So you have a family event coming up in the next few months. Thanks to your sedentary lifestyle, that expanding waistline wouldn’t stop expanding. Not to forget that entire tub of chocolate ice cream you devoured overnight while watching Netflix, that is now firmly lodged as fat somewhere in your abdomen or thigh or is it the bottom? Are you now freaking out thinking about the innumerable body shamming comments and weight loss advice that are going to be targeted at you by the ‘oh so helpful’ aunties and uncles at the wedding?
After pondering over your problem, you decide that the best way to lose all that stubborn fat would be by joining the gym. And let us tell you that choosing the right gym for yourself is as important as choosing the right sauce for your Subway sandwich. You might either devour it whole or discard it midway depending on the sauce.
The following are the 10 things to keep in mind before joining a gym.
The cost of memberships in good gyms can be quite pricey. Sometimes they may throw in a couple of extra services and expect you to pay more for them, irrespective of the fact whether you use them or not. At the end of the day, every gym is a running business and every staff there is a salesperson. They are forced to sell you their most expensive plans to increase their profits. But you can be smart here and not always fall into the trap.
If they insist on a one-year membership, then go for a minimum of one like 3 months. Chances are you might not like the gym or you might hate gyming and decide to take up running. Don’t take up additional benefits like a steam room, yoga or aerobics if you aren’t interested. Keep an eye out for discounts season when the gym lowers its membership fees. Sometimes negotiation works too, so don’t be shy to negotiate.
The location of the gym is very important. Make sure it is close to your home or office so that it is easily accessible. Don’t ever join a gym that is far away from your place just because it is popular. Initially, it might seem fun, but as time goes by you will lose the drive to travel so far for a workout.
Before you enrol check out the gym during its peak time and also at a time you are most likely to visit for your workout. If there are too many members, then you might have to spend a long time waiting for your turn to use specific equipment. If you are a woman and not comfortable working out amidst men, then find out if your gym has a specific women hour only.
The most important aspect of any gym is its equipment. Even before you take up the membership, check out if there is enough equipment. Are there enough treadmills and bikes to support a small crowd during peak hours? Are there enough dumbbells and floor mats if you are going to opt for some strength training or abs workout? Apart from the numbers, check the quality of the equipment too. If they are too old and falling apart, then time to check the next gym on your list.
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Gyms nowadays offer a lot of additional classes like yoga, aerobics, Zumba and Pilates. Some gyms come with an additional snack bar or juice station which might be quite helpful if you have missed your meal and are in desperate need of a healthy snack option. Gyms also are equipped with a play area or childcare facilities to help take care of your little ones when you are working out. Some gyms also have in-house dietitians and physiotherapists who can help customize your diet and exercise charts. Make sure to look up what additional features your gym offers and how you can use it to reap benefits.
Do you prefer working out late in the evenings after your office hours? Then it would be wise to check out the operating hours of your gym for if the gym opens early and shuts down early then it might be of no use to you. Also, find out if they are open full time during the weekends if you want to catch up on your missed workouts on the weekends. Some gyms shut down during the holiday seasons, so enquire about those too if you plan to work out on all holidays.
Cleanliness and Hygiene
Dirty bathrooms and smelly changing rooms can be quite a turn off for everyone. Gyms should regularly clean their bathrooms and changing rooms. Also, make sure that they sanitize and clean their equipment regularly. Some gyms also have spray bottles placed near the equipment so that you can wipe them down before starting your workout.
You might or might not need a personal trainer. But sometimes when you fall off the track, then it’s always nice to engage a professional trainer to help impart you some guidance. Make sure that plans for hiring a personal trainer are not very expensive. And if you choose to shell out a bomb to hire the best trainer in the gym, then make sure that he is giving you his full attention during your training session, and not monitoring three or four other people at the same time.
Well ventilated and spacious gyms immediately pep you up and keep you motivated to work out more. A deary dark gym will only want to make to leave earlier. How about the music, do they play some peppy numbers to keep your energy up? Do they have a big-screen television so that you can catch up with the news while running on the treadmill? You might be surprised how much of a difference all these make when you are working out.
A good gym should have ample parking space so that you don’t have to spend a lot of time looking for parking space, especially during peak hours.