Gym, sweet gym: How to find the perfect one for you

A gym membership can be a valuable part of a healthy lifestyle, especially in the Mitten state, where frigid winters and blistering hot summers can make regular outdoor workouts a challenge. But picking which gym to join can be tough — there are so many options to consider!

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a look at our suggestions for how to find the perfect fitness center for your needs!

  1. Cost — Hands-down, price is one of the most important factors to think about when considering a gym. If the membership fee is out of your budget, then joining and being responsible to pay it will merely add unhealthy stress to your life. Before you start your quest for the perfect gym, determine a price point that you can realistically pay, and be honest about it when speaking with gym management. They may have new client specials or other offers that can reduce cost. Or, they may have recommendations for other facilities that better fit your budget.
  2. Location — Distance makes the heart grow fonder. That may be true for significant others, but that is certainly not the case for gyms. For most of us, convenience is key and the farther away the gym is from home or work, the more likely you will dread going there. Figure out when you are most likely to workout. If you plan to hit the gym early in the morning or during your lunch hour, you may want to check out gyms located near your office. If you plan to exercise in the evenings and on weekends, a gym closer to home may be the way to go.
  3. Hours — You want to make sure the gym you join is open when you need it. If you plan to work out in the mornings before work, be sure the gym is open early enough to allow you plenty of time to both exercise and get cleaned up before you have to be in the office. Similarly, if you prefer to workout in the evening, be sure the facility is open late enough to meet your needs.
  4. Classes — Many people enjoy group fitness classes. Working out with others can be motivational, and having an instructor lead you through a routine can be helpful, especially for novice exercisers. If classes are important to you, be sure to ask gym management if the fitness center offers classes and whether or not they are included in your membership fee, or require additional payment.
  5. Staff — Going to the gym should be an enjoyable experience, and part of that enjoyable experience includes the people who are around you while you work out. Be sure to meet with gym staff members to get a feel for their attitude and personality. Check online review sites as well to hear feedback from other members about how the staff treats their guests. And, be sure to find out what you can expect the staff to do for you as a member — will they demonstrate how to use equipment, provide updates on facility improvements, etc.?

As a Healthy Blue Xtras member, you can save money on membership at gyms across Michigan. And for more ideas on healthy living, visit AHealthierMichigan.org.

Photo credit: casavelas2

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