In this day and age finding a gym that works for you can be quite difficult. Be it a group training scenario, such as Cross fit, Orange Theory Fitness, or a more personal level such as a local gym or community leisure center. When looking into a fitness center personal goals and time commitments are very important. You also need to consider which amenities you require (or desire). Be it mostly cardio, weights, or things such as steam rooms and saunas. Based on your fitness goals, you will require different equipment. Are you looking to shed that Christmas weight? Tone up your existing muscle? Or build new muscle? Those are the three main reasons people hit a gym.
If you are looking to shed those few extra pounds you may, or may not, have packed on over the Christmas break, then you are probably looking for somewhere with good cardio equipment. Look for facilities with rowing machines, treadmills, elliptical, stair-masters and bikes. Also, be on the lookout for quality (and certified) personal trainers.
If you are looking to tone current muscles, build up a bit more muscle, or even enhance your stamina in the gym, there are options such as Orange Theory Fitness, or Crossfit. Both are group personal training, but give you limited access (at a fair price, or basically unlimited for a ridiculous sum of money). These facilities don’t offer much for your solo workout (if at all), and in my case, left me needing an alternate gym membership because they were not the workout I was looking for.
If you are looking to gain muscle and bulk without going the steroid route (or even with help from those good old anabolic boosters) there are great options out there, from your neighbourhood gym to one off the beaten path, like Axxis Gym (where I currently go on an almost daily basis). There you will find an assortment of equipment and people, from the strongman competitors to the body builder and his physique competitor girlfriend. However, you also find average Joes much like myself, and that girl who has a strange obsession with that thigh machine.
Personally, I suggest to anyone who approaches me to check out the small neighbourhood gym first, as it is usually the best fit, and always has a welcoming feel about the place. Unfortunately, the downside is that you can rarely find a proper 24/7 small gym these days. If you want that, you usually have to go to a bigger name gym like SNAP Fitness, or Gold’s Gym.
Another golden point for finding your fit, look at the amenities the gym has, from their pro shop, which should offer a large selection of pre-workouts, proteins, vitamins, bulking agents, and even gym wear and tensor wraps. Having a bistro is also a massive benefit for most people, as you can grab quality healthy food on the run. Some people may even want to look at things such as saunas, steam rooms, showers, tanning facilities, etc. Lastly, look at the classes offered (if any), and the costs associated. Many gyms do not include the classes in their monthly member dues.
Once you find a gym that satisfies your desires, from trainers, to equipment and amenities, try it out for a while before locking into a long (and always worthwhile) membership. As I always suggest, lock in, don’t just do monthly. Monthly memberships cost more than a 2 year term. If you are serious about getting fit, go all in, don’t over train, but do spend the time on yourself, it will only make you happier with yourself in the long run. Live, Love, Lift.