4 things to consider when joining a gym

October 01, 2019 | by Angie Ruggiero
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

The first step to successfully reaching your fitness goals is finding the perfect setting to complete your exercise regimen. Given the fitness industry has become so large, it can seem like the options are never-ending, making it hard to choose.

To help you find the perfect fit, here are the top four factors you should consider when joining a gym:


Make sure the gym is conveniently located. Prime locations would be a few minutes away from your house or work. Keeping the distance between you and your fitness facility short will make it more realistic for you to actually show up, especially if you’re in a time crunch.

By picking a gym close to work, you can work out during rush hour. This saves you from sitting in traffic and you’ll have the rest of your night to yourself. Likewise, if you pick a gym close to home, you’ll have a place close by to work out on the weekends, too.

If you pick a gym that is farther away, bad weather, traffic or construction can become common excuses keeping you from your workout.

Your goals and equipment

What are your goals? What is the mission of the gym you are joining? Do they match up?

As mentioned before, there are so many gym membership options at locations such as commercialized gyms, CrossFit gyms, luxurious gyms, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) facilities, hospital-based fitness centers, park districts, strength and conditioning facilities, and even specialized studios specifically for yoga, Pilates, boxing, etc.

Set yourself up for success. Pick a place structured for goals. For instance, athletes strive to increase strength and improve their endurance, so strength and conditioning facilities may be a good option. A hospital-based fitness center would be ideal for individuals with medical conditions, families and others.

Gyms are equipped with different resources to match the needs of members. Make sure the gym’s equipment aligns with your program.

Facility hours

Once you figure out a practical time to work out, start looking into fitness centers that are open during your ideal hours. For example, not all gyms are open late, which can limit your options if you’re a night owl.

Staff credentials

The quality of a fitness center’s staff can be a deal breaker. The more certifications, education and experience a staff member has, the better.

In the fitness industry, degrees in Exercise Science, Exercise Physiology, Kinesiology, Nutrition, Clinical Rehabilitation and similar majors are all highly regarded.

When working with a personal trainer, you always want to make sure they are certified. Personal trainers holding a certification ensure that they have been educated on essential fitness material and are approved to train individuals. There are five top nationally-accredited certification organizations for personal trainers: NSCA, ACSM, NASM, ACE and ISSA. If your personal trainer has one of these certifications, you can be sure they know the science and benefits behind exercise.

If you’re looking for more guidance, get a trainer tailored toward your goals, limitations and needs. If you’re looking to be independent and you’re not as interested in socializing, you may prefer a gym with the basic equipment.

At the end of the day, you are the one who has to be happy with your choice. Go for visits, take tours and ask questions. Eventually, you will find the right gym for you.

Explore fitness classes and programs at Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness.

Learn more from Healthy Driven Chicago:

Six ways exercise benefits your health

Five tips to start a fitness routine

Seven tips to improve your fitness

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