Fitness centers are pretty common and your choices for membership are pretty varied. You can choose from expensive country club facilities that offer the same as an average fitness facility plus golf, tennis and full spa facilities or you can opt for the no frills gym with a couple of treadmills and some weights. It can make choosing the right fitness center difficult. All the bells and whistles always sound nice but are you going to use them enough to justify the cost?
Before you plunk down your hard earned cash on any fitness center you need to figure out what your fitness goals are. What type of workout do you enjoy and which will you stick with. Once you have that figured out now you need to match facilities with your goals. Once you have the fitness center picked out it’s time to take a tour, check out the equipment and meet the staff. Here are some questions to ask before you agree to any commitment.
- What are the hours and is it conveniently located? You need to make going to the fitness center as easy as possible otherwise you will just blow it off. Find a place that is either close to home or to your work. If you work shift work or any type of odd hours make sure it is open during the times you are most likely to work out.
- Is the facility clean and well maintained? Are the changing areas and the showers clean? Are you going to enjoy spending time here, don’t overlook the environment, if you’re not comfortable don’t waste your time.
- Does it have modern and up to date equipment? Not only does the equipment need to be up to date there needs to be enough of it, nobody wants to wait around form machines every time you go to the gym.
- Do they offer the type of fitness classes that you are looking to take? Are they at convenient times? If you’re looking for yoga classes but the only offer them at 11am when you’re at work, that’s not going to work for you.
- What kind of training do the staff have, are they qualified instructors or are they there to sell memberships? Do they have personal trainers for you to work with and are they certified?
- Are there any child care, towel services or saunas available? To some these may be perks but for others they are the deal breakers.
- What is the cost and the details of the contract? Most fitness centers are going to make you sign an agreement for anywhere from three months to one year. Some will bill you monthly and others will want the entire amount up front. You need to look at the fine print, some contracts are pretty straight forward and in other cases getting divorced is easier and less expensive than trying to get out of your gym membership.
If the fitness center won’t let you try before you buy with a free pass for a week or so then you should probably take a pass. Larger fitness facilities will not only do that for you then use it as a sales tool. Use your trial at the time of day you plan on working out, it will give you a more accurate idea of the availability of machines and cleanliness of the whole facility.
At the end of the day pick the one that gives you the best value for your money, fitness centers can be a great investment in your health…but only if you use them.