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Choosing a Gym or Fitness Centre

Fitness Centres and gyms

A key to successful weight loss is exercise.

For some of us, joining a fitness centre can provide the knowledge, equipment, motivation, variation and atmosphere we need to make regular exercise a part of our life.

But fitness centres aren't for everyone and not all are equal. This article explores the pros and cons of fitness centres and provides some considerations for assessing them.

The benefits of joining a fitness centre

For some people, joining a fitness centre can be the spark that ignites a life long love of exercise and in doing so improves there life immeasurably.

Some of the many benefits of joining a fitness centre are that they provide:

  • Access to good quality exercise equipment
  • Access to qualified support staff who can help you plan and achieve your goals
  • Access to a large variety of equipment and exercise types
  • Opportunities to make new friends
  • Opportunities for us to learn more about exercise, nutrition, healthy living and ourselves
  • A motivational atmosphere
  • A comfortable and safe exercise environment
  • Opportunities to formalize our exercise routine so that it becomes a habit

The drawbacks of joining a fitness centre

For some people, joining a fitness centre is not the answer.

Here are some potential drawbacks of joining a fitness centre:

  • They require you to exercise "in public" which some of us are embarrassed to do
  • They require us to exercise regularly to get good value from our membership
  • They can be intimidating to some, particularly those new to exercise
  • They are often very busy at popular times limiting access to some pieces of equipment
  • They can be expensive
  • They have a culture of their own which some people don't feel comfortable in
  • Just joining a fitness centre is not enough, you actually have to go there and workout
  • Despite the variety of equipment and exercise types available, some people still find fitness centre exercise boring
  • Paying good money for a membership in itself won't likely be enough to keep us motivated
  • They're not all the same, some are better than others

For most of us many of these negatives can be overcome relatively easily.

The keys to overcoming them is to give fitness centres a 'fair go' in terms of our commitment to them and getting into a routine as quickly as possible.

For example, if we are a little shy or embarrassed about our unfamiliarity with exercise, our size and our lack of the latest gym fashion or whatever, most of these can be overcome by sticking to our exercise routine for a few months.

By this time, we'll have made some new friends, at least to say hello to, will be more comfortable with the equipment and how to use it and will have started to notice a difference in our fitness level, weight or both and will get kudos from ourselves and those around us for it.

Things to consider to make an informed choice

The things to consider in order to make an informed choice about joining a fitness centre and which fitness centre to join fall into two categories, personal considerations and fitness centre considerations.

Personal Considerations

With regards to personal considerations we might consider asking ourselves:

  • What are our fitness or weight loss goals?
  • How motivated are we to exercise regularly and stick to it?
  • Can we afford to join a fitness centre?
  • How important is our health and losing weight to us?
  • What are our other exercise options?
  • Will embarrassment be a barrier to us sticking to exercising in a fitness centre?
  • What times of the day do we want to be able to exercise?
  • How often do we want to exercise and is this realistic?
  • Will I get bored exercising in a fitness centre?

A good idea is to consider each of these and decide which is going to be your biggest barrier to sticking with it.

If for example, you decide that exercising in public is going to be your biggest barrier, you can plan to workout at times when there aren't many other people at the gym, such as early or mid-morning, early to mid-afternoon or later in the evening.

Fitness Centre considerations

With regards to these, it is likely that some of the personal considerations we've thought about will be relevant here and help us choose the right fitness centre for us.

Here are the most common considerations that will help you decide which fitness centre to join, once you've decided that fitness centres in general are for you:

  • Is the location of the fitness centre convenient?
  • Do their opening hours suit you?
  • What is the makeup of most of the clientele (e.g. all women, mixed, fitness and weight loss interested or body builders, younger or older, etc)?
  • Is there enough equipment and equipment of the right type for you?
  • Are there showers, hairdryers, free parking, lockers, etc?
  • What sort of classes do they offer, e.g. Yoga, Pilates, boxercise, etc?
  • Are there different types of memberships available and if so, what do each cover?
  • Are there child care facilities available?
  • Is there a pool for swimming and water aerobics classes?
  • Is the equipment fairly new and in good condition?
  • What are the rules (e.g. toweling down equipment after use)?
  • Is there a water fountain available?
  • Do class timetables suit your needs?
  • Are there time limits for equipment at busy times?
  • How often will I get a fitness assessment?
  • Are there personal trainers available if I want one?
  • Are the staff friendly and helpful?
  • How closely will I be monitored initially?
  • How many members are there and how long has the centre been in business?
  • Can I freeze or transfer your membership?
  • Are discounts available for members who want to train in off-peak times?
  • What insurance cover does the centre have in case you are involved in an accident?
  • Does the centre offer a variety of payment options?
  • What types of personal consulting services are available (e.g. are there nutrition consultants)?
  • Is the facility equipped to handle health and other emergencies?
  • Can I have a one-week complimentary pass?
  • Can I workout as a casual member for a while paying for each visit?
  • Are there signs or poster near the equipment that explain how to use it?
  • Is the facility kept at a comfortable temperature, and does it have good air circulation, either through the use of fans or some other kind of air circulating system?
  • Does the facility belong to a professional association?
  • Does the facility have a resident dietitian who can prepare diets for you?
  • Am I comfortable here?

Conclusion

For some people, joining a fitness centre can be the spark that ignites a life long love of exercise and in doing so improves there life immeasurably.

For some of us, joining a fitness centre can provide the knowledge, equipment, motivation, variation and atmosphere we need to make exercise a part of our daily life.

But fitness centres don't suit everyone and not all fitness centres are equal. This article explored some of the major pros and cons of joining a fitness centre and provided some considerations for assessing them should you choose to join one.

As with most things in life, whether or not joining a fitness centre and which fitness centre is right for you is a very personal thing.

We hope that the above has provided you with some useful information that will help you make informed decisions about your daily exercise and in doing so will help you take one step closer to becoming a happier, healthier you.

Good luck and thanks for visiting weightloss.com.au.

Copyright Ultimate Weightloss.

This article was written by Scott Haywood.

Scott is the editor of weightloss.com.au. Scott has developed an expertise in fitness and nutrition, and their roles in weight loss, which led him to launch weightloss.com.au in 2005. Today, weightloss.com.au provides weight loss and fitness information, including hundreds of healthy recipes, weight loss tools and tips, articles, and more, to millions of people around the world, helping them to lead happier, healthier, lives.

You can follow Scott on Google+ for more interesting articles.

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