Tara's Blog

Finding The Right Gym For You

I have been to my share of gyms! It can often be very intimidating when you are trying to find the right gym for you. I thought you all might benefit by knowing what questions I ask when I am looking for a gym membership. Remember, this is an investment in your health and in your future. Make an informed decision!

Equipment & Programs

  • What type of cardiovascular and resistance equipment do you have?
    • Make sure they have what you want – if they don’t, LEAVE. You don’t have to settle!
  • What exercise classes do you offer?
    • This is huge for me, I thrive when I workout in groups as I am always pushed to the next level by the person next to me.
  • What qualifications do you require your class instructors to have?
    • You can get hurt if the instructors aren’t qualified and they don’t know proper form/techniques.
  • Do you have personal trainers? What type of background and certification do you require your personal trainers to have?
    • Most people hit a point in their fitness when they are going to have to switch it up for results. It is best to get this through one-on-one service like a personal trainer or coach.
  • Do you offer any sports instruction?
    • Some gym have teams – basketball, volleyball, triathlon – this could offer a different variety then most exercise classes.
  • Do you have specialized programs for health conditions (ie weight loss, better your internal age)?
    • Some gyms have become very creative to get customers engaged.  A local gym by me, Fitness Incentive, http://www.fitnessincentive.com/ has done an excellent job with specialized group programs to help people get fit.
  • Do you have specialized programs for specific age groups (e.g., children, adolescents, seniors)?
    • Many gyms carter to the entire family so all can be active under one roof. This is great if you have a family. If you don’t have a family and want only to be around grownups – you should know before you put down your credit card.
  • Do you have child care?
    • A lot of gyms are beginning to offer childcare for an additional fee, as low as $10 for 2 hours or up to $30ish!
  • What other services and amenities do you offer?
    • Gyms are also trying to become a one stop shop…from a café, hair salon, spa, outdoor pools.

Assessments & Orientation

  • Do you offer fitness assessments? Most gyms do this, as it also helps them gain clients for personal training. Ask what it includes.
    • This shouldn’t be an orientation, it should give you a understanding of your current fitness level. Also see how much it would cost to do another fitness assessment in 6 months. So you can see how you have improved.
  • Do you offer personalized exercise programs?
    • Most gyms do this through personal training, but others have generic plans you can follow.
  • Do you provide new members with an orientation and instruction on using the equipment?
    • If they don’t do this, LEAVE, all gyms should! Even if you are a gym rat, I suggest taking the orientation and instruction because it does help familiarize yourself with the gym and people. The more comfortable you are the gym, the more inclined you will be to go.


  • Is your staff trained in first aid and CPR?
    • Make sure they are competent; if you are unsure ask to see the certificates.
  • Do you have automated external defibrillators (AEDs) on site? (These are used to help people suffering from a heart attack.)
    • You should be safe, especially if you are just starting to workout and if you are currently under the supervision of a doctor.

Contracts & Membership

  • Do you have various member options?
    • Some gyms have couple, friends, family discounts and off-peak hours which could save quite a few dollars.
  • Are there any sign-up specials?
    • If you have spent a good amount of time with the sales person, don’t be afraid to ask for specials. You could save a few hundred dollars if you wait a week or if you just missed a special see if the GM will honor it. The gym wants your membership!
  • What is the monthly membership fee? What does it include?
    • Know what you are being charged on a monthly basis. Also, if there is additional cost for towels, yoga, reformers or certain classes.
  • Is there an initiation fee?
    • I hate this fee, you can almost always talk this number down! If they don’t take it lower walk out and tell them to call you when it is lower. I bet 8/10 times you will get a call within a week saying there is a $0 initiation fee for the next week ONLY!
  • How long is the membership term? (Monthly? Yearly? Multi-Year?)
    • My advice only go with month to month. If you are paying a bill month to month you will be more inclines to use the membership. Buying a membership for the entire year, “out of sight, out of mind.”
  • Do you offer a grace period after signing in which I can cancel my membership?
    • You should be able to try the gym, classes and any other amenities you want to for specific time to see if the gym is the right fit for you!


Now that you have every question possible for the salesperson, now it is time to ask yourself a few things!

  • Is the club location convenient? Is the club open when you want to use it? Remember you don’t want this to be an excuse later on!
  • Is the staff friendly? Helpful? Knowledgeable? Are there enough staff members on site?
  • Do staff members have the appropriate education and certifications for their positions (especially personal trainers and class instructors)?
  • Is the facility clean? 
I am a stickler for this one – there are so many germs in a gym, it grosses me out!
  • Is the equipment in working order or do you see a lot of “out of order” signs?
  • Does the club have the types of cardiovascular or resistance equipment you want to use? Is there enough variety?
  • Does the club offer the classes, activities, sports, or programs you are interested in? Is the schedule convenient for you?
  • Are people waiting in lines to use the equipment? Are classes crowded? 
At my current gym I have to sign up 26hrs before a spin class to get a bike. Most of the times when I try to sign up it is already full in 2 minutes!
  • Does there seem to be enough parking?
  • What do you think of the ambience? Do you like the music? The people? The feel?
  • Do you feel pressured to sign a contract?
  • Do you like the way the club conducts business? 
Are you comfortable with the fees, payment plan, and contract?
  • Would you feel comfortable exercising at this club?

Just For Today, try something new at your gym!

Be Well,


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