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Choosing the Right
It really isn’t all
that unlike choosing a car, a home, or even a spouse.
Just like your soul mate, it’s true that finding the gym
you’re truly compatible with may take a bit of time. Not
every first try is a perfect fit.
To make it last, you must first know the insides and outs of your
gym. You must know the weight equipment, the cardio machines, the
various classes, the flavor of clientele. You must know it and know
Otherwise, your gym/patron relationship could be quickly heading
for the rocks.
First off, you must determine your own fitness goals. Are you
aiming high? Are you aiming low? Are you merely trying to remain
healthy? Do you want to build? Do you want to tone? Do you just
want to lose weight? Or do you just need a place to hang out and
talk to chicks?
Whatever the case, not every fitness facility on every street
corner is going to adhere to the needs of every particular
For example, if you’re a middle-aged woman looking to trim
the excess body fat, the hard-core testosterone of a Powerhouse Gym
may not be your cup of tea.
On the flip side, if you’re ready to take the bodybuilding
circuit – and next year’s Arnold Classic - by storm,
then the lighter, more subdued Bally’s Fitness may not help
you find the beef you’ve been searching for.
After you’ve determined what your fitness goals ultimately
entail, there are various factors you should weigh before slapping
down the plastic at the front counter.
Forget what you’ve heard about that downtown gym through word
of mouth. At almost every gym you’ll enter for the first
time, an employee will offer you a tour of the facility. Take them
up on it. There’s no better way to assess the health club
than to see it for yourself.
Here are a couple of factors to consider when joining your gym.
THE CLIENTELE: You don’t want to be that sore thumb, sticking
out in the gym. Once again, find the gym that best adheres to you.
Almost everybody who waltzes into a public gym is people-conscious.
Often times, new gym-goers who suffer from insecurities of being in
a new environment prefer a quieter, more subtle crowd. Gyms that
are packed from wall to wall with muscle blasters may be a bit too
much and could ultimately force them out the door – for
Meanwhile, there are many trainers who crave the competitive
gatherings and need the constant scrutiny of fellow trainers in
order to propel them toward their goals.
It all depends on you. But if there’s anything that
determines the characteristics of the gym, it’s certainly the
EQUIPMENT: After all, this is why you’re really here,
isn’t it? If you were just doing sit-ups, you’d do them
in your own living room. Right?
The equipment that your gym carries –both the quantity and
the quality – is a lot like your car. It takes you where you
want to go in your fitness journey.
While hard core bodybuilders generally prefer to ride their success
through free weights, many of the toning crowd will gravitate to
the Nautilus-type machines. There are many trainers who crave
specific machines, like cable apparatuses or Smith machines. Check
out the availability of this equipment before committing to the
INTANGIBLES: Hours are a big key. Some gyms close at 8
o’clock on the weekdays. Others stay open until midnight,
even beyond. For you night owls, that could be an ideal
And there are numerous other intangibles that figure into your
health club requirements. Elements like cleanliness, heating, and
even lighting can often make or break your opinions of a
But, of course, nothing determines a gym sale more than the
almighty buck. Affordability will always take top priority.
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