Although most people buy them with the best of intentions, gym memberships often go underutilized, even unused. According to industry data, only 18 percent of members visit their health clubs on a regular basis. Why would anyone pay for something they rarely or never use? One possible explanation is that they don’t like the club they signed up for, but they can’t quit because they’re locked in a long-term contract. With that in mind, here are five things you should consider before selecting a gym.
Ever wonder how some health clubs get away with charging cheap monthly fees? More often than not, they do this by cutting their staff to the bone. By keeping what is essentially a skeleton crew, these gyms can lower their membership fees to attract cost-conscious consumers. Of course, these cutbacks invariably come at a cost. With fewer employees to run the facility, users should not expect much personal attention. And while this might be just fine for the average gym rat, the new member who wants to learn how to use the equipment may have to take a number. If you fall into that camp, it’s best to look for a place that has a full staff of fitness experts, including certified trainers, instructors, and nutritionists.
Child Care Services
As we mentioned at the outset, most folks join gyms with the best of intentions-but sometimes life gets in the way. For members with small children, finding time for exercise can be all but impossible. A facility that offers childcare services is a simple solution to this common problem. Although some high-end clubs provide free child and daycare, most will charge extra fees by the hour.
One of the biggest differences between competing clubs is their hours of operation. Some focus on the early crowd, opening long before dawn; while others cater to night owls, closing up when most folks are asleep. As a prospective member, it is important to find a facility whose hours work with your schedule. Trust us; you don’t need another excuse for not working out! A gym that has hours you have to rush to make pretty much guarantees you’ll rarely work up a sweat.
Even when members follow the rules and clean the equipment after each use, health clubs are sweaty places. If the gym does not have a dedicated, industrious cleaning staff, the place could get gross in a jiffy. On your initial visit, make sure you take a tour of the entire facility. Are there people cleaning up, mopping, and washing? If you don’t see a single member of the cleanup crew on a 20 or 30-minute visit, odds are they don’t make cleanliness a priority.
One fairly consistent difference between low and high-priced facilities is that the former will not offer many amenities in the locker room. More often than not, these gender-specific spaces will contain lockers and a bathroom. But in a higher-end gym, odds are there will be showers, a sauna, maybe even a Jacuzzi in the locker room. So if you want to relax a bit before or after your workout, you might consider a club with a full-service locker room.
Use these simple suggestions to find a great club that meets all of your needs