Written by Andy Chasse’ in Exercise
Viewed by 5 readers since 07-19-2009
Have you ever walked into a gym and wondered how it even managed to retain members? Weights decorate the floor and a variety of dumbbells provide a maze of sorts throughout the free weight section. The management extends no courtesy whatsoever and the maintenance is non-existent. How do places like this even stay open?
These trashy gyms remain open simply because people don’t know any better. Very few lifters actually know what to look for in an excellent gym. The above scenario represents their first gym experience and they assume that all gyms are this way. This is definitely not the case. There are a few very important qualities to look for when prospecting gyms in your area. Look for the following in no particular order, but look for them all.
1) Cleanliness. Refer to the above example. A gym with weights lying all over the place and dumbbells scattered all around is no gym you should want to be a member of. Most commercial gyms employ a maintenance staff almost solely responsible for picking up after those who feel they are too good to clean up after themselves. In fact, this particular task is often given to personal trainers while working floor hours. Simply put, there is no reason for a dirty weight room – it is an injury and a lawsuit waiting to happen! Don’t be the victim.
2) Staff courtesy. A gym must provide exceptional customer service to remain a competitor in this industry. However, gyms have been known to scam their members into a number of binding contracts with a little fine print here and there. Try to get a feel for the attitude of the membership adviser as you are considering signing up for membership. It is often very easy to see through these money-hungry salespeople. In addition to quality membership counselors, it is important to find an intelligent and helpful staff of personal trainers. Contrary to popular belief, many trainers often do answer questions for free. Look for a group of fitness professionals that offer their help without you even asking. These are the type of people that fill up the right gym.
3) Hours. There’s obviously no point in joining a 9am-9pm gym if you work late into the night and can’t make it in for a workout until almost midnight. While a large number of gyms now offer 24 hour service, there are still a few out there that haven’t quite made the change. Although this tip seems like common sense, many surprisingly forget about it. The right gym for you has to have the right hours for you!
4) Rules. If you’re a hardcore powerlifter or athlete thinking you are going to walk right into a standard commercial gym and make a ruckus while slinging chalk all over the place – you are in for a nasty surprise. Gym rules nowadays are strict beyond belief. There aren’t near as many “hardcore” gyms that allow the behavior that is commonly seen in strength sports. Many gyms even frown upon some grunting here and there. Look for a small, private training facility if you fall into this category.