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Are you dissatisfied with your current gym? Have you decided to embark on an exercise program but are wondering how to go about selecting a gym? Advertisements, promotional material and even friends and colleagues will fill your head with confusing messages! Net result – you are thoroughly confused!

Selecting a gym can be a fairly daunting task. However, it’s not something one should do on impulse. After all, you will probably be forking out a one-year subscription in advance (which in most cases is non-refundable). Suppose you don’t like the place or find it too far, you will end up wasting all that money. So, look before you lift!

Here are some helpful guidelines to help you in making an informed choice.

Setting: The more convenient your gym or health club is to get to, the more you’ll use it. In general, you’re at an advantage when it is close to your home or office. The greater the distance you must travel to exercise, the greater the chance that you might find an excuse not to! If you have to drive long distances through peak hour traffic to reach your gym, you’ll be more apt to skip your workout.

Facilities and services: Are there enough machines so that you don’t have to wait forever to use them? Are there a variety of types of machines?  What are the facilities like, and what type of equipment and classes are available? Are you looking for deluxe environs or something simple and no-frills? Does the club have men’s and women’s locker rooms, changing rooms, and showers?  These facilities are very essential if you’re working out on your way to work or during your lunch hour.

Crowd: How many members regularly use the club, and when is the gym at its busiest? You won’t want to go to a gym that is chock-a-block when you want to work out. The swankiest gym in town may still be the wrong choice if you’re going to have to frequently wait in line to exercise on a piece of equipment. Conversely, if you have a flexible schedule and enjoy meeting people in a health club environment, select a busy, trendy gym. If you are interested in a particular gym, go there as a ‘guest’, especially during their busiest time. This will give you a clear picture of the kind of crowd that visits the gym as well as what the average waiting period is for using the equipment. Join a club where you feel comfortable and welcome.

Staff: Does the facility have experienced staff and instructors? Look for staff members who are friendly and competent. Look for honesty, sincerity, politeness, and above all, respect. If you have never worked out in a gym earlier, find out if there are qualified staff members to suggest a routine and supervise your workouts.

Hygiene: This is an important criterion. Bathrooms, showers, pools, saunas and the gym equipment should be cleaned on a regular basis. Does the gym provide clean towels? Many gyms insist that members bring their own towels to wipe off the sweat from the equipment they have used. This is a good practice.

Price: Finally, how much does it cost? Does the club have a massive introductory fee with substantial monthly payments? Do you have to sign a contract, or can you join on a month-to-month basis? Look at the entire package before you just consider the cost. Being the cheapest gym around does not automatically make it the best choice for you. Be on the lookout for advertised specials and discounts. Always enquire if there are any special discounted membership packages on offer. If you have doubts about the sincerity of your commitment to working out, opt for the monthly or quarterly packages.

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Dogs, books, music…that’s what makes life tick for me. And of course, writing. I’ve been writing for 17 years now and have enjoyed every bit of it. My idea of a great time – blast some music, cuddle my pets and gorge on pizza. Or curl up in a cozy corner with a good book. That’s bliss. And now, I’ve discovered a new bliss – yoga. Maybe, I’ll turn spiritual some day with a halo around my head! On a more serious note, I’m actively involved in animal welfare and saving abandoned dogs. I firmly believe dogs are much better than most human beings. In addition, I champion the cause of making our planet a better place. And do my bit in whatever way I can, and urge everyone to do the same.