Have you decided to join the gym? It’s time to find the gym for you. Finding the best gym for you is serious business, it is just like finding a good school for your child. Maybe not as important, but you should take it seriously because you’ll be spending quality time in the gym and you should ensure that it’s a good fit for you.
7 Factors to consider when finding a gym
There are certain things you should do before you commit by making payment, registering and gaining membership in any particular gym.
Location and distance from your house/office
We are all busy people and several things constantly demand our attention. For most people who work, finding the extra time to get some workout in is already a hassle not to mention physically going to the gym. You must find a gym that is close to you, this makes it convenient for you to visit and get the workout in. I have made the mistake of choosing a gym that had great facilities but was quite a distance from me and I regretted it.
Living in a busy city riddled with traffic congestion can make joining a gym a difficult task. Getting to the gym can be discouraging. I tried to keep up the first week, but I was consistently late to work. Too tired to go to the gym after work because I knew it’ll take me forever to get there. Eventually, I started putting it off and slowly I stopped going completely. When my monthly subscription expired I was honestly relieved and I did well not to renew it. It was clear to me that wasn’t going to work so I chose a different gym—one that was closer to me and it worked.
Location is an important factor to consider that will save you money and time. In The long run, determines whether or not you will continue going to the gym, so choose wisely.
Do not believe everything you see online. This is a warning that rings in my head whenever I see beautiful imaGes online and I am tempted to take people’s word for it. I always remind myself “I don’t know you from anywhere” “even people I know lie, so how am I sure you aren’t?”. I am a great advocate of “seeing is believing”. When you decide to pick a gym, the first thing you need to do is check the gyms that are close to you, check them out online, narrow down your options to a few of them, maybe your top 2-3.
Pick a convenient day and visit them.
This visit is gold. I repeat it’s gold. It is just like going to see someone without calling to inform them you’re coming. You get to see how they really are, whether they are messy or as clean as they claim.
Nothing tells you the truth like visiting and seeing how the gym is run as well as checking out their facilities.
I recommend you make a list of the questions you’d like to ask them when you get there even before you go visiting. I did this during my gym tours as I love to call it and it was insightful.
Tour of the facility
Most gyms will give you a tour if you walk in asking about their facilities because you’re considering joining the team.
However, you must be quick and observant when taking this tour, during this tour most of your questions will be answered and you will be shown most of their equipment. Remember they are trying to paint a desirable picture for you because they need you to register with them, they will tell you all the things they believe you want to hear. Now it is left for you to be perceptive enough to sniff the lies so you can make an informed decision in the end.
My gym tour experience
I once received a tour of a gymnasium and I noticed most of their machines had the “out of order sign” they only had a few functional machines and those had a long queue of people waiting in line and taking turns to use them, I also overheard someone complaining that those machines had been out of order for a while and he was asking when they intended to get them fixed and he wasn’t given a sufficient response. I acted like I didn’t notice it and after the tour, I asked the person who gave me a tour after the spoilt equipment and he lied stating that they just spoilt yesterday and they’ll be fixed in no distant time.
You already know I didn’t go back there, I cannot get a gym membership to deal with “out of order” facilities when I should be utilizing my money and getting the workout my body needs.
I knew I had options so I looked elsewhere and I eventually found one that worked for me.
When checking the facilities please do not stop at the workout equipment. You should also check if the air conditioner works if the gym has running water and uses air fresheners.
If the gym staff are rude and incompetent it will gravely affect your workout experience because you might need their assistance. If you can’t get the help you need it can make your experience a difficult one. From your interaction during the tour, you can generally get the sense of whether or not the staff at the gym are competent and polite people or not.
You should also ensure that it’s a company-wide issue and not just. a case of a bad single employee. You should also observe how members are treated. It will give you a glimpse into the kind of treatment you might receive when you eventually become a member.
Your gym needs to have properly trained staff that will attend to you and assist you in case you need help or resolve any complaints or issues you might have. Find a gym that cares about its customers.
Hygenic condiction of the gym
This is long for is the gym nasty, messy, dirty or clean. A gym is basically a sweat bank, almost everyone there goes to literally workout and sweat so if the gym is a great breeding ground for germs, there should be workers employed to keep it clean, to clean the floors, pick up trash and clean facilities after use by members.
My current gym has cleaners who hang around ready to clean up rooms that are used for different classes after each class and get them ready for the next class. They also wipe down the equipment with antiseptic and spray the room with air fresheners. They also make available tools you can use to wipe down and clean machines/equipment if you desire to. In fact, that’s what you’re expected to do after your use. However, not many people follow rules so when people fail to follow the rules the cleaners step in and do the job.
The bathrooms and locker rooms at the gyms should also be clean as people like to take a bath after their workouts. People have reservations about gym bathrooms because they are public and will never quite match personal bathrooms. However, if they are properly maintained it is definitely an advantage.
Find out what you want from a gym
There are different types of gyms, some provide more hands-on service with all the trainers they have available that put the members who need their help and expertise through different workouts that will help them achieve their fitness goals and also teach them how to use the gym equipment properly. This option is great for beginners, more experienced people often have routines and they know how to use the gym equipment and facilities. . You should consider this if you are a beginner trying to find a gym.
If you’re a beginner, find a gym that offers the option of trainers who will help you around the gym.
I believe a gym that has favourable policies is a great choice, you must read the gym’s policies and ask for clarifications if you do not understand them before signing up and becoming a member.
I once used a gym that had a strict no video recording policy. It was such a bummer for me because I enjoy taking videos of myself doing a workout. It motivates me and keeps my energy up and I couldn’t do that while I worked out there.
My last gym had this option of freezing your subscription on the gym app. If for some reason you cannot work out at the gym e.g, a pandemic, work, travel or health issues. You have the option of freezing your subscription till you’re ready and available.
Gym subscription freeze
I was really pleased with this because even after lock-down was lifted and gyms were permitted to open. They were expected to strictly observe covid protocols, I was sceptical of being near people or going to public places. I couldn’t get myself to go to the gym so I froze my subscription. To date, I haven’t returned it felt good to know I had the option to freeze my subscription.
Gyms operate differently, so it’s left for you to figure out their policies. You should also know how these policies might affect you in future. It can also help you determine if you are comfortable with them and wish to proceed with registration.
Harassment and comfort
Some so many women are uncomfortable with working out in integrated gyms. This is a consideration for a lot of women when they decide to find a gym. This has contributed to the obvious gender gap in physical activity levels between men and women. Have you ever wondered why it seems like men go to the gym more than women? It is because they actually do. Some women dread going to the gym to work out because they are self-conscious of their bodies. They hate to be stared at or have men giving them disturbing glances when their body parts jiggle doing exercise.
Women have also complained of weight stigma—those that are plus-size receive glances. The slim ones often get the question “why are you working out ? you don’t need it”. Some men believe the last bit is a compliment but speaking from experience, it’s a really ignorant thing to say. So I don’t need exercise because I’m slim, I should just go to bed, right? Really ignorant.
Chasing dates at the gym
Women have also gotten harassed at the gym as well. There have been situations where men enter the female locker rooms–where women are getting dressed. Invading their privacy and feigning shock afterwards, claiming it was an honest mistake.
Men at the gym often interrupt women’s workout to make small talk. Some demand personal details from them and ask them out on dates. This behaviour can disrupt workout routine and ruin gym experiences.
I believe that we should keep educating men and pointing out their negative behaviours that affect us. We will eventually solve this and bridge the gap in the fitness and physical activity levels between men and women.
However, in the meantime, you can decide to stop using an integrated gym if it makes you uncomfortable. You can check out and sign up for a women-only gym. You might find a gym that is a women-only gym near you, just use your map.
In conclusion, these are some of the red flags you should look out for during your gym tour;
- Incompetent and rude staff
- Messy or dirty gym
- Hot gym without air conditioner or ventilation
- Ridiculous or unfair policy(ies)
If you have any questions or comments about this post don’t hesitate to send a message. Remember you can always talk to me.