How to Choose a Health Club

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Choosing a health club for your exercise needs can be complicated. Some cities don’t have many health clubs to choose from, while others seem to have one on every corner. Whether it’s a hoity-toity spa facility or a transformed auto garage shop with fitness equipment doesn’t matter. What’s important is that you feel comfortable and you use it.

Here are some pointers to help you decide which health club to join:

  • Location! Location! Location!: If you're not near the gym, you're less likely to use it. Consider where you work. It’s possible that a location near your office may be more convenient than near your home. Stop in after work, do your workout, leave refreshed, and possibly miss all the traffic.

  • Cost: Consider your budget. If you're stressing about making payments, the health benefits are lessened. Invest in one that suits your checkbook. Prices range from $300 to $3,000 a year. Calculate benefits in your cost. For example, if childcare is included, you can save money in the long run.

    Just because a gym is cheap doesn’t mean that it’s no good, nor is an expensive one necessarily good. Try a one-week free trial to size it up.

  • Question the staff: Are they friendly? Knowledgeable? It helps to have a prepared list of questions so you don’t forget anything.

  • Question the members: The best way to find out the real scoop on a gym is to talk to the current members. They usually love to gossip to potential members. Locker rooms are great for this camaraderie.

  • Try out the equipment: Make sure you're comfortable using the equipment. Check out the quality. If most of the pieces are draped with “Out of order” signs, that’s not a good sign.

  • Check limitations: Several gyms limit the time you spend on equipment, or they limit towels, hours, and so on. Be sure that your gym doesn’t implement too many limitations.

  • Rate the cleanliness: Gyms are breeding grounds for germs. Make sure the place is kept up. Check the locker rooms, showers, and rest rooms. Do they regularly wipe down the equipment and vacuum?

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