How to Join a Gym

December is a common month to avoid the gym and throw caution to the wind as far as good eating habits and getting healthy are concerned, but January brings new dreams for a more fit, more healthy you. It is, statistically, the most successful month of the year for gym owners as the masses flock to join a gym or fitness center with the hopes of fulfilling their New Year’s Resolution to lose some holiday pounds. To keep from falling into the majority of these resolution makers who don’t make it past one month of a gym membership, choose a gym that is right for you and what you need to stick with a fitness routine.

One of the first things to consider when choosing the right gym for you is geography. Most people will not drive more than 15 minutes to get to the gym, so searching within a 5-mile radius of the office or home is a good way to go. The vicinity of the gym to where you are will be a good mental bargaining tool when you’re trying to cancel your workout session to go home.

While taking consideration of the gym’s proximity to you, consider also the time of day that you’ll be at the gym. Are you an up-and-at-’em gym goer who is there when they unlock the doors, one who enjoys some cardio during lunch breaks, an after-work goer, or what? It is important to drive by the gym or go for a visit during the time you will most likely be there for your workout. This gives you the opportunity to scout out a spot to do your thing and tell whether or not it’s going to be too crowded for you to lift those weights and sweat a little.

Another thing to consider while on your tour of the facility is the cleanliness of the machines and weights. Gyms are breeding grounds for germs and are popular places to pick up illnesses like colds and the flu, so taking note of the level of cleanliness and how well cleanliness is enforced is important. A lot of gyms supply their members with wipes to use on the machines before and after use but pay attention to how many people are following those rules as you walk through.

Other things to notice during a tour are the machines and any extras. There are many companies making workout equipment out there. Some do really well with manufacturing cardio equipment while others have great weight machines. If the gym you are looking at has machines that are all made by the same vendor, then they might not be looking out for the best interest of their patrons. They could just be focused on a good deal for themselves. Make sure there is diversity in the equipment being used at the facility. You should also look for extra incentives like personal training or group classes. These types of offerings can be the extra nudge needed to keep you on track to reaching your fitness goals and securing your investment.

The last technicality to consider when choosing a gym is the contract. All gyms have them, and they’re all negotiable. Make sure you take the time to ask questions and read the small print. It’s important to not get stuck in a contract with a gym that is not right for you, so take your time with this decision. You’re joining a gym because you want to better yourself by getting healthy, not because you want an automatic withdrawal coming from your bank account every month for no reason. Take the time to make sure you are protecting your investment and getting what you need out of a gym membership.

Finally, the most important thing to consider when joining a gym is the culture. Some places pride themselves on not being intimidating, some cater to women only, and some are niche facilities to a specific exercise. Find out what the fitness facility’s target market is and make sure that you fit the bill. You want to be somewhere with likeminded people who are after the same thing you are after – a healthier version of yourself.