Finding the Right Gym for You
Here are 10 questions to ask before joining a fitness center.
8. What Is the Total Cost? continued...
If a spouse and children are in the picture, ask about family memberships,
adds Mallett: ''You're probably going to save money by doing that.''
Whatever gym you join, read the fine print, says Bryant.
''Inquire about payment policies,'' he says. ''If they ask you for a
long-term commitment, that would make me a little leery. Most places don't lock
you into something long-term.''
Find out if there are allowances for special circumstances, such as the
birth of a child or the illness of a parent, suggests Bryant. Ask about the
club's policies on temporarily freezing a membership or adjusting it to fit
''We live in such a time-pressured, hectic society,'' he says. ''We have
seasons of life, and there may be a season where it's just too hectic for you
to get to the gym.''
9. Is There a Reciprocity Agreement?
If you travel a lot, make sure the club you join has a reciprocity agreement
with other clubs, suggests Bryant. For example, membership to an International
Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) club allows you access to
IHRSA clubs in other cities.
The more consistently you exercise, the more likely it is to become a part
of your daily life. Having a club close by when you're out of town will keep
you honest and committed to your fitness regimen.
10. What Kind of Reputation Does It Have?
It's a good idea to talk to other members about the quality of the club
you're thinking of joining, and to find out what they like about it.
But don't be afraid to get some impartial information, too. Bryant suggests
checking with the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been
lodged against the facility you're considering.
In the final analysis, says Bryant, go with your gut.
"You want to find a facility where you can be most comfortable - a place
with the equipment that's going to help you stick with it," he says.
"That's how you're going to derive the long-term benefits."