Finding and Joining a New Gym When You Move
Finding a new gym when you move is a challenge. However, visiting and choosing a new gym also can be exciting and provide an opportunity to make a fresh fitness start. Here are tips for selecting a new gym.
Look Near Your Home or Office
One key to being fit is working out regularly. Most people won’t regularly drive more than 15 minutes to work out. Use Google Maps or a similar tool to find gyms within a 10-to-15 minute drive of either your new home or workplace.
Check Program Offerings
Check the gym’s website to see their offerings before deciding whether to visit. Not all gyms offer the same programs; you want one that features the activities you enjoy, such as yoga, swimming, racquetball, weight machines, or group classes. If you have young children, you may also choose a gym with child care.
Visit During the Time You Plan to Attend
Visit the gym during the times when you most likely would be working out. Is the gym overcrowded? Do you have to wait long for a machine or swim lane?
While you’re there, check the cleanliness and maintenance of equipment. Employees should wipe machines several times during the day, and members should be encouraged to wipe down machines after each use. Also, check whether the locker rooms provide the amenities you want.
Notice the air quality, as well. Are the airflow and temperature good? Is the gym smelly?
If possible, obtain a free pass for the gym you are considering and visit during the hours you ultimately hope to attend. Free access or a free week provides an excellent opportunity to experience the gym before committing.
Check for Reciprocity
One great gym benefit is reciprocity, which allows you to work out at gyms in other cities or different neighborhoods without having to pay an expensive guest fee. Many national chains offer reciprocity, as does the YMCA. Independent gyms also sometimes form consortiums that provide for partial or full reciprocity.
Reciprocity is helpful if you want the option to work out at lunchtime or on the weekends, but your job and home aren’t that close to each other. Reciprocity also is beneficial when you travel.
Fees, Contracts, and Payment Policies
Read the contract carefully to determine if you are committing to a long-term membership that you’ll have to pay for regardless of whether you use the gym, move away, or are injured. If you have any questions about the contract, ask. Some gyms offer no-contract options.
Also, check the fee structure to be sure it fits your budget. For example, many gyms offer the option of paying membership annually at a discounted rate rather than paying monthly. If you can pay annually, this option will be attractive.
Examine all the documents carefully to determine hidden fees, such as duplicate membership cards or participating in specific programs.
Check the Written and Unwritten Rules
Gyms have a culture. Some gyms attract those who want to socialize rather than work out, while others draw hard-core fitness buffs. You want a gym with rules that match your personality. Things like attire, talking on the phone in common areas, and more might be things for you to consider.
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