For active-minded people, choosing a fitness gym is like finding a good life or business partner – at a very basic level, you want a sense of comfort, stability, and satisfaction with the relationship. At a higher level, and depending on your preferred gym activities, a good gym connection can create much more – going to the gym can also be intense, fun, relaxing, and social.
Taking the time to carefully choose the right fitness gym for your needs is worth the effort.
If you haven’t yet found a fitness gym to call your own, take comfort. The Niagara Region is home to over 70 gyms and fitness facilities. Luckily for you, we have created a list of the 10 Key Considerations When Choosing a Fitness Gym, to make things easier.
Is the fitness gym convenient to your home, school, or worksite? You are more likely to use the gym if it is on the way, or nearby. Choosing a gym within walking or biking distance of your main hubs adds the benefit of pre-workout cardio and fresh air.
Visit the facility in person to take in the entire sensory experience – it’s the vibe. How does it look, smell, and feel?
Does the fitness gym hours match your availability and preferences for workout times? Are classes you are interested in offered throughout the day and on weekends? Are the personal trainers available during all gym hours?
If you need a gym 24/7 and year-round, be sure to ask about holiday hours and planned closures.
3. Variety of Equipment/Classes:
When choosing a fitness gym, does it cover the three fitness disciplines, i.e., cardio, resistance, and classes? Canada’s Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Living recommends 60 minutes of activity daily for optimal health benefits.
Does the facility provide a wide range of cardio machines, resistance areas and options, and a full schedule of varied classes as well as classes geared to skill level?
Fitness gyms offering a wide variety of classes:
4. Friendly, knowledgeable staff:
Does the facility have a reception area? Are the staff friendly, and knowledgeable enough to answer your questions or refer appropriately? Are important announcements made in timely, effective ways (text, email, indoor/outdoor signage, website or social media)?
5. Expert supervision and support:
Does the fitness gym have qualified personal trainers on-site to help with the proper use of the equipment and for a personal consultation? Are their credentials openly listed?
6. Safety and Security:
Does the facility post safety notices? Does the gym discourage cell phone use in locker areas? (a good thing). Are the entry doors monitored by staff and/or security cameras? Does the gym provide lockers? Are first aid kits visible?
7. Health & Nutrition:
Does the facility offer healthy beverages and snacks? Cooled water fountains or refilling stations? Do they provide print or online newsletters on topics related to healthy living?
You should feel comfortable at the fitness gym because you will be spending time there, some questions to ask yourself are:
- Is the facility appropriately air-conditioned and ventilated, especially for classes like spin where the temperature and humidity in the room can rise noticeably?
- Is there a comfortable place to sit and wait, read, or eat?
- Do they have designated places to hang your coats and backpacks or are lockers provided?
- Are showers available, and are those areas clean?
- Does the facility provide post-workout amenities?
Does the fitness gym offer a free or low-cost trial period? Are discounts available for seniors, students or family plans? Avoid unpleasant surprises: Always ask about cancellation options and conditions before you sign anything.
When you visit the fitness gym during your pre-commitment phase, ask for a tour, and look around. Can you imagine yourself there? Do you see yourself among members present– in size, shape, age, gender, race, and culture?
Some gyms blast loud music all day and offer multiple video screens in all directions – typically attracting a younger crowd. Other gyms deliberately avoid displaying video monitors or playing any background music. Which do you prefer?
Bonus Features (if these are important to you):
Does the facility offer massage or nutrition services, sauna or steam rooms, a pool, walking or running tracks, TVs or information screens, the opportunity to use your membership in other cities or partner facilities? Does the facility offer free childcare? Do the operating staff interact with members, inviting member feedback, running contests or referral programs? Is the gym community-oriented, offering support to causes, organizations, or events that you also support?
It goes without saying that before you commit to a fitness gym membership, you should consult with gym members to ask them about their experiences and find out what they like and what they don’t like. Finally, you should check each facility’s website or social media platforms for further information, news, photos, and user reviews.
You’ve done your homework. Are you ready to jump into your new fitness gym experience? Go for it because your body and mind will thank you.
Start the search for your ideal fitness gym.