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Should You Join a Gym?

With the New Year comes New Year resolutions, and one of the most common resolutions is to lose weight.  When we think about losing weight we often consider it necessary to hit the gym and start working out.  But joining a gym is a big commitment.

So let’s take a look at the question, “Should I join a gym?”

While we can’t say for sure if joining a gym is right for you, we can explore some of the things to consider if you are thinking about becoming a member at your local gym.

  • Can you work out at home?  Unless you want to enter the body building area, it is possible to get a good workout at home.  You don’t need fancy gym equipment to get a good workout.  There are as many home workout plans as there are people who want to get in shape.  The majority of these home-workout regimes require only a little space and a TV.  If you are really shy, love fresh air and don’t relish the thought of getting dressed to go to the gym… working out at home might be the best alternative to joining a gym.
  • The money.  Let’s face it, no matter what gym you go to, it’s going to cost you something.  Some gyms require you to sign a contract and have your dues taken out of an account automatically.  If keeping to a strict budget, you might be better served keep your money in your pocket and your workout at home.
  • Convenience.  Is it convenient for you to have to pack-up your workout clothes and travel to the gym?  For some, a gym close to work is a great convenience… allowing them to hit the gym right after work or on the way to work.
  • Motivation.  Many people find it hard to stay motivated when working at home.  Most gyms have a staff available that will help you if you get stuck or are unsure of what to do.  There are also professional trainers that will help you work out at the gym…for a fee of course.
  • Group fitness.  For those of you that get bored easily doing the same workout, of if you want an alternative to the treadmill, most gyms offer group exercise classes of all sorts.  Often times the support of class members and the instructor is what many people need to stay interested.

Things to consider when joining a Gym

For those of you that are set on joining a gym, here are a few things to consider when picking a gym.

  • Location, location, location.  Location is almost as important as the cost when considering a gym membership.  If your gym is out of the way or too far from your home or work, you will be less likely to go.  When you encounter one of those inevitable hectic days, a gym close to home will make fitting a workout into your schedule easier.
  • Hours.  If your gym is closed when you are available to workout, well then, you will obviously have a hard time attending.  Most gyms are open 24 hours a day.  Make sure your prospective gym’s hours fit your schedule.
  • Staff and members.  Most gyms will let you have a free workout and a tour of the facility before deciding to join.  Make sure the staff is friendly and available to help you out if needed.  Be sure to ask about the certifications of the staff members who will be assisting you in your workouts.  Also, make sure you fit in with the type of members the particular gym has.  Some gyms cater to, or attract, a certain type of individual or age group.  Make sure the environment is one that you would feel relaxed in and not intimidated or embarrassed.
  • Equipment. When you go on your free tour or free trial workout, make sure you check out the condition and variety of the machines.  Also check to see if there is a time-limit on the machines or sign-up sheets for popular machines.  Does there appear to be enough equipment for the amount of members working out?  If you have to wait forever to get on every machine you will end up avoiding the gym all together.
  • Cost.  Possibly the most important of these considerations is the cost.  There are many gyms that have a sign-up fee in addition to a monthly fee and sometimes a contract.  Make sure whatever their fee schedule, it is something that will fit into your budget and you can live with… be sure to ask about discounts and any penalties for canceling your membership.

When it comes to deciding on a gym to join, be picky!  Don’t join the first place you go to.  Ask your friends, coworkers or even neighbors for recommendations.  If you choose the wrong gym, for whatever reason, you will find it difficult or impossible to continue going.


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