If statistics are anything to go by, then more and more individuals are signing up and attending the gym on a regular basis across the UK. In 2012, the State of the UK Fitness Industry Report revealed that a staggering 7.6 million of us are now affiliated with gyms. The continual growth of this health and fitness market, which is now considered a multi billion pound industry, comes despite the UK still experiencing and recovering from a long term period of debt and the effects of the so called ‘credit crunch’.

Despite the current economic state, projected figures suggest that the number of individuals with gym memberships will continue to increase as we move forward into 2014 and beyond. Are you currently making up one of these 7.6 million gym users in the UK? If not, are you considering joining the masses and signing up in the near future?

If you fall into the latter group and are considering making a commitment to both a gym and your fitness journey in the near future, make sure you read on. The purpose of this article is to assist you to choosing the right gym for you.

This task might appear simple and straight forward, however there are numerous variables that are often overlooked or forgotten when selecting a gym and can prove costly to both your health and finance; with many gyms nowadays demanding an upfront joining fee, charging premium monthly rates and a minimum commitment of twelve months, it’s well worth taking your time before signing on the dotted line.

So without further ado, and in no particular order, let us now consider those all important make or break variables…

Choosing The Right Gym For You
1. Location

You’d be surprised how many individuals pick a gym in an area which is completely unobtainable. Primarily, the gym should be situated in a location which is convenient for you and your day to day schedule.

Many years ago this might have been problematic, but nowadays with gyms popping up left, right and centre, your options are endless. Consider where your home and work is and when you plan to attend the gym.

Let’s be honest, even the keenest of gym goers amongst us wouldn’t want to be driving for an hour after a long, hard day at work. Not only is this a time consuming and costly process, but ultimately, it will create negativity and resentment towards your gym attendance. This is the last thing you need when starting out on your fitness journey.

2. Membership Numbers

When being shown around the gym by one of the sales team, try to visit around the same time that you plan to train. This is the only reliable way of ensuring you’re not joining a gym that likes to pack their members in like a tin of sardines.

Also consider asking questions about the amount of gym members and their peak visiting times. All of these statistics should be made readily available for your viewing.

Although not always the case, generally speaking, a gym’s peak visiting times are often from Monday to Thursday, between 5-7pm – with individuals attending on their way home from their nine-to-five employment. The last thing you want to walk into is an overcrowded gym with queues for equipment that you’d only expect to find at an amusement park.

3. Gym Equipment

Without trying to generalise an entire sporting population, most individuals who regularly attend the gym will sway more towards resistance training or cardiovascular activity. Whichever category you fall into, ensure that the gym has everything you require to enable a thorough workout and achieve your training goals.

You shouldn’t have to ‘make do’ or improvise with the equipment to meet your training needs. Let’s face it, there’s nothing more frustrating or annoying than a gym that lacks equipment.

Furthermore, in addition to the actual equipment on offer, ensure that the atmosphere and temperature are to a suitable standard. Whether it’s mentally or physically, you need to feel comfortable training in the gym; you are a paying guest after all.

4. Additional Activities

Prior to visiting a gym, it would be a worthwhile to fully consider all of your fitness needs and requirements. You can then compare this list against what the location can actually offer you.

If you only require gym use then do you really need to be attending a health and fitness complex which offers everything from spa facilities to a game of tennis? Conversely, if you’re looking for something more than a simple gym experience to enhance your health and fitness levels, such as fitness classes, then does the establishment offer these facilities and do they meet your requirements?

Sometimes there’s more to health and fitness than the gym itself; additional facilities such as a swimming pool and steam and sauna room add that spice of life, so don’t necessarily confine yourself to the gym only.

5. Friendly Faces

Regardless of your motivational levels and dedication, there WILL be times when you just don’t feel like attending the gym. It happens to everyone at some stage.

However, the knowledge that a friend or training partner is waiting for you at the other end is sometimes all you need to get through the slump and continue onwards with your fitness goals. There’s also the ability to interact socially whilst enhancing fitness levels.

The gym is often considered a solitary place, but ultimately, it’s what you make of it and the potential social opportunities on offer should not be overlooked or omitted. Furthermore, if you already know someone who uses the gym which you’re considering joining, why not pick their brains and get some open and honest answers about the environment and facilities on offer?

Final Word

There’s more to choosing a gym then initially meets the eye. Without trying to over complicate things, key variables such as location, membership numbers, gym equipment, additional activities and friendly faces should all feature within your decision making. For many of you, the gym will become a second home, where on a daily basis you’ll be giving blood, sweat and tears to your fitness pursuit – so it needs to be an environment in which you are comfortable.

The most important take home message from this article is that you shouldn’t just settle for a gym; make sure it has everything you need and more to meet your training needs and requirements.

Further consideration can also be given to additional variables such as cost, opening hours, car parking facilities and the option of personal trainers. With all this in mind, why not take that first step today and make a positive decision for a healthier future.