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6 things to consider before joining a gym

Where are you going to be working out in 2015?

This is the week a lot of people shop around for a gym, because their resolutions for the upcoming year will include more exercise.

Certainly price is a factor, but here are some other things that are just as important to consider:

Conveniences matters. I don’t care if the membership costs a penny a year, if it is not easy to get to that gym, you won’t. I once had a co-worker who could get a great on a deal on a gym membership, but it was four L stops past work. I told her, don’t do it; you won’t get there. She didn’t believe me. Here’s where I get to say told you so; she went twice.

If the gym is on your way home or next door to your job or someplace else super convenient, you are more likely to go. If you drive to the gym and it has no parking, find another place; the frustration of finding a spot will dampen your enthusiasm for the gym. Remember, getting there is half the battle.

Figure out what you want. If you like the idea of working out on a variety of machines, make sure the club has that. Want to work out regularly with a trainer? Ask how many the gym has on staff. (Too few and it will be hard to get appointments.) If it’s classes you’re after, study the offerings and decide it they sound like ones you’d want to attend and that the times are ones you can fit into your schedule.

Check out the other members. Do you want a gym where everyone is super friendly? Or do you want a place where others leave you alone while you’re in your workout zone? Big difference. Figure out what you want and observe the other members while you are visiting any gym. Then decide.

Check out the other members, Part II. If the place is filled with super-toned gym rats, will that inspire you? Or will it make you uncomfortable being there? If you aren’t at ease at a gym it will become too easy to skip going. Don’t waste your money that way.

Pay attention to little things. I once belonged to a gym where I loved the classes, but could only stand to be on the elliptical or treadmill for mere minutes because of the awful canned music it played so loudly. If the gym blasts country and you’re into New Age tunes, that probably isn’t the place for you. Also if you’re like me and prefer the temperatures inside to be cool, a hot and stuffy gym isn’t for you.

Cleanliness is important. You’ll be changing clothes, showering, being barefoot in the locker room. You do not want a place, no matter how little it costs, if it skimps on keeping things clean.