Disclaimer: I am not a personal trainer or exercise science expert. Everything is just my opinion. More here
We’re going way back to the beginning, before you even start working out.
You can read more about how to start that here.
Now unless you’re extremely lucky and wealthy with your own home gym, you’re going to have to go out and pick a gym.
But what do you need to consider as a beginner joining a gym? There’s so many different aspects to a good gym, and preferences vary. So we’re going to take it one step at a time to help you figure out the best fitness fit for you.
Number of people
This kind of depends on your goals. Do you want other people to witness your gains? Wanna check out hot people you probably won’t see again? Then you’ll probably be looking for a more popular gym.
If you’re like Evan and me, you care more about having access to almost all the equipment all the time without tons of other people around.
The gym we picked here in Albuquerque, Powerflex is rarely crowded. It’s really awesome. We see the same people almost everyday. For us it works really well.
Also, if your gym is empty a lot, you have more time to take photos for Instagram haha.
One of my friends really cared about the newness of the equipment at her gym. If this matters to you, then definitely pay attention to it.
Our gym has equipment that is a little bit older, but everything works well. No broken equipment. But, we’re pretty minimalistic in what we want.
If the gym is big, you’ll want to check how many of the same machines there are. If there’s only one of a popular machine or weight set, it’ll probably be taken when the gym is busy, which is a pain.
There’s only one regular squat rack at our gym, which is fine because there’s usually not many people, but can be annoying when it’s in use.
If you’re not super social, it probably doesn’t matter too much to you. I generally don’t interact with staff that often, but as with any job, some people are much nicer to be around than others.
At my school gym, it was just a bunch of college students who talked amongst each other. Didn’t affect me or my workout. The employees at our current gym are friendly, organized, and seem on top of it.
Besides the people who work at the front desk, you may also want to pay attention to the personal trainers. At my school gym there weren’t too many and they kept to themselves and their clients.
At the last apartment gym, several of the personal trainers were ridiculously annoying. One of them in particular was loud and would spread out all of his stuff over half the machines and benches. I just didn’t want to go to the gym when he was there.
The personal trainers at our current gym are very nice, don’t use the whole gym at once, and have conversations with non-clients.
General Atmosphere and Vibe
This point is important.
It’s one of those things you just know. You may not be able to put it into words, but you can tell if it feels right. If you want to be social and make friends, but the gym is full of people on cellphones, it’s probably not your best match.
A few aspects to look at to figure out the atmosphere are: age range, number of people taking selfies, gender ratio, if there’s any obnoxious shirtless dudes, ya know.
When I first started working out, I was much more comfortable if there were plenty of other women lifting. Now it doesn’t really matter to me who else is around. But, as a beginner gymmer, when I used to be more self-conscious about it, I would’ve preferred a more equal gender ratio. I even developed a research portfolio titled “Gender Differences in Interpersonal Experiences at the Gym” (If you’re a nerd and feel like reading it, email me and I’ll add it to the resource library).
For all you cute and canny people, price is extremely important right?
Gyms have all sorts of different plans. The one we currently have is just $30 a month, no cancellation fee. It’s pretty cost-effective and simple. Other gym plans tend to be a little more complicated. They’re generally based the length of time you sign up for and often have cancellation and enroll fees. Bigger gyms may have different memberships options, which include things like classes.
Our gym doesn’t have AC.
You really should look into things like that, to make sure the gym offers you everything you need for a successful workout. We get really warm whether there’s AC or not, and there’s fans, so it doesn’t really bother us. Considering how low the price is, it’s definitely worth it to go without AC. It’s just something I assumed all gyms had.
Ours also has tanning beds, showers, lockers, and a little store area with clothes and drinks. Nothing too fancy, but we enjoy that. One of the first gyms I went to had free fresh fruit and coffee everyday. Granted this was in Carmel and meant for rich retired people, but it was a nice touch.
Again, we don’t need much to work out, but we’re aware that y’all might want a bit extra to help you get into the flow of gymming.
Hope this helps you in your search for a gym! Realistically, there probably won’t be a gym that provides you with everything you want for a low price, so ranking these points from most to least important might help you determine what matters most to you and help you make a decision.
What is essential for you to have a great workout?
If you already have a gym, what factors made you choose it?