Ever wondered what the differences really are between different gyms and how can one charge £10 per month and another upwards of £60?
We aren't going to look at some obvious, indisputable differences, (Do you get free towel service?, Is there a fancy restaurant attached to the gym? Does the changing room look better than your living room? Is it in a very posh area?)
Instead we are going to look at fundamentals.
Now I am definitely not claiming B-Active Fitness Centre have ticked the boxes for all the items below, I merely want to give you some food for thought so you can make the right decision for your needs and desires and you can find the right gym for you.
Joining a gym can be a big decision, in fact, it could be a life changing one! Thousands of people have changed their lives through exercise so it only stands to reason that choosing the right place to start is very important!
Consider these points when choosing a gym:
- LOCATION - If the gym is cheap but completely inconvenient to get to, you probably won't go.
- EQUIPMENT - Is it equipped with everything you need? Is everything in good working order or are there more "Out of Order" signs than working equipment? Is it comfortable to use or does the treadmill sound like it is groaning and creaking under your weight? Are the resistance machines smooth in operation? Do they have the equipment you want to use?
- CLASSES - Do they have classes? Do you even participate in classes? Are all the classes included in your membership or only select ones?
- SHOWERS - Do they have showers? Are they clean and serviced on a regular basis? Do you prefer private shower rooms? Do they provide body wash and shampoo?
- PERSONAL TRAINERS - Can you get the support you need from a qualified Personal Trainer or is that an added extra? Worse still, are the personal trainers harassing members for business? Are they completely unhelpful unless you pay?
- CLEANLINESS - Is the gym clean? Are there gym wipes to wipe down the equipment?
- LOCKERS - Do they provide lockers? Are they in a secure location? Are they big enough for your purposes?
- HOW BUSY IT - If the gym is packed and you have to queue for a piece of equipment, time is money they say but for me, it is more important than that, time is, well time. Time you can spend with your family or going for a walk or watching football on tv, having a big bubbly bath or sitting in the garden or having a drink with friends. If the gym is too busy, you will waste your time waiting around and lose motivation.
- PARKING - Is it always a risk your car might be clamped or towed whilst you are working out? Or can you walk/cycle or catch a bus to the gym?
- CULTURE - Are people actually working out or are they all standing around in designer outfits, looking buff? If you are a cardio nut, is it full of bodybuilding equipment but hardly any treadmills? (Or vice versa if you are a bodybuilder!)
- PUBLIC TRANSPORT - Do you need your gym to be on or close to a public transport route?
- OPENING HOURS - Are they open when you want to work out? Do you need a gym that is open 24 hours? Do their peak times affect you or could you work out in off peak times?
- SAFETY AND SECURITY - Do they ask you for identification when you join? Is there someone on site to assist you in an emergency? Is there a qualified first aider?
- INDUCTION - Are you offered a free induction? What does the induction consist of? ("and here are the toilets"...is not quite the same as an introduction to the facility and how to use the equipment)
- PERSONAL SERVICE - Are you bustled into a room with 20 other newbies and hustled around the gym for your induction? Or are you addressed by your name, shown around the gym and booked into to enjoy a free personal training session? Have your questions been answered? Can you get assistance when you need it?
- SAUNA - Do they have a sauna? Do you want to sauna?
- STAFF - Are the staff friendly, helpful and professional or do they make you feel like you don't belong there? Are they qualified to do their job? Are they doing their job or are they chatting amongst themselves, ignoring you?
- CONTRACTS - Are you locked into a contract? What is the cancellation policy?
- PRICING - Is there an administration fee? What is the monthly fee? Have you joined on an introductory offer? How long will your subscription fee remain the same? What is included in your membership? Are there any other fees payable at any point?
- EXTRAS - Be sure there are no "extras" such as a fee you may need to pay each time you visit or those classes you thought were included are not.
- SWIMMING POOL - Do you want the use of a pool? Are you subsidising a pool for other members to use?
- EXERCISE PROGRAMMES - Do you get an exercise programme written specifically for you? Or do you have to wing it or pay a Personal Trainer to assist you.
- COMFORT LEVEL - Probably one of the most important factors. Do you feel comfortable in the facility? What does your gut say?