Is joining a health club right for you? Here are some factors to consider:
Do you think you'd benefit from having access to a wide variety of equipment that will enable you to vary your workouts?
Would you enjoy the camaraderie of working out in an environment where there are like-minded people?
Would making a commitment to a health club membership help you solidify your fitness commitment?
Would you benefit from periodic guidance and advice from trained professionals?
If you decide to have a work out partner, would he or she enjoy the health club experience? Can you join as a team?
If you think joining a health club would be a good way to work your fitness plan, it's important that you evaluate your alternatives, and pick the club that will work best for you. Talking to the health club's management (or, preferably, the club's owner), will give you a good sense of what the gym is all about. The health club's management (or owner) should be glad to meet with you to discuss your goals and answer your questions; if not, well that tells you a lot about the club too.
Selecting a health club
All health clubs are not the same. There are those that specialize in different aspects of fitness, like weight training or aerobics classes. There are “mega-gyms" with thousands of square feet loaded with every conceivable type of equipment and smaller neighborhood gyms where everyone knows your name. As with any other investment, you should do your home work before signing up.
Here are some questions to ask in order to determine whether a health club is right for you:
Is the health club convenient to where you live or work? You are MUCH more likely to attend regularly if the club is within 15 minutes of your home or office, particularly if it's on the way to/from your home to your work place.
Is there sufficient parking, close to the facility? Getting in and out of the club should be hassle-free, and you shouldn't have to worry about feeling safe getting to/from your car.
Is the staff helpful and supportive? One of the most important criteria. Staff should be helpful and attentive, but also be experienced enough to know when to give members their “space". Staff should be “on the floor", ensuring safety and comfort of members at all times. Staff should also be able to work with you on defining your fitness goals, laying out a road map, and supporting you through your fitness journey.
What is the atmosphere like? Are the music, lighting, and physical layout conducive to getting a good workout? Would YOU feel comfortable working out here? (This is probably THE most important question of all!)
What do current members say about the health club? Testimonials are important, powerful tools for assessing a health club. Any club should be willing to provide these references on request.
What is the membership profile, and how would you fit in? Is there a mix of beginners and advanced members, or does the club cater to a particular fitness level (like body builders or power lifters)?
Does the club have the equipment I'm looking for?
Is the club crowded during my target workout times? Are there sign-in sheets and waiting lines for specific equipment during peak usage times?
How does the cost compare with other clubs?
Notice that “cost" is listed last. That's not meant to imply that price is the least important factor. But choosing solely based on price without evaluating all the other factors is probably a bad idea. After all, it's more about VALUE than COST in the long run, isn't it?
Pete Bellisano is a certified personal trainer and owner of Peak Performance Fitness in Berkeley Heights NJ. Peak clients are achieving outstanding results losing weight and improving overall fitness, through our unique approach to Fitness For Real People. Visit our site to see what our clients have to say about their success, and to pick up your free fitness info. http://www.peakperformancenj.com