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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.

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    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.

    2. Find Out the Gym's Membership Offers and Policies

    Checking out a fitness club begins when you walk through the door. "Are you greeted promptly and professionally, without being railroaded into a room to be sold a membership, or immediately told about the special of the month?" asks Gregory Florez, CEO of Fitadvisor.com. "It's important that you feel there's a level of professionalism, that you're not just being greeted by a salesperson." It's always a good sign if the person at the front desk asks about your exercise goals, what types of classes you would like, and times of day that are convenient for you, he says.

    Be sure you find out what kinds of membership the gym offers -- and whether they're varied and flexible. Ross says it's a "big red flag if the gym wants to give you a lifetime membership right away, with a large sum required up front, or if they want you to pay for several years in advance in exchange for a discount over the monthly rate. That is usually a sign the club is not doing so great financially, and they need some operating capital."

    Watch out for hidden health club membership fees. Make sure you know exactly what comes with each level of membership. Will you have to pay an initiation fee? Which classes are included in which level of membership? If you sign up with a gym mainly to improve your golf game, for example, you don't want to end up being charged extra fees for specialized classes to help you do that.

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