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Old 10-20-2011, 10:38 AM
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Pushpin How To Join the Right Gym

I liked this article, especially for the fact that I am still deciding if I want to join a gym, or if I should just invest in a treadmill. Took this directly off of weight watchers.com

Selecting a gym can be time-consuming at best, and downright intimidating at worst. We've got some tips that can help you find a good match.


You're ready to boost your exercise regime by getting a gym membership, but how do you find a club that's right for you? Before you ever set foot on a treadmill, you may have to navigate a sea of aggressive salespeople and a ridiculously complex fee structure.

But the benefits of gym membership are worth it, if you've chosen well. Arm yourself with these tips before you sign on the dotted line.

Find a philosophy that mirrors yours.
Look for a club with a genuine interest in helping you achieve your health and fitness goals over the long term. Beware of the money mill, grind 'em in, grind 'em out facilities that lose interest in you the minute you've signed up and paid for a year.

Trust your instincts: If it seems like the salesperson is only interested in getting your signature on a contract, then you may want to look elsewhere. Go to several clubs. Take your time. Ask questions. Get recommendations from friends. But don't make a decision until you've looked at all of your options.
Pay attention to the club atmosphere.
Although you don't need to become best buddies with your fellow exercisers, it's important that you feel at ease with the gym environment and its clientele. Perhaps loud techno music and hordes of bespandexed aerobics bunnies aren't your cup of tea. Find a club that matches your personality and comfort level. Feeling like the odd one out every time you hit the gym won't help you get there on a tough day.
Take note of the equipment.
Many gyms offer all kinds of state-of-the-art equipment to woo you through the door. Great machines can certainly help you achieve your fitness goals, but try to look past all the flash and sparkle. At the end of the day, even simple equipment such as a barbell and bench can offer fitness and health benefits if properly used.
Ask about the trainers.
If you decide to hire a trainer, look for these things: a bachelor's degree in exercise science or a related health-science discipline, experience, and, minimally, a certification from an internationally recognized organization like the American College of Sports Medicine, National Strength and Conditioning Association, or the American Council on Exercise.
Inquire about cleaning policies.
No, sweaty machines are not a given. And even if it doesn't gross you out, bear in mind that filthy equipment can carry contagious skin fungi. Ask about the club's cleaning regimen, and always remember to protect yourself by wearing a shirt and carrying a towel.
Visit at peak hours.
Check out a club during the times you plan to attend. If you're a potential "rush hour" member, pay a visit between 4 and 8 p.m. Are all the machines occupied, with a waiting list to boot? If you're interested in classes, see if they're packed to the hilt. Do they require advance signup? If so, can you deal with that?
Calculate the cost.
Sticker prices can range anywhere from $10 a month for a recreation center to $150 a month or more for a fancier club. Get what you pay for: Make the club justify its price tag. Does the club satisfy your needs? Does it offer amenities like child care, lockers, showers and towel service? Also, watch out for extraneous "initiation" or "activation" fees, some of which can be negotiated up or down depending on how long you commit to the club.
Read the fine print.
Many clubs will promise you a lower rate if you lock into a contract, but this also limits your flexibility in switching gyms if the need arises. You may want to pay a bit more for a no-strings-attached, one-month membership; if you like it, then commit to a contract. Find out if there's a cancellation fee if you need to break the contract. But make sure you're crystal clear on the terms of the membership and contract before you commit.
Try before you buy
According to exercise physiologist Joe Cannon, MS, CSCS, "Never plunk down your hard earned money on a health club before you've had a chance to kick the tires. While your initial tour of the facility may seem impressive, you will not know the real feel of the club until you've had a chance to use it for yourself." Ask for trial workout passes. Work out at the times you plan to regularly attend so that you can feel out the atmosphere. Talk to current members. Ask them about their experiences with the staff and other members.
Find out about the freeze.
Some clubs will freeze your membership if you have to leave town for an extended period. Some large chains will not do so because they assume you can just go to any of their branches around the country. Maximize the bang for your buck and ask about a club's policy up front.

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Old 10-20-2011, 01:31 PM
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Good Information!

I used to have a gym membership before I retired. Since the gym was on my route from work, I just stopped by on my commute home. Super easy. Fast forward to retirement---we live in the country and it is quite a drive to the gym; not only did it take effort but also gas for the car to make that long trip. For me, it became more time and money-efficient to buy an exercise bike and treadmill. We put them in the basement in front of a tv. I can pop down there whenever--especially when there is a tv program I want to watch.

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Old 10-20-2011, 02:39 PM
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we are thinking of investing in a treadmill after our trial at the gym! If not, bfs mom is wanting to get rid of her treadmill and aked us if we wanted it, I want to see how it runs first before we haul it all the way back to our house.

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Old 10-21-2011, 01:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ldequatro View Post
we are thinking of investing in a treadmill after our trial at the gym! If not, bfs mom is wanting to get rid of her treadmill and aked us if we wanted it, I want to see how it runs first before we haul it all the way back to our house.

Yes, definitely try it first. I bought my first one many, many years ago. While it served the purpose (I used it so much that I wore out the motor and had to buy a new motor), it was not very smooth running, was noisy, and was difficult to change the incline and speed. Last year I bought a new one with my saved "allowance"; while it costed a little more, it runs so smooth, sounds quiet, and is easy to adjust the speed and incline. I love it! Which makes me more apt to use it. Being more "mature" and not very athletic, inside walking on the treadmill is safer for me especially in our winters.

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