Whether you’re training for a triathlon or just staying in shape, a well-run, well-equipped fitness training center can help you meet your fitness objectives without setting up a workout room at home. Of course, you can put together a credible training routine without expensive fitness equipment, but for the cost of a gym membership, you can use virtually any gear you want. As you evaluate and compare fitness training centers, ask yourself some fundamental questions designed to help you find your ideal workout facility.
1. Are the equipment and the fitness training center itself clean and well maintained?
Look for out-of-order weight machines or worn out mats, untidy office or reception areas, or unclean locker rooms. Do the showers smell fresh? Are used towels cleaned promptly? Does the equipment look as if it’s new or on its last legs? If you see problem areas in one part of the facility, you’re likely to find other deal breakers elsewhere.
2. Does the fitness training center’s schedule match up with yours?
You can’t work out in a closed facility. Especially if you work late hours and prefer to hit the gym after your shift, you need a training center that’s open when you’re ready and motivated.
3. Is the facility’s location compatible with your routine?
You’ll regret signing up—or, worse yet, simply stop going—if reaching the fitness training center means a cross-town drive through heavy traffic. Look for a gym you can reach quickly on your way to or from other destinations.
4. Does the fitness training center offer the equipment you need? Does it include new options you might want to try?
Nothing burns out a workout like boredom. To maintain a consistent fitness schedule and achieve positive results, you need variety in your routine. For example, you may not use a climbing wall in your current workout, but if you sign up at a gym that doesn’t have one, you can’t incorporate it later. If you think you’ll outgrow a facility before your membership expires, cross it off your list. Even a great price isn’t a bargain if the facility can’t accommodate changing needs.
5. Is the staff qualified, capable, and compatible with your workout style?
A high-quality fitness center offers more than great equipment. Look for a staff that’s fully qualified to teach you new routines, check your moves for good form, guide you through the process of stepping up to more reps or heavier weights without injury, and provide advice geared toward your workout goals. Ask for credentials, and request trial sessions with the people who are likeliest to train you. If a trainer’s style tends toward the drill sergeant approach and you prefer a softer personality—or vice versa—your workouts will suffer.
6. Is the real cost of membership a good match for your budget?
Expect the same time-limited new-subscriber rate plans you find when you shop for Internet access or cable TV, with a shift to higher costs after an initial membership term. If you want a month-to-month package that you can end whenever you want, you may have to pay more for that flexibility than if you’re perfectly happy signing up for a full year.
You care enough about your fitness and your training goals to commit hours to workout sessions every week. Invest enough time in the quest for a fitness training center to find one that exceeds your current needs, in a convenient, affordable location with expert staff.