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6 Things to Look for in a Gym Before You Get a Membership


Looking for a new gym? Whether you’ve moved or your workout needs have changed, trying to find a gym can be a pain in the gluteus maximus. This guide will give you an outline for what to look for as you tour gyms to decide which one is worth joining.

Free Trial Period

For many people, especially gym rats, choosing a gym is serious business. When it comes to your health and fitness, you want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth and enjoy the experience. Gyms like Fitness 19 offer a free guest pass so you can try the facility out for a full week. This gives you the opportunity to test the waters before you jump in.

Membership Options

When you visit a gym, chances are the rep is going to want to lock you into a long-term membership. Some people are commitment phobes, and this is one scenario when locking yourself in for the long haul may not be the best move.

Gyms that offer a variety of memberships are preferable simply because they give you more options. A month-to-month membership could be the best choice if you want to give a gym a longer trial run. It’s also important to make sure you can cancel the membership at any time without being slapped with fees.

Weight of the Weights

Seasoned gym goers that focus on strength training usually make a beeline for the weight section. Many guys are looking to see how heavy the weights get, and if there aren’t 100-pound dumbbells it can be a deal breaker.

The bigger concern for the majority of gym members is the variety of the weights. Look to see what the full range of weight amounts include. Check out the dumbbells, barbells, weight plates, E-Z curl bars and kettlebells. This will quickly tell you if weight training will be a possibility for your fitness level.

Personal Training and Classes

Every now and then, it helps to have a pro giving you advice, motivation and accountability. The last point is a big one. As far as getting results, having an accountability partner can make a huge difference.

Countless studies have shown that accountability can dramatically improve exercise success rates. A study published in Psychology of Sport and Exercise in 2011 showed that the exercise habits of others around you can have a positive influence. Enlisting the help of a personal trainer and taking group classes are two effective ways to improve your mindset and stick with a program.

Group classes are also great because they give you a way to test out new forms of exercise. Yoga and stretching classes can also help you warm up or relax after a workout.

Quality and Quantity of the Equipment

Is the equipment on its last legs? Does the gym invest in the latest equipment from top manufacturers? Even if you don’t use machines a lot, what is there at the gym will tell you how the company runs its business and expands the exercise options.

Some gyms, like old school boxing facilities, are all about using the bare minimum and take pride in being a little rough around the edges. Crossfit gyms won’t have many machines, but they should have plenty of tires, ropes and weights.

The point is, while each gym has their own niche, they should have adequate equipment. Every gym should have equipment that allows you to do essential exercises that get results. This includes having enough equipment to meet the needs of their membership so you aren’t battling to use weights and machines every time you need to bust out a rep.


Don’t underestimate the awesome results that come with knocking out laps. There’s a reason Michael Phelps (and basically every other serious swimmer) has a ripped body. The resistance of water creates a killer cardio session.

Another thing to consider is what you’ll do if you sustain an injury. Aquatic exercises are ideal if you’re recovering and need to take it easy on your body.

Non-Essential But Nice to Have Features

Steam Room and/or Jacuzzi

These amenities are kind of a luxury, but they can aid in recovery.

Kids Play Area

If you’re a parent, being able to take the wee ones with you to the gym is super convenient.

Health Shop

This is really more of a convenience factor. Gyms that have attached health shops make it easy to purchase supplements and vitamins.

You probably won’t find all of these features in most gyms, and some of them may not apply to your situation. The most important thing is to find facilities that offer free trials because that will be the best way to decide if a gym will work for you.