The gym is a place that means different things to different people. To some, the gym is an intimidating jungle of fit people who stand ready to judge everyone else with their beady eyes. To others, it’s a haven of motivation where fat is removed from the body and disappears into inexistence. If you fall in the former camp, you can avoid the gym by getting the Granite Fitness Solution. If you fall into the latter camp, you can pair your gym membership with the Granite Fitness Masterclass.
Clearly, today’s post is targeted at the “latter” category. Whether you are new to the world of gyms or an established gym rat moving into a new town, this article can not only help you figure out which gym might be best for you, but also how to get the most out of your membership. You’re going to thank me for this one; I know it!
But before that, I want to take you through a philosophical tangent. Why go to a gym in the first place? What would make you want to keep on turning up? Is there something magical about the gym that draws you there? These things might seem minor right now, but considering that many gym members only turn up infrequently, they are worth asking! Anyways here is a list of things to consider before joining a gym:
Clearly this is the biggest one to most of us. And I’ll tell you why – because it all adds up. If gym ‘A’ costs 15 bucks a week and gym ‘B’ costs 20, how much would you save in the long-term? But anyways the question you should be asking is really “value”. If gym ‘A’ is basic and cruddy, you might not be motivated to go more than once a week. If gym ‘B’ is a lot better, you might end up going four times a week and losing weight more quickly.
You should also think of all the other hidden costs involved. For example, if gym ‘A’ is far away, you might end up spending a fair amount on fuel. And think about the amount of time you lose as well. Cost is not as simple to figure out as you think. What I suggest is writing a list of all your options and seeing what you get with the cost of each. We’ll cover the other points as we move down this list.
This factor is important for several reasons. Firstly, you want to ensure that you can fit your lifestyle and commitments around your exercise periods. If you work shifts, you might not be able to go to the gym at 10pm if the gym closes at 8. Secondly, if you periodically suffer from insomnia, a 24 hour access gym is the best. Thirdly, shorter operating hours means that all the active members will have to fit their time accordingly, thereby hogging the machines you want to use during peak hour, capische?
This is also another important factor. Combined with the opening hours, the location plays a huge role in accessibility. If a gym is far away, that acts as a barrier for you to go to it often because it’s a hassle. You want to be eliminating any roadblocks that can dissuade you from exercise. Pick a gym that is not too far away from your home, school, or work and you might just end up going more often. If you are a full-time worker, this is even more so. There are only 24 hours in a day after all, right?
Disclaimer – you do not need the best equipment in the world. A 10 kg dumbbell that looks old and rusty will train your muscles the same way as one that is all jazzed up. However, you do want to make sure that the equipment is present, working and reliable. You see, different gyms have different emphases. Some have many cycling machines, some have more squat racks. Ensure that the equipment you prefer using for your workout is present in sufficient quantities.
Size Of The Gym:
Once again, this isn’t a very significant factor, but it does play with your psychology a little. Some people prefer the bustling atmosphere of a large gym with music blaring from all corners, while others prefer a quiet, sparsely-populated one. Some people are more claustrophobic than agoraphobic, while others are the opposite. You have to know which one you prefer because it can affect your motivation levels.
Personal Training Services:
Just like the decision to join a gym, the decision to hire a personal trainer is useful for some, but not for others. However, given the fact that many personal trainers work within the framework of a gym, you’d be better off asking about their numbers and availability before you join a gym. Also enquire about the prices of their services.
Some people like group fitness classes, while others completely loathe the idea of being in one. Of course, most of us know that there are a variety of available classes with different emphases. If you like group classes, be sure to check the general timetable to see that your favourite type is available at convenient hours. The gym that I go to has all the classes on on-demand video, which we can play anytime the room is not scheduled. Automated, but not personal. Oh well.
Write down a list of what you need and like from a gym, and check that off with each gym that you are considering. Some of these might include lockers, toilet, showers, change room, pool, sauna, cafe, creche, and maybe even a massage centre. Obviously a gym with more facilities will cost more. Consider which ones of those you would like to have and then you’ll be in a better position to judge whether the extra dollars are justifiable.
I’m sure it’s no surprise to you when I say that some gyms are specific to certain types of fitness. There are gyms targeted towards aficionados of crossfit, boxing, martial arts, kettlebell training, weightlifting, or powerlifting. These gyms tend to have much smaller numbers though. So if you want to specialise your exercise regimen towards a specific craft, then go for one of these.
A Few Things To Do:
Apart from the list above, there are a few things you should do when considering a gym. Firstly, ask for a free trial. This gives you an opportunity to scout it out to see if it resonates with you. Secondly, ask for the membership options. You’ll be surprised at what may come out of it. Tell them your needs and schedule and see what they can offer. Finally, compare all your options with a simple comparison chart, and hopefully the best one would jump out at you!
One Last Thing:
You should always have a back-up plan when your motivation to go to the gym is not there, your gym is inaccessible for whatever reason, or when you go travelling. A set of resistance or yoga bands is always good. You can get them here, or as part of the Granite Fitness Solution or Travel Fitness Solution. I sometimes bring my bands to the gym or the park, and definitely take them with me when I am travelling. I also use them at home when I don’t feel like going to the gym for whatever reason – be it lack of time or poor weather. In this way, there are no excuses for not exercising, right?
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