contract. And whether you end up moving unexpectedly with your job, end up being out of town a lot for work, or just don’t like the gym, committing to paying for something for a whole year that you have never tried before isn’t always the best idea. If you can, steer clear of contracts and don’t lock yourself in. It creates a lot of hassle down the road if you need to change things and more likely will just mean you’ll end up paying for a gym membership you never use. Instead, try for month to month, or ask about gym/class passes as an option.
- Is it convenient? If your gym is far from your house or work, only open until 7 pm each night and closed every Sunday, it may not be that convenient for you in your busy life, and may end up meaning you don’t really go that often. Going to the gym is hard enough, so make it easy on yourself: choose a gym that is close to your work so you can minimize travel time and that is going to be open during the hours when you are most likely to go. Set yourself up for success by making the gym a convenience and an easy part of your day, not an inconvenience that you are likely to give up on!
- Do you feel comfortable there? You know how sometimes you walk into a gym, and you immediately feel intimidated? There’s these big guys grunting in front of the mirror over in the corner, followed by this big bang as they drop their barbell to the floor, and the change rooms are small, lacking in showers, and somehow everything just feels dirty, caked with sweat and gross. If you get the wrong vibe from a gym and just don’t feel right there, then it’s not the one for you. This is totally okay, but it’s important to recognize it, accept it and walk out. Feeling this way isn’t going to change once you get a member ship, and may even get worse. You will come to dread going because of how the place makes you feel, yet feel guilty because you signed up. Instead, keep shopping around until you find one that feels right for you.
- What do you want from the gym? Gyms these days come as so much more than just a big room with a heap of electrical machines and stacks of dumbbells. You can have gyms that only offer classes, or gyms that are focused around a specific activity, like TRX or spinning. You can have gyms that are ladies only, or that are luxury, offering in house sauna, spa, hot tubs and beauty salons. Take some time and think about what you want your gym experience to be and how you know you will get the best results and then go out and search for a gym that can meet those expectations.
Also check out 6 ways to boost your confidence at the gym!