Tips on What to Look for When Joining a Gym

Joining a gym is similar to marrying; you’re not only financially committed to the gym of your choosing, but you’re also dedicating time to it. A gym, unlike your spouse, isn’t going to be upset if you don’t show up. Whether you go five times a year or five times a week, your gym is more than happy to take your money.

However, just like you would when selecting a partner, doing so while selecting a local health club can assure that you will go, be pleased, and not waste your money. It’s vital to note that not all gyms are made equal when it comes to meeting your fitness goals. Just because a gym is around the corner doesn’t imply it’s the best gym for you.

When choosing a gym, you need to be cautious if you want to maximize your gains and satisfy your fitness objectives and goals. It should feel like a second home to you, a haven of refuge and stress reduction rather than a task you drag yourself to.

You must consider your budget, how motivated you are in the atmosphere, and whether there is a network of like-minded people while looking for the perfect gym match. These are the keys to remaining motivated and making fitness a part of your daily routine.

These tips will aid you in weeding out the bad gyms and determining what to look for while joining one.


Aside from being significant for business, the location of your gym is crucial to your training routine. If the gym is 30 minutes away, you will most likely miss more sessions than you attend. The time you can devote to working out is also influenced by the time it takes you to get to and from the gym.

The best time to get to the gym is between 5 and 15 minutes. Your gym commute will be as bad as your job commute if you go beyond that.


women working out with dumbbells

This is a no-brainer, yet many of us ignore it because we assume that most gyms are open 24 hours a day. Check if the gym is open during the times and days you want to exercise.

Before You Buy, Give It a Try

Before you buy a membership, get a guest pass to the gym. Before committing, you should check out the environment, try out all of the machines, and experiment with different times to get a sense of the gym. Working out for a week can give you a decent idea if you like the place.

Take a Look at the Equipment

a woman pushing a barbel with her feet

When looking for a gym, one of the first things to look for is the type of equipment. New equipment is preferable, but check to see whether there are enough dumbbells, power racks, and benches.

Also, look at the spacing between the various pieces of equipment. Is the gym spacious, or does it appear busy and cramped? It’s not pleasant to fight for room to use the equipment, so when you do a gym tour, try out all the different equipment to see if there’s anything you’ll like or despise.

Get a Feel for the Environment

Do you want to lift a ridiculous amount of weight when you step into the gym, or does it put you to sleep? You want to ensure that the gym will give you a safe and enjoyable lifting environment.

Some gyms lack “energy,” and the environment appears to be dead. This may not seem crucial, but it is on days when you don’t feel like working exercise. You want to enter into an environment that energizes and motivates you.

Read the Guidelines

a woman doing a push up with barbells in a gym, gym equipment

The list of ridiculous gym rules continues on and on: no slamming of weights, lunk alarms, no T-bar rows, no deadlifts, and so on. Some gyms do not cater to specific individuals.

You must find a gym that is compatible with your lifting habits. Find a gym with a platform if you want to deadlift.

Ensure It Maintains a Clean Environment

Nothing is more revolting than entering a filthy gym. It’s best not to enroll if you think you’ll require a tetanus vaccine before working out there. Always inspect the restrooms and benches.

Are the machines clean and well-kept, or are they filthy and shabby? It’s a gym so it won’t be as clean as a hospital, but you also don’t want to exercise in a dump. You should feel at peace while working out daily.

Examine the Air Quality


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This is a significant issue. Nothing is worse than working out in a stuffy, overheated gym with no airflow. It’s likely that the location stinks and will make you feel uneasy.

So, when you’re taking a tour of the gym, keep an eye out for things like: is the free-weight section too hot or cold, and are there any windows or fans? These factors can make you angry and uneasy.


Gyms function in various ways, but you’ll almost certainly be required to sign a contract and pay a monthly fee. The more you pay, the fancier the gym and the nicer the membership. However, there are techniques to ensure that you get the most out of your money.

Look for Bargains

Most gyms provide monthly deals, free personal training, no initiation fees, or a few months for free. Before signing on, inquire about any possible offers with the salesmen.


Many gyms offer a variety of membership options. It’s not a bad idea to urge them to modify the contract conditions, waive the startup charge, or even negotiate reduced monthly payments.


Too many folks choose the initial offer instead of shopping around to different clubs in the area. Making a round of every gym in the area can give you an idea of how much folks charge and what specials they have. As a result, you’ll be in a better position to negotiate a better deal.

Pay Attention to the Fine Print

Is there a cost linked with terminating your contract early? Is it possible to put your membership on pause if you become ill, wounded, or need to take a long trip? Before you sign up, find out how to cancel your membership.

Look for Any Hidden Fees


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“It’s only $1 to join!” Have you come across those advertisements? We’re confident you have. Most gyms use this tactic to entice customers to join. Offers with a low threshold appear to be too good to be true.

A gym contract has a lot of fine print. Most gyms charge a maintenance and improvement fee, which is essentially a fee added to your regular monthly dues to help “improve” the gym.

You should inquire about any membership costs that may apply. Check out what’s included and what’s not. Before signing, ask a lot of questions.


Check the childcare facility’s hours of operation (some only open during certain hours) and the available space. Is it suffocating? Is there a sufficient number of employees? Before you commit, make sure you’re comfortable leaving your children there.


Make sure you don’t have to waste an hour hunting for a parking spot during peak hours (typically after work).

Things to Remember Before Joining a Gym


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Don’t Spend on an Enrollment Fee

Inquire as to why the fitness center or gym charges an enrollment fee. Is there a charge for signing up? This is simply a way for you to get a few additional dollars at the start of your membership by paying a commission to the salesman who signed you up.

A sales commission is usually included in the enrollment fee as a motivator for the sales team. “Can I get you to sign up right now if I waive the enrollment fee?” you’ll probably hear. If this is the case, the enrollment fee is a sham, paid by a select few who have been bullied by the salesperson.

If the Gym’s Rates Are Written on a Blank Sheet of Paper, Don’t Join

If the gym doesn’t have printed fees, it’s a good sign that everything is up for negotiation. It also means that when you join, you can expect to be standing in the locker room hearing that the person next to you just joined for less than you did and that during the summer, when membership is low, and the “Corporate Owned” gym wants to make its numbers, others will be joining for a lot less.

Joining on Your First Visit Isn’t Necessary

Sales-driven gyms keep a careful eye on first-visit close numbers, and salespeople are rewarded and bonused based on them. They know they won’t be able to serve you for much more than 30 days, so if you join up today, you’ll have to pay for however long they signed you up for.

You’ll need some time to figure out if the gym’s culture is right for you. When you come, ask one question: “How will I obtain results in your gym?”

Most of you will inquire how much, how long, and when lessons, hours, and other activities will be held. This isn’t very meaningful unless you can tailor your visits to get results. If the salesperson cannot answer, they most likely do not have a background in fitness and are simply excellent at selling.

Take the “Free” Personal Training Service as a Warning

When a gym advertises a free personal training session, it means they’ll assign you to a trainer who will determine whether or not you can afford to spend a few hundred dollars per month with them. If you aren’t, they’ll show you a few machines and point to the cardio before kicking you to the ground.

They may even offer you a card with the names of the machines on it so you can keep track of your exercises, which you will never do.

Don’t Join Just Because There’s a Sign-up Bonus

This is similar to a car salesperson asking, “What can I do today to get you in this automobile?” You know you should do something to enhance your health, and they know they won’t be able to get you back in if you leave without participating. This hard closing tactic is known as fear of loss, and if you inquire, “Can I still have this if I come back next week?” and the answer is negative, you should go away.

Determine Who Owns the Gym


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If you go to a franchise/chain/corporate-owned gym, you’ll have to deal with quota-driven sales and training staff, significant employee turnover, and a billing hotline at 1-800-WHO-CARES. Locally owned and operated facilities are often a better choice, but make sure to inquire if the owner works at the gym or if they work out there. Hands-on management always wins out over corporate direction from afar.

Don’t Hesitate to Give the Gym a Try for Free

Unless you’re already exercising and the gym is exactly what you’re looking for, or you have a group of friends who are members of the gym and can suggest it, you’ll need some time to decide if it’s a good fit for you. When you sign up for a trial membership, you may see the gym as it will be when you join, without the salesperson influencing your experience.

You get to meet other staff members and observe the gym for what it is: how clean it is kept, how crowded it is when you want to use it, is the equipment in good working order, and how does the staff treat you as a “just a member” rather than a prospect.

Make the Most of the Free Sessions to Plan Your Results

The design of a fitness program should be done in a hierarchy based on the outcomes you want to achieve. For example, if you aim to lose weight, primarily fat, there is a precise method to achieve those outcomes. 

The gym you choose should have a mechanism to assist you in getting started, which should ideally be handled by just one person. The process should be divided into three parts: assessment, strategy, and practical application.

Before You Sign Up, Make Sure You Get a Copy of the Contract

This allows you to read the membership contract’s fine print, terms, and details. What are the cancellation terms, can the membership be frozen, what are the gym restrictions, and are there any other fees? Use caution here since what matters is what is written, not what was said.

Get Specifics on How You’ll Be Able to Pay

Dues are usually collected automatically via EFT or credit card charge at most gyms. You should be able to choose the day of the week when your payment will be processed. If you don’t want to reveal your financial information, you might be able to pay a higher monthly cost if you pay monthly.

Be aware of the bi-weekly gimmick as well. This enables gyms to advertise at a lesser price while charging you more.

For example, the gym’s charges are verbally stated as $39 per month, with bi-weekly dues of $19.50. This appears logical, except that the gym will receive an extra month’s payment in a year because they will receive 26 installments rather than 24.

Joining a gym is a significant investment. Make sure you have every information you need to make an informed decision, just like you would with any other major financial decision.

One last thing, here’s a guide for if you want to look stylish and fashionable while working out at the gym. And, if you’re a homebody, you can always set up your home gym, as it also has its benefits.