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Choosing a Gym

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How to choose a gym or fitness center

Machines that are out of order If on your induction you spot several machines that are out of order then be wary. One or possibly two is normal, but if there's more than that it means either the gym isn't being properly maintained, or the equipment is old. If you come to use that machine on your workout it's going to severely set you back. You may as well be training at home if what you need doesn't work.

Small print in the contracts Contracts that try to claim you can't leave for a certain amount of time, or you have to give them specific notice before you quit are nonsense. It's actually illegal for them to charge you for a service you're not using so if you want to quit they can't stop you. I once moved jobs and tried to quit my membership at LA Fitness only to be told that it would take three months - I cancelled my direct debit and never heard anything of it. In other words don't be bullied, and bare in mind that places that make such claims probably aren't to be trusted, they'll try and milk you for everything you've got.

Dodgy sounding deals A lot of gyms that are frankly overpriced, will try and lure customers in with fancy sounding deals. For example maybe they have half price joining fees, or the first two months free then the man on the door tells you to hurry up in order to take of advantage of those. Simply don't listen to the hype, as the chances are if there's a deal on now there'll be another one next week that sounds even better. The kind of gym you can trust is the sort that's honest and up front about it's costs. And if it's good value, it has no need for "special deals". If you do go somewhere like this bare in mind that you can always haggle that price down and beat them at their own game.

Overcrowding If you go to look around a gym and you see people queuing for equipment it tells you two things. The first is that going to this gym will result in you constantly interrupting your workout while you wait for machines, or feeling uncomfortable while someone's eyes drill a hole in the back of your skull. The other is again that the gym is untrustworthy; why are they trying to convince you to join when they don't have enough facilities to provide their current clientele with?

MTV I like MTV as much as the next guy, but if there's TVs in every room you're looking a health spa, not really a gym. That's fine if it's what you're after, but for a serious lifter all that means is distractions and unnecessarily high prices.

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