By Mark Barroso Men's Fitness
A new year often means a new gym. Whether you’re joining one for the first time or switching gyms because your membership is up, it's smart to shop around before settling. To help you find a workout facility that works for you, we've put together a quick checklist of the things you should be aware of when doing a walk-through. From examining onsite amenities to reading online reviews, here's the right way to judge a gym.
1. Evaluate the Weights
If the gym's equipped with dumbbells weighing 150 pounds or more, then you’re at the right place to build some serious strength. Also, more squat racks mean less wait time when you're training legs, so look for at least two racks out on the floor.
2. Consider Convenience
Pick a gym that's between your workplace and where you live. This way, the fitness facility will always be on your way to or from the office—and you'll have no excuse not to stop.
3. Ask About Unique Amenities
If you're looking for more than a bare-bones box stocked with the basics, extras like a pool, massage therapist, or onsite nutritionist can help you get more out of your training sessions. Swimming has a therapeutic effect on muscles, a nutritionist can help clean up your diet, and a post-workout massage may help relieve pain caused by sports injuries—or dwelling deskside all day.
4. Check for Cutting-Edge Equipment
Not every piece of equipment is going to be brand new, but there should be some high-tech training tools available. Ergonomic rowers, suspension trainers, gymnastics rings, the Renegade Stand from PurMotion, and the Hurricane from Sorinex provide advanced ways to train your entire body.
5. Get the Low-Down on Dues
Gyms offer memberships that range from a single day to an entire lifetime. Our suggestion: sign up for one year max, because who knows what you'll be up to in 365 days? Know the gym’s cancellation policy and the specifics of your membership contract, including how to opt out. Don't like the feeling of being locked in? Paying for a gym membership up front eliminates monthly payments and typically means a shorter contract duration.
6. Size Up the Space
Workout facilities range anywhere from a couple thousand square feet to 50,000 square feet or more. Having free space to do a dynamic warmup is key. Larger gyms may have yoga studios, boxing rings, cycling rooms, and so on. But smaller gyms can act as private training centers, which you might find more comfortable.
7. Read the Reviews
Do your homework. Tap into gym reviews via online resources, like Yelp, to find out what others are saying about the facility.