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.
But while you don't want to pay unnecessary fees, you shouldn't always go for gym with the bare-bones offer. A really cheap health club is likely to be a very crowded health club, so if privacy and one-on-one time with trainers are your priorities, consider paying a bit more for a more exclusive fitness center, trainers say.
Consider all of the cost factors beyond gym fees when deciding which gym is the right fit for you. If you want to work out on one of the evenings that you're responsible for watching your kids, for example, you might want to pay extra for a gym that offers childcare, Schiff says.
3. Take a Look Around Prospective Gyms
It's crucial to walk through a fitness club before you sign on the dotted line. As you do, keep your eyes open for small details. Check out the weight-lifting equipment. Is it working properly? "Does it appear to be well serviced -- is it clean and does it get wiped down after use?" asks Schiff. If a machine's out of order, ask someone how long it typically takes for repairs. Look to see if the weights are rusted or corroded, and even check out the leather or upholstery of the various machines.
"If there's cracked or broken upholstery, that sometimes gives you an insight into the type of money that the gym's ownership is putting into maintenance," Schiff says. "Little things like that are indications to quality."
Nowhere is quality more important than the locker room. Let's face it: A messy, wet locker room with towels heaped on the floor and a dirty shower with cracked tiles is going to sap your desire to work out at that gym. So make sure the potential locker room is hygienic, has a towel service, and has adequate facilities -- so that you're not stuck waiting for a free shower after you've worked out for an hour. Lockers are crucial too, especially if you go to the gym before or after work, and need a place for your work clothes and valuables. Make sure that lockers are available and secure, and find out if the gym charges a rental fee.