Top 6 things people look for when joining a gym
1) Quality Equipment with great variety
When looking for a gym, one thing you should make sure you do is go inside and take a good walk around. There are so many different types of commercial gym equipment out there today and you will want to be sure that the gym has the ones you most often use.
If you mostly use dumbbells for your workout, you will want to check and see that they have multiple sets so that you can easily continue your workout if someone is utilizing the weight you normally use.
When looking at weight machines, some of the higher end machines have options that you can change so that you are putting the emphasis of your lift on a certain phase of the exercise (for example the concentric (shorting of the muscle) phase). This may help you to vary your workout routine more and bust out of plateaus.
Other factors to look for in free weight machines are that they have been maintained and don't look as though they will fall apart anytime soon. Many of the older gyms you go into have machines that look like they're from the dinosaur era and might not be the safest thing to be using.
Another good factor to look for is the stretching area. Many gyms surprisingly don't even have one, or only allow a small space for stretching.
Stretching is an important part of your workout and should not be left out.
If the area only accommodates one or two people however, you likely won't be spending much time on this aspect of your fitness routine.
If you are heavy into the cardio exercise, check that the machines are in good condition and offer the latest features. The treadmills should have inclines and many also have heart rate readers so you can track how hard you are working.
Ensure that the bikes all have straps on the pedals as this seems to also be a popular problem in some gyms (people taking the straps off and them mysteriously going missing). If you really enjoy mixing up your workouts, you may also want to see if they have alternate cardio machines such as ellipticals, rowers, and recumbent bikes.
Check On the Crowds
Finally, when walking around the gym, be sure that everything is not too crowded. Once it gets busy and people are all off doing their own thing, you don't want to be distracted during your workout and feel like you have a limited space to work in. This may distract you and cause you to be less focused during your workout, thus setting yourself up for reduced progress and possibly even injury.
2) Friendly Staff
The staff members of the gym should be supportive and courteous, ready to answer questions or spot you on a machine if needed. They are there to help you make the most of your workouts. Before selecting a gym, ask about the certifications of the staff members. Are they qualified to guide you through your fitness routine? If you need a trainer, what are their rates?
Think about the location. Is it closer to your home or workplace and when would you plan to visit? Would you normally go at the weekend from home or on the way home from work? Will the traffic be an issue at these times? Also check to see if there's enough parking available especially at a "center of town" gym.
If it's classes you're after, see if there's a good range. Make sure they have some scheduled for the times you'd normally go. See how popular they are, you'd want the class to have more people there than just you and the instructor.
This may not seem like that much of an important consideration to begin with, but once you are there and working out, if the gym has not been maintained and cleaned on a regular basis, you will find yourself uncomfortable using much of the equipment.
Check for things like fresh towels for people to use while they are working out, numerous spray bottles located around the gym to wipe equipment down after use, as well as ask about how often the gym brings in maintenance people.
5) Hours of operation (open late / early/ 24 hours)
This is almost as important as location. You know when the most likely time is that you'll go and you need to make sure your gym is open at that time.
The beauty of a gym is that everything you need is there. You can run, cycle, row, cross country ski, swim or take an exercise class. If you want to tone or build your body there are weight machines and free weights.
When the workout is done, relax in the spa and Jacuzzi. Then have a massage and beauty treatment or a luxury body shower. Both men and women can be pampered to their hearts content and it's all under one roof. When joining a gym the range of facilities is the important factor but there are other things to consider.