Do you really need to join a gym?
Perhaps you can do all the exercise you need in your garage or at the park. Maybe working out at home may be working out (pun intended) for you. These are practical options, but...
A gym membership offers benefits that you won’t get from a home workout or a jog in the park.
One thing to note: 28.3% of Americans are physically inactive. The mighty pull of the couch and the TV won’t be enough to turn couch potatoes into home workout pros.
Meanwhile, a study shows that gym training improves one’s fitness outlook; this is because gym members tend to associate gym workouts with improved physical, emotional, and mental resilience.
If you’re looking for the best gym with specific features and amenities, consider looking into gyms that cater to particular types of gym-goers.
Which type of gym is best?
Best gym features for beginners
If you’ve never set foot in a gym before, you may be intimidated by the rows of cardio equipment (for losing weight), the spacious free weights area (for boosting cardio-respiratory strength), and the resistance training area (for building mass and toning muscles).
As a beginner, you’ll need to use a range of gym equipment to work out your entire body, and you should expect to spend some time in these facilities. So choose a gym that has all these.
Best gym features for women
Some women may prefer to go to a fitness studio that caters to their unique needs, and some prefer to go to a regular gym. The fact is that every gym needs to offer more than just treadmills, weight benches, and trainers; it should also have a respectful community where everyone — regardless of their sex — can exercise in a friendly and respectful atmosphere. Get a feel of a gym’s community before becoming part of one.
Best gym features for intermediate- and advanced-level gym-goers
You can be considered an intermediate trainee if you’ve been consistently and effectively weight training for at least 6–12 months. If you’ve achieved a majority of the results you were aiming for or are very close to achieving your natural genetic potential, you can be considered an advanced trainee.
If you fall into either category, you’ll likely be doing a good combination of body weight and free weight exercises, compound movements, and isolation workouts. Choose a gym that has facilities that’ll let you perform all these routines.
Moreover, as an advanced-level trainee who does a lot of compound exercises, you might want to look for a gym that has many free squat racks and not just Smith Machines. Better yet, go for one that has both. Squats are essential when doing compound exercises, and performing them on a free squat rack activates your stabilizer strength more intensely compared to doing them on a Smith Machine.
However, even if you’re not interested in choosing a gym that caters to specific types of gym-goers, it still pays to consider factors that make a gym “the right gym.”
5 Factors to consider when choosing the right gym
1. Variety of training options
Everyone has different training needs and preferences; some need the guidance of a personal trainer on a 1:1 session, while others thrive and perform better when training with a group. That’s why you should select a gym that offers a variety of training programs.
You may prefer 1:1 training now but realize later on that a duo training session or a small group class is more your cup of tea.
Check the available personal training programs, as well. Fitness professionals have varying areas of expertise and specialization. Many coaches would be knowledgeable about weight training, but only a few can handle specialized courses. An ideal gym should also have fitness professionals who specialize in older adults training and nutrition.
2. Operating hours
Squeezing gym time into your busy schedule can be difficult. If you’re the type who only has time to work out during lunch break, late at night, or very early in the morning, consider a gym’s operating hours before buying a membership. A gym whose operating hours align with your preference and schedule could entice you to sweat out more consistently.
If you’re interested in fitness classes, ask gym staff to show you their class schedules. Ask about which facilities and amenities are closed during certain hours to give you an idea of what you can and can’t do on days you choose to train.
3. Member privileges, amenities, and freebies
Some gyms offer guest passes for family members or friends, some have an open juice bar, while others offer free or paid child care services. Most gyms typically offer these services and amenities via different package tiers. Determine what you need now and in the future so you’ll know what you’re getting with your membership.
Check out Facet Seven’s flexible membership options and rates.
4. Convenience and quality of facility
For many people, choosing a gym boils down to location. One that’s near your home or workplace is a good choice, but consider other factors too — and we’re not just talking about the availability of parking spaces!
Is the one closest to your home or office the best place to work out? Is it well-maintained and roomy enough to accommodate social distancing requirements? Does it have friendly and professional trainers and high-quality equipment and facilities? Ask yourself these questions before signing up.
5. Overall value
Check whether a gym offers great value today and in the future. Don’t make price your only consideration. A gym that charges $8 a month but does not meet any of your requirements — such as accessibility from your usual routes, spotless facilities, and courteous staff and trainers — means you’re better off looking for much better gyms.
Facet Seven’s EaDo and Heights fitness centers in Houston are extensive, well-maintained, and fully stocked with high-quality equipment. We also offer classes that will keep your fitness routine varied, fun, and engaging. Ask us about our flexible personal training solutions today!
About The Author
Founder & Training Director
Layn has spent his life immersed in the worlds of fitness and physical performance. As an athlete, he’s completed multiple endurance events such as the Texas Bandera 50k Trail Run, Austria’s Ironman 70.3, and the Alaskaman Extreme Ironman. He’s been coaching since 2008 with certifications in USA Weightlifting Level 1, CrossFit Level 1, Strong First L1, and the National Academy of Sports Medicine.