What to look for in a gym

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 01, 2009 7:37 PM GMT
    Hello everyone,

    I am finally going to get off the couch and work on getting myself back into shape.

    My question is what should I look for in a good gym?

    I had a membership to Ballys but I stopped going when I couldn't get any help, the people were rude and the personal trainers were more out of shape than I was.

    I'd like to find a smaller more personal gym but does that mean that I have to cut back on what services I'd like to have available to me?

    About 4 years ago I used to jog at lunch time as my company has a locker room with a shower. I have started walking at lunch and will be pushing that back up to jogging again and that will happen 3 times a week. On the other 2 days I will be riding my bike into and home from work so I think I have the cardio part down or at least that is my plan.

    I really need the gym for the equipment so does a gym need to have both machine and free weights or is one of the 2 acceptable?

    What basics should every gym have?

    I'm sorry if these questions are stupid or very basic but I find gyms very intimidating and usually leave because I'm too afraid to ask the gym personnel for help.

    Is it okay to ask another member for help or advice? I know when I'm there working out I'm pretty focused and am not sure I would appreciate the interruption.

    any suggestions or tips would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Ricco
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 01, 2009 8:17 PM GMT
    sometimes thinking outside the box can help. I use the gym in a a spa in a hotel at home. What that means is that the weights they have are not the most amazing, and the other equipment is OK at best, and there are not many guys there to get to know. But it has two huge advantages. There are very few people using the space, and there is always a well qualified staff member on duty who is bored stiff by not having anyone to work with at a serious level. The result is that I get pretty much a personal trainer every time I go to the gym without paying anything for it, and I can do almost anything I like in the gym. No waiting, ever. Personal attention all the time from people who are fed up with working with unfit 50 year old women and want to teach you how to train so that they don´t go insane.

    I´m not really up on USA gyms, but they seem to have loads of extras, which is great if you are going to use them but a total waste of time if you are not. I´m happy to talk to people in the gym when i am between sets. DON´t start twittering on when I am about to get in the squat rack, but do talk when I am waiting for my next set.

    What a gym needs depends on what you want to do, but I would say knowledge and friendliness is more important than having the latest new machine and a swimming pool you are never goign to use.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 01, 2009 8:20 PM GMT
    There's a ton of things to look for in a gym, and I've no doubt that the experienced RJ members will chime in soon with great suggestions. But before that, I wanted to throw one thing out there that might be helpful as you get started.

    There's this old saying in the photography world...something like, "A cheap camera in your pocket takes much better photos than a great camera left back at home."

    As you begin your search, you might want to start by looking at which facilities are near your house or office, or along your daily route. Easy access, no excuses. A substandard gym that you actually go to will do more good than the perfect club you don't make it to that often.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Jan 01, 2009 9:49 PM GMT
    Whatever gets you to go there is what the gym should have

    Every gym should be CLEAN
    There are some that are disgusting icon_confused.gif
    and have enough equipment where you can get a decent workout

    Beyond that it's goin g to be what you like in a gym
    If you like a smaller more intimate gym that's great
    Then stay away from the Larger Corporate gyms like Bally's and LA Fitness
    Some guys like straighter meathead gyms
    or gay gyms
    it all depends on what you want
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Jan 01, 2009 10:26 PM GMT
    I think the most important thing is to find a place where you feel comfortable and has a good variety of equipment. When you are starting out, it's also a good idea to find a place where they will give you a hand setting up a workout and showing you how to use the equipment.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 01, 2009 10:32 PM GMT
    --- I had a membership to Ballys but I stopped going when I couldn't get any help, the people were rude and the personal trainers were more out of shape than I was.

    ## I wouldn't acquire the services of a trainer from a commercial gym. Most of them are out of shape. And after watching the routines they put their clients through, I'm surprised no one gets seriously hurt. Find an independent personal trainer. Most of them have memberships to all the commercial gyms, so they can work around your schedule.

    --- I'd like to find a smaller more personal gym but does that mean that I have to cut back on what services I'd like to have available to me?

    ## Yes/no. It depends on what your goals are. The good things about commercial gyms are the free services that come with your membership like, swimming pool, cardio and spin classes, yoga, etc. But if none of that interests you, then it doesn't matter if you go with a smaller gym.

    --- I really need the gym for the equipment so does a gym need to have both machine and free weights or is one of the 2 acceptable?

    ## Honestly, all I really need are free weights and a high/low cable machine. Having a variety of equipment in a gym is nice but it's not a necessity. There are some independent personal trainers that have their own facilities either at home or in a strip mall. They should have all the essential equipment.

    --- What basics should every gym have?

    ## Free weights, machines. Preferably modern equipment. If you walk into a gym and you see an old chrome Nautilus multi-gym, run away!

    --- Is it okay to ask another member for help or advice? I know when I'm there working out I'm pretty focused and am not sure I would appreciate the interruption.

    ## Touchy subject. Some people don't like to be disturbed during the workout, hence the earphones. I don't mind answering quick questions, but if someone tries to engage in a lengthy conversation about workout routines and general advice, I might get annoyed. I think it's perfectly fine to ask casually what a particular machine or exercise does.

    I think the other thing is, do your own research. I think a lot of people don't want to take the time/effort to learn about health/fitness. They would rather hire a trainer and have the trainer do all that for them. My advice to you is to hire a trainer, learn the proper form and technique for performing exercises and for using the gym equipment. And then gradually go on your own.
  • JohnDallas

    Posts: 87

    Jan 01, 2009 10:42 PM GMT
    My advise for you is to actually check out the different gyms that are available. Looking is only part of the process. A gym can look great and have everything that you want. But until you work out there for several days you will not really know if you like the gym or not. Every gym has different clientele and different staff. Some are much busier than others making it harder to get a good workout. So get a guest pass to each of your options and then decide which one is the best one for you.
    If you are new to working out as the others have stated get a personal trainer in the beginning if you can afford one. Performing the correct exercises in the correct form is very important if you want to get results. I see far to many guys in the gym doing the wrong stuff and using way to much weight with terrible form. Those are the same guys that get very little results and can't understand why.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Jan 01, 2009 11:34 PM GMT
    You can get away with only one of the two of free weights or machines. Both have their uses--I used machines a lot more when I was first starting out, but these days use them essentially only when I want to push myself past my normal limits and don't have someone to spot me. But, honestly, I'm not sure that I've ever even seen a non-home gym that doesn't have both.

    Things basically every gym should have:

    A good rubberized floor. If the floor is hard and doesn't have shock absorption, leave.
    Some cardio equipment, like treadmills, bikes, stair machines, ellipticals, or rowing machines.
    At least some free weights.

    Things you'll really want in a gym:

    Clean locker rooms
    Weights that are actually in the racks
    The gym not being horrendously busy. Go visit it at the times you think you'd actually use it and take a look at how long of a wait it would be to use the equipment you want.
    Pools and group classes are great if you use them, but just add to cost if you don't. Same with hot tubs and steam rooms.

    As for asking other people for help, you pretty much have to play that by ear. Sometimes people will wear headphones to avoid having to talk to people. Other times people are more than willing to give you a couple of quick pointers.