4 min read

Find a gym that’s the perfect fit for you!

Fitness Editor
Deborah is our fitness expert and certified trainer. She writes many of our articles about fitness. She also creates free training programs for whatever your goal may be.

How can you be sure you’ve chosen the right gym when there are so many to pick from? In this article, we break down all the factors that you should consider when trying to find a gym. 

Picking a gym from the many available options is no easy feat. And googling all of the fitness clubs in your area won’t necessarily make the decision any less complicated. That’s because every gym is slightly different, and the best one for you will depend on things like your preferences, goals, and budget. Keep reading to find out which factors to consider to make the right choice. 

Location and Proximity

The first and most important thing to consider when it comes to picking a new gym is how close or far it is from you. You’ll be more likely to go to a gym near you. If it’s too far away or the commute is too much of a hassle, then you might end up feeling like going is more of a pain than it’s worth. If you normally drive to the gym, make sure that you have plenty of room for parking.

The Perfect Gym for You

Think about exactly what you want to do at the gym. Every option is a bit different, and some won’t always have the classes or exercise equipment that you’re looking for. It’s also important to ask yourself what kind of atmosphere you prefer. Do you enjoy quiet and calm over hustle and bustle? Then you might be better off at a mini gym than at a big fitness club. 

A Well-Equipped Gym

The option you choose should have all the equipment you need to reach your athletic goals. If you’re interested in developing strength, make sure the weight room has the right tools to accommodate your needs. In addition to the usual dumbbells, there should also be racks for practicing squats and bars for pull-ups. Finally, make sure that the space is totally covered with mirrors so that you’re always able to keep an eye on your form and technique. 

Are you more focused on endurance training? Then check to see that a club has a well-equipped cardio station, with everything from treadmills to stair climbing machines.

A group of older adults work out at a gym with equipment behind them. Find a gym that's right for you, like they have.

A good gym will also have a machine- and equipment-free area where you can practice bodyweight exercises and stretching

Do you prefer to work out in a group? Then you’re better off choosing a gym with a packed class schedule. Just make sure that the classes will be available at the times that are most convenient for you

Support and Trainers

Do you perform better with a bit of guidance? Many clubs will prepare a specialized training program just for you, though usually at an extra cost. And most fitness clubs also offer the services of certified trainers if you’re interested in one-on-one training. 

Our tip: If you’re highly motivated to start working out more often, but you’re not sure what you need to do to reach your goals, our Body Check will help you figure that out. It only takes 3 minutes to complete! 

Two weight lifters, a man and a woman, make use of BCAA as they lift heavy barbells in a gym

Additional Services

Many gyms offer an array of optional services for an additional charge. Here are some of those:

  • Complimentary drinks
  • Sauna access
  • Hammam access
  • Massages
  • Daycare

Opening Hours

Opening hours can have a big impact on whether or not a gym is right for you. Some memberships may offer limited hours for a reduced overall cost. Other gyms are open 24/7, which is great for people with limited availability during normal working hours.

The Right Price

From discount gyms to premium clubs, gym pricing can vary from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars. But a cheap option isn’t necessarily a bad one. In fact, the reduced cost is usually due to the club employing a smaller staff.

Above all, only pay for what you’ll actually use. If you’re only going to run on the treadmill for an hour, then it wouldn’t make sense to sign up for an expensive package that includes spas and trainers. But if the wellness aspect is just as important as fitness for you, then you might be better off at a specialty club. Even the more expensive options often offer reduced rates and discounts to different groups like students and seniors. Always check the website or pick up the phone to discover what kind of deal you can get.  

Trial Session

Always set up a trial session or visit before signing a new contract. That way, you can find out for yourself if everything is as good as promised on the website. Many gyms offer a trial session for no extra charge

During this session, take time to evaluate the space, equipment, and additional offerings. Is everything clean and in good working condition? Are there plenty of machines available so that you don’t have to wait even during peak hours? 

Finally, take the opportunity to talk to trainers and other members. That way, you can find out if the atmosphere and clientele are the best fit for you. Even if a contract is offered at a great value, you should feel comfortable above all else

Your Subscription

Once you’ve made your choice, you’ll need to examine your contract carefully to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Minimum Membership Duration

Each gym offers different memberships. Most options require a commitment period of one or two years, but some gyms also offer shorter subscriptions. As a general rule, the longer the commitment, the better the price will be.

Temporarily Suspending Your Membership

If you can’t train for a long period of time because of external factors like illness, injury, or travel, find out if your gym will allow you to temporarily suspend your membership. What happens in most cases is that the end date of your contract will be postponed by the length of time your contract is suspended.

Pay close attention to these clauses. Different venues may accept different reasons and different justifications for temporary suspension.

Many fitness clubs will be more than happy to accommodate you, especially if you’re upfront about it. If you know you’re going on a trip when you sign your contract, give them a heads up right away. 

Cancellation and Contract Extension

Most gyms will only allow you to cancel a contract before the end date in extreme situations, like moving and long-term illness.

The amount of notice you’ll need to give will depend on the gym. If you don’t cancel your contract before it ends, it may automatically be renewed. 

Our Conclusion: How to Find a Gym

  • Search for a gym near you. 
  • Think about how far you’re willing to travel, the equipment you need, the classes you want, and how much you’re able to pay.
  • Do a free trial session to visit the gym and find out if it’s right for you.
  • Weigh the price against the services offered. 
  • Carefully evaluate a membership contract before signing.
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