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How to Find a Gym

Is that gym or health club really right for you? Here are 5 ways to assess whether a fitness club will work for you.
By Christopher OLeary
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Before a guy can do any legwork at a gym, he needs to do a little legwork to finda gym. Finding a fitness or health club that will meet all your personal needs and help you stay motivated means taking notes, asking some key questions, and being realistic and upfront about your goals.

Every New Year, boatloads of guys join gyms, according to personal trainers. Maybe they're hoping -- finally -- to lose those extra 20 pounds or bulk up their pecs, or they're recovering from a knee or back operation and need to help sore or injured muscles get back in form. Sometimes a guy just wants to improve his golf swing. But a lot of times, after a month or three, a good number of them stop going to the gym.

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The core problem is that while there are plenty of fitness clubs that can meet their needs, guys often don't do enough research to make sure the club they pick is truly a good fit. So, what steps do you need to take to ensure that your health club membership doesn't become an obligation -- one that you neglect more and more as the months go on? Here are 5 steps to help you find a good gym.

1. Find a Gym Near Your Home or Office

It seems simple enough, but picking a gym that's too far away is a common error guys make when trying to find a gym. And fitness club location is a make-or-break factor, according to Jonathan Ross, personal training director at the Sport Fit Total Fitness Club in Bowie, Maryland.

"People may think that a gym 20 minutes from their house is fine until the realities of a weekly schedule start to hit," Ross says. "And then there's traffic, and they're already pressed for time." Add road time to gym time and that can eat away at incentive. "For many people struggling to find time to exercise, adding 30 minutes of total drive time is too large an obstacle," says Ross.

Exercise pros say that a gym ideally should be no longer than a 10-minute walk or drive from either your office or your home.

Some say picking a gym near home is more fail-safe. Brian Schiff, who owns The Fitness Edge, a private fitness studio in Columbus, Ohio, says that many times guys will pick a place close to work, assuming they'll work out over lunch or after a day at the desk. But by the end of the day, the prospect of doing a workout and then a 30-minute drive home can seem more like a headache. "I find it works much better for men to find a place close to home, so they can go in the morning and then shower and go to work," he says.

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