How To Choose A Gym

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Does the free weight section of the gym make your heart pound just thinking about it? Are you new to working out all together? Never fear! There are certified, knowledgeable people that can help you. You just have to find the right one for YOU!

Finding a Gym or Personal Trainer that you click with is not an easy task! You will not only rely on this person to help you reach your goals, but to motivate you when you are at your lowest, to encourage with out discouraging and to celebrate your successes with. Don't just call a gym and sign up with the first person they offer - here are a few tips for making sure this relationship is beneficial for both parties involved.

1. Find a Gym - If you don't already have a gym, you definitely need to find one! If you do, you can skip this section. You will need to determine what type of gym you are interested in spending at least 5 hours of your week, each week in. There are a few types of gyms that offer personal training:

  • The Chain Gym (Bally's, LA Fitness, Anytime, Gold's, etc) - These gyms are typically lower in price and have pools, aerobics classes, childcare and plenty of people for you to make friends with. 
  • The Athletic Club - These are typically full-service facilities. Want to be treated like a rock star? At these, you just might! They typically boast spas, cafes, and host a myriad of sports tournaments like tennis, swimming, racquetball and more. 
  • The Personal Training Gym - Do you have a gym that specializes only in personal training in your area? The trainers at these gyms tend to be more experienced as they have to have their own clientele to start training - they do not have a pool of interested clients waiting in line at the front desk. Beware: MOST personal training specific gyms require that an individual work out ONLY with their trainer during their time in the gym. You will likely need an additional gym membership if you are not working out with your trainer four to six times per week.

2. Observe the Staff & Trainers at Your Gym - Most all health clubs offer a free pass to there facility. Any pass less than 7 days is not much good to you. You will need a full 7 days to try out any facility, you want to visit offten at different time of the day. Once you have picked a gym, observe the staff & trainers. Do they pay attention to their clients? Is the staff helpful and friendly? Does one trainer's style of coaching seem to be more motivating to you than others? Are they playing on their cell phone the entire session and leaving their client? Are they simply taking the client through exercises utilizing machines? Are the workouts something that you would be excited to try? Do they look different from client to client? Start to develop an opinion on the trainer that you think may work best with you - you are both their to get results for YOU! Remember that!

3. Schedule a Consultation - Now that you have a trainer in mind, schedule a consultation with one. Here, you will likely go through a "free" workout and discuss pricing options. Here are some questions and/or items to discuss with your potential trainer: 

  • Availability - What times can they make? Does that work with your schedule? What happens if you are late? What is their cancellation policy? Do they train more than one client at a time?
  • Goals - Have a specific weight loss target? An event that you want to be in prime shape for? Tell them! They MUST know prior to starting so they can structure your workouts to meet these goals. 
  • Medical Conditions - Do you have a medical condition that may impede your training? Back injury? Knee injury? Shortness of breath? You MUST disclose this information or you run the risk of further injuring yourself and putting your health at risk. If your trainer DOES NOT ask about this, RUN FAR, FAR AWAY!!
  • Workouts - If you enjoy a certain type of workout, ie. circuit training, tell them! Trust me, as a trainer, we would much rather take you through an exercise you enjoy vs. one that you can't wait to end. Be realistic about your current abilities. Know your comfort level with weights and cardio machines and don't be afraid to suggest that you need a lighter or even heavier weight. 
  • Pricing - This can definitely stun quite a few people! Gyms often take a hefty percentage of the monies made by personal trainers. Don't run as soon as you hear the price - really think about what is best for your life goals and your wallet. Do you need to cut back in another area of your life to afford the personal trainer? Check into packages - it's often much less expensive to purchase a larger amount of sessions. Your gym may also offer a payment plan. 
  • Group Training - All of this making your heart pound? No problem! Perhaps your trainer of choice is willing to train you and a friend - this is often cheaper and a buddy is a good support system. (Watch out though. this can also be a detriment to your workout at times.) The trainer may also host their own larger training classes at night or on a weekend - it can't hurt to ask.
© Crossbridge fitness, LLC 2014