We see it on a daily basis, people who walk through our doors with a weary yet determined look on their face to get the information they want about the gym. Many times we are not the first stop in their quest to find the perfect gym. The determination is welcome, everyone should hunt for the best fit for them when it comes to fitness and martial arts classes. The weariness comes from the longwinded, and only partially creative sales pitches they have heard from other gyms.
Recently we had a new client come through the door that had such horror stories I thought we should share some tips and tricks to navigate the new gym hunt. In particular what you should look for in a gym that close to home and what you should avoid.
This question is a bit hard to answer with complete detail since I don’t know you (but hopefully I will soon) and can’t give specific info for your situation. However, this list should help just about anyone who wants a gym in near proximity to them that will fit their needs and personality.
Great Reviews: With Google, Facebook, Yelp, Bing, and so many other sites offering reviews now there is no need to walk into a gym that others have bombarded with negative reviews. The simplest ways to find out about a business’s reviews is to search them out on Google. Just Type in the gym's name and boom you should see lots of information pop up about them. It should look something like the picture below.
Upfront Pricing and Membership Agreements: This is a big one! You want to make sure that the pricing and membership agreement you are signing up for is clear, well written, and favorable. Get everything in writing, make sure to ask clear questions about pricing and what’s included in that, and most of all read over the cancelation policy. You don’t want to go and cancel only to find out that you have a 2-year contract. Look for agreements that give you an easy straight forward way to cancel without ridiculous waiting periods (1-2 years).
Friendly Staff and Members: The staff of a gym sets the tone for the members. If the staff are un-friendly then chances are your not going to get along with the members either. With that said, everyone has a bad day, so feel out the environment. Try talking with some of the members, meet all the staff that’s at the gym while your there and generally get a taste for the atmosphere. Is everyone friendly? Are the staff helpful?
Programming That Fits You: Each person is different with diverse likes, abilities, backgrounds, and injuries. All of those factors will go into what type of programming you want to look for in a gym. If you want a gym with a stellar weight room make sure you go in person and check out the equipment first, check the hours, see how clean it is and so on. If you are more interested in Martial Arts, try taking a class, most gyms offer a free class (We offer a 7-day trial) to see if it fits you. Check and see if the class and open gym times work for your schedule, asses if the instructors are competent, make sure the class fits your respective level in the subject. If you are not sure what you’re looking for as far as programming, take some time to try different things. As I mentioned most gyms have a free trial class or week. If not they will generally let you pay a per class fee. Try some different programs out, then stick with what you loved.
There is no easy answer to figuring out if a particular gym will work for you or not. The best advice I can give you as far as things to stay away from are as follows.
Long Term Contracts: It's never a good idea to sign a long term contract, it's just bad, Don't Do It. There are too many gyms of various types that don't require contracts. IF a gym requires this...Run!
Unfriendly: This one is pretty straight forward. Most people I see get into this bind think that the environment doesn't matter, they are just there to workout not make friends. Which is a backward way of approaching fitness. It's been proven over and over individuals who train with a friend or a larger community are more successful than those who don't. Find a gym that you can at least enjoy the people you are next to.
Unhelpful: This is rampant, unfortunately, many times this doesn't show until you have signed on the dotted line. Many gyms will do their best until you are committed for the long term and then drop you like a bad habit. This goes hand and hand with not signing the longterm contract.
If you don't have to stay, gym owners will work harder to keep you. If they are friendly they will enjoy it and you will enjoy the relationships you build over time. Look at the programming, meet the trainers, talk with the owners, and generally do your homework to see if a gym is a right fit for you.
Now onto our shameless plug. If you are looking for a gym that a bit different and want a community that loves fitness and enjoys each other, give us a try here at Edge Fitness LLC.
We offer a wide variety of fitness and martial arts classes as well as personal training. I've added a few links that might help you figure out if we are a good fit for you. The best method though is to take advantage of our 7-day trial. It's free, fun, and easy. No strings, just come in and try classes for 7-days, we promise you won't regret it!