Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How To Choose The Gym That's Right For You

Fall is often the time when people start a new fitness program. For moms with kids, they have a little more free time when school starts back up. For others, as summer winds down, they’re not as busy with weekend outings, vacations and other activities.

For most people, the first consideration in choosing a gym should be a convenient location. The facility should be close to where you live, work or regularly visit. 

People lead busy lives. Having to spend an extra 30 or 40 minutes going to and from the gym often ends up becoming an excuse to skip workouts when time gets tight. A fitness center can have the fanciest equipment, the trendiest classes or the cheapest rates but none of those things will do you any good if you don't go regularly.

Next, think about what will make you comfortable. If you're middle aged or a senior and would feel intimidated by young hardbodies, think twice before joining the club favored by college kids and bodybuilders or the Chippendale dancers.

If you're overweight and would feel uncomfortable exercising around the opposite sex, check out single-gender facilities. If you have injury or medical concerns, make sure you feel confident that any health club you consider joining can set you up on a workout that is safe and effective for you.

Decide what features are most important to you. Do you want a personalized workout routine? Are classes your favorite way to exercise? Do you need a facility with extended hours? Will you be happy repeating the same basic exercise program month after month or do you want a gym where you have the option of changing your routine? Do you prefer the atmosphere of a big club or a small one? Do rows and rows of equipment excite or intimidate you? Will you be exercising before work? If so, will you want to shower at the facility? Do you need child care? If you are a lapsed exerciser who really enjoyed lifting weights, will you be happy at a gym consisting solely of 10 or 12 pieces of hydraulic equipment?

Unless you are an experienced exerciser, make sure you find out the qualifications of the instructors and trainers. Unfortunately, there are fitness centers that will hire people with little or no knowledge or experience. People often assume that the big guy they see at the gym knows all about building muscle or that the skinny girl who takes all the classes can help them lose weight. However, for all you know, both those people could just be genetically lucky. Or, unfortunately, Mr. Muscle could also be Mr. Steroid and Ms. Skinny could be Ms.  Eating Disorder. A great body does not make someone a knowledgeable fitness professional.

Knowledgeable or genetically lucky?

Healthy? Or...
After narrowing your choices down, go take a tour of each facility. The club that seems like the best choice on paper may not be. Do you feel comfortable? Is the staff friendly and attentive or does it seem like they’re just going through the motions? Do they ask about what you want in a gym or are they just focused on “selling” what they have? When visiting a club, go at the time you intend on using it. Touring a facility at 9:30 AM on a Tuesday because you have the day off doesn’t give you a good indication of the atmosphere or how busy the place is after work at 5:30 PM.

Determining your priorities before you start visiting clubs will help you ask the right questions and make a more informed buying decision. The more comfortable you feel and the easier it is to integrate exercise into your lifestyle, the more apt you will be to maintain the habit.

If you’re ready to get fitter, healthier and more toned, let’s talk about the options you’d have at Body & Soul Fitness. Call Mickey today at (717) 509-7777.   


Walter Tully said...

Indeed, we really have to consider choosing the gym that best suits our personality and our daily routine because it will be an effective way for us to lose weight immediately. I used to be overweight way back in college and honestly I don't know what to do in order for me to shed the fats in my body. But great thing in my hometown in Glendale, fitness centers are just nearby so I tried going there and after months of training, I already lost a lot of pounds! Now to maintain my body I still go to the gym and I jog regularly at Glendale parks and recreation center.

Mickey said...

Wow, "Walter", that fitness center must be magic! It helped you lose "a lot of pounds" but according to your link it isn't even open yet. :-D