Finding a gym can be relatively easy. After all, there are plenty of them around. The real challenge lies in finding the gym that will maximise your chances of getting the results you’re after. The decision to join a gym and improve your fitness is a significant investment in your time and money. You should therefore be clear on what your personal needs are and take the time to find the perfect gym for you. Making the right decision requires you to be clear on what you’re trying to achieve. You must also understand how going to a gym is going to fit in with your fitness, lifestyle, social and financial needs.
Your Fitness Needs
Understanding your fitness needs and goals is essential in finding the best gym for you. Each gym can focus on different equipment and fitness programs. Ensure the one you choose has the facilities and services you need to reach your goals. To find a gym that meets your fitness needs, keep the following in mind:
- Look for variety in the type of services they have to keep your body challenged and reduce repetition.
- Visit the gym at the time you’re likely to attend. Check to see whether there is enough equipment for the number of people training. There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to get onto the equipment you want to use when you want to use it.
- Don’t be afraid to ask if you can get a free visit to try the facilities yourself before committing to join.
- Decide whether you want to attend group training classes. Not all gyms provide these programs and they only operate at certain times. Ensure you get a timetable of classes to ensure the ones you want to attend are available at suitable times.
- Find out if the gym has instructors available during the hours you will be going to the gym to help you use the equipment properly and to build a fitness program. Full service gyms usually do this really well whilst some of the lower cost and 24/7 access gyms don’t provide the same level of support.
Your Social Needs
Gyms can be a great place to meet people or catch up with friends. Going to the gym with friends is a great way to stay motivated. It’s important that you find a gym that you are comfortable attending and is geared towards attracting other members with fitness goals similar to yours. If you’re self-conscious about your physical appearance, you may not feel comfortable going to a gym focused on weight training as they will attract the more hard core trainers. For females, you may prefer to go to a women’s only gym. Whatever your personal situation, finding a gym with people that have similar interests and fitness goals will make it a place where you are comfortable and look forward to going.
The amenities in or near the gym can also help you get more enjoyment from your fitness experience. Nearby café’s selling healthy food and drinks can be a great way to finish a workout with friends. It can also be a way to reward yourself for all the hard work you’re putting in!
Your Lifestyle Needs
Another important thing to consider is how and when you plan on using the gym. The best gym for you will minimise any negative impacts on your desired lifestyle. To find a gym that meets your lifestyle needs, consider the following:
- Decide what times you are likely to want to train. If you want to go before 6am or after 10pm, you will likely need to consider a 24/7 gym. Whilst these gyms are open during those hours, they often aren’t staffed.
- Choosing the location of your gym can be vital. Convenience will play a large part in your ability to stay motivated and location is a huge factor. If you work close to home (or at home), then finding a location is relatively easy. If you work more than 20 mins from home, you should probably look at a gym that provides access to multiple locations. Where this isn’t an option, find a gym close to home if you train on weekends or close to work if you train during lunch.
- Consider whether your gym needs to have change/shower facilities. This can be important if you train before work or during your lunch break. If personal privacy is important to you, check the layout of the change facilities as some are ‘open plan’.
- Some gyms offer short term child minding services which can be great for parents with young children. Just be careful to get all the details around times, cancellations, immunisations, etc.
Finding the best gym that compliments your lifestyle will put you well on the way to reaching your goals.
Your Financial Needs
Joining a gym can be an expensive exercise (no pun intended) but the real investment is in your precious time. Don’t waste that time by joining the cheapest gym if it doesn’t suit your needs. Money and time are only wasted when you don’t get value. Your decision to join a gym is because you see value in reaching your goals. The money and time will be well spent if you get what you want. To find the best gym for your financial needs, consider the following:
- NEVER choose a gym based purely on a ‘deal’. Select the right gym first, then try to get a deal at that gym. Don’t do it the other way around.
- Don’t pay for ‘bells and whistles’ if you don’t need them or won’t use them. Likewise, if the gym doesn’t have what you need it’s a waste of your money no matter how ‘cheap’ it seems.
- Make sure you’re clear on what all the charges are before you make your decision. There are often joining fees, costs for getting a 24/7 access pass, costs for being able to use multiple locations, etc.
- Many gyms don’t require you to sign a fixed term contract but it is usually cheaper to do so. If you are committed and find the best gym for you, signing on for 12 months isn’t an issue.
- If you’re covered by private health insurance, find out if your health fund has any gym discounts available to their members. You may also be eligible to claim some of your gym costs on your health insurance. Read our blog on private health insurance discounts for gyms.
A gym is an important partner is helping you achieve your health and well-being goals. Don’t set yourself up to fail by partnering with the wrong one. By finding the best gym for your needs, you’ll be taking a hugely important step in reaching your fitness goals. To find the ones closest to you and how to contact them, enter your address or suburb in our search page. We have details on more than 2,500 gyms across Australia so it’s easy (and free) to suss out the best one for you.