Being healthy has become a top priority for most of the nation since Covid hit. The 2020 pandemic and ensuing lockdowns also taught us that being around people is important too. Even though things are getting back to normal, the desire for wellness and socialization has remained. And joining a fitness center is an excellent way to satisfy both of those needs.
Choosing a fitness center may feel intimidating or overwhelming. There are so many options to choose from and so many promotional claims to sort through. To determine which fitness center is the right one for you, visit it. Observe closely, ask questions, and even try it out. Here are some of the primary things to look closely for.
What Are the Locations?
You might fall in love with a fitness center but end up rarely using it because it’s too far from work and home. Fitness centers are more likely to be used when they’re close and convenient. Select one that is a few minutes from home or work and it won’t be as easy to skip visiting even on a hectic day.
Even better is a fitness center with multiple locations. This is particularly useful if you travel often. Being able to pop into the gym regardless of where you’re at is the best way to stay committed to your routine. Some fitness centers are nationwide while others are regional. Choose one which covers most of the areas you expect to live, work, and travel in.
When choosing a fitness center, try to do a test run with traveling to it. Visit it from your home or work during the time of day that you expect to do so regularly. Doing this when testing locations will help you get a more realistic view of what the commute will be like after you’ve joined.
What Are the Hours?
Like locations, hours are crucial. Schedules and energy levels differ. Plenty of people visit the gym during daylight hours but that might not always be right for you. If you work a second shift, you might want to visit the gym after work at 1am. Others might be ready to exercise at 4am before starting a morning shift.
Visit a prospective fitness center during the hours you expect to use it. If you plan to go after work at 8pm, then visit at that time. See what it looks and feels like during the times you expect to use the facilities. A fitness center may be vibrant and alive in the early afternoon when its best trainers are on duty yet feel like an uncomfortable back alley when you visit in the middle of the night.
Along these same lines, ask how the facility is staffed throughout its open hours. Does it have a full complement of trainers and group classes the entire time? Do they go to half-staff, or just a couple of attendants during certain hours?
How Clean Is It?
Whether because of or in spite of the pandemic, some fitness centers are much cleaner than others. Fitness centers that use a lot of equipment and weights have the potential to spread the most germs. Some studies indicate that over 65% of the equipment in a gym has germs on it that cause the common cold. Most modern gyms have disinfectant wipes and spray bottles scattered throughout the area. The best places have employees continually wiping equipment down between uses.
In addition to seeing how clean the general equipment is, look closer. Visit the bathrooms, look in the corners, and generally be nosy. A place may look great at first glance, but if it’s grimy in the corners or toilets, it may not be as well-kept as it seems.
What Amenities Does It Offer?
Amenities abound with fitness centers, health clubs, and gyms. Sometimes the amenities are just special offers to get you to take on a membership. Sometimes they’re excellent and ongoing. Amenities are important when you’re looking for specific services. You might be interested in the fitness center because you like their group classes, for instance. But those classes may not be included in the basic membership fee. There may be a smoothie bar and steam room, but they may be reserved for the top tier membership only.
What is the Emergency Plan?
If someone has a heart attack while lifting weights, is the fitness center equipped and trained to handle that emergency? What is the procedure for evacuation if there’s an earthquake or hurricane? If someone twists their ankle during dance class, does the gym provide first aid? Is there fitness center insurance that covers accidents or medical issues?
How Safe Is It?
This is another reason to visit the prospective gym during the same hours you plan to use it. If the gym is lightly staffed, or not staffed at all, during certain hours of the day, it may not feel as safe to use. Women specifically, have concerns about being sexually molested. Men may be concerned about being bullied or abused if a rough crowd is around during specific hours. What is the gym’s policy on these issues? Do they have security personnel on site? Does their insurance cover members if issues of this sort arise?
Not everyone considers asking about emergencies and safety when they’re considering a new fitness center or gym. Doing so from the start, however, is an excellent way to have complete trust that you’ve chosen just the right fitness center for you and your needs.