Looking for a new gym: What should I be looking for regarding facilities/equipment?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 06, 2010 9:52 PM GMT
    I am on a hunt for a new gym in my area...I know that a pool is a must (for me), but as far as equipment and additional training facilities what should I be looking for? After watching many Real Jock training vids to plan workouts, I am fully convinced that some of the equipment used in these videos simply does not exist in middle America. My workouts have progressed beyond the capabilities of my apartment building's current facility, but I am unsure of what I need to be looking for when I preview other facilities. Any suggestions will be much appreciated! Thanks!
  • roadbikeRob

    Posts: 14062

    Jan 06, 2010 10:47 PM GMT
    Fully equipped gyms and health clubs exist in all parts of the USA. When choosing a gym or health club, try to get one of the gym employees or staff members to give you a thorough tour of the facility to see the equipment and the overall layout of the facility. Hopefully that will also help you see if it is a serious workout/bodybuilding gym or just a glorified gossip and meet market. Inquire about what fitness programs are offered and also see if it is a friendly but serious place to train. Most important is inquire about membership rates and contracts. Some gyms are nothing more than glorified contract mills hell bent on taking your money while others will give you your moneys worth. Just be careful before signing any membership contract. Read all the fine print carefully and don't let any of the gym staff pressure you into signing a contract unless you really want to do so.
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    Jan 07, 2010 2:11 AM GMT
    Some of quick checks I use when looking for new gyms are:

    1) How many squat racks?

    None? Deal breaker. One? Problematic. Two or more? Can work with it.

    2) Max dumbbell weight?

    70lbs or less? Hotel gym equivalent. 100lb? "Fitness" gym with high spandex quotient. 200lb? Serious big guys in here. FYI, I'm not planning on lifting anything beyond 100 myself, but it is a good indicator of the "seriousness" of the gym.

    3) Locker room smell?

    Mold? Mildew? Skank? Deal breaker.

  • DevinWicks

    Posts: 28

    Jan 07, 2010 2:16 AM GMT
    Hey Newinmo,

    Devin here, Real Jock fitness expert. I recently put together an article (Match Made In Heaven: Six Tips For Finding Your Perfect New Gym) with some tips on how what to look for in a new fitness facility. Feel free to check it out and let me know if you have any questions.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 07, 2010 2:49 AM GMT
    well i have worked out at my fair share of gyms. i think ive had a membership to 5 gyms. its just the fact that its hard to find the right fit. currently i am a personal trainer for LA Fitness. My two favorite gyms thus dar have been Fitworks and LA Fitness. LA has a pool which is awesome.

    One thing i really look for in a gym is the size of the gym and the amount of equipment. Size for me is important cause i dont want to be on top of the person next to me, especially in the dumbbell area. Amount of equipment is a huge key. i am into supersets and i like knowing that there are multiple of a lot of the machines i need.

    those are two things that are big for me! Good Luck!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 07, 2010 2:52 AM GMT
    I can tell you why I like my gym better than any gym I've ever been to. First, they have a huge range of equipment - rock climbing walls, pilates equipment, a rope climbing machine, a ladder apparatus that you climb at a 45 degree angle, jump ropes, punching bags, yoga mats, dowels, one of those things you see Chuck Norris on in infomercials, medicine balls, this ridiculous platform that vibrates, kettlebells, dumbells, platforms to jump on, a machine you sit on and twist with, hanging arm braces for doing leg/ab work, inversion tables, individual fans for each teadmill, a long ladder hanging from the ceiling you can swing from like a first grader, these funny rubber band things that attach to the wall using ball bearings, and a ton of other fun stuff. Oh yeah - and the regular gym equipment. It's like Gymboree there for Christ's sake, and of course I enjoy a bit of variety in my workouts. Shouldn't it be fun?

    Second, the people who work there are awesome. I love my trainer, and the front desk girl who always smiles and chats a bit before my trainer comes out.

    Third, the classes. They love to structure people's workouts, and show them new cool stuff. And it makes all the difference in the world.

    Fourth, the locker room with non-high school lockers, and every soap, lotion, toothpaste, and other hygiene supply known to man. It's also immaculate.

    Fifth, the division into a ton of rooms randomly located up stairs, and around corners. It makes it fun.

    Sixth, the really cool snack bar. Where they make real food, from real things that don't have the words "power", "mega", or "hydroxy" in them. And the cute guy who works there.

    Seventh, the fact that it's a very ecofriendly gym, with lots of power minimization features. I think the stationary bikes actually put power back into the grid . . .

    Eighth, the cute guy who winked at me as I watched him put on a shirt over the most amazing set of abs I've ever seen on a live human being.

    Ninth, their filtered, chilled water. One of Austin's few downfalls is its poor tapwater, and they do something about it.

    Tenth, the awesome music. I heard the Talking Heads, Leonard Cohen, Aretha Franklin, The Flaming Lips, and David Bowie all in one workout. Not a trace of that thump-thump hyperactive glowstick dance remix bullshit.

    Eleventh - it's never crowded!

    I am in love with my gym. I get sad thinking that if one day I leave Austin in the distant future, I will almost certainly never find as cool a gym wherever else I go. I hope you find one you love as much as I love mine!
  • victor8

    Posts: 237

    Jan 07, 2010 3:09 AM GMT
    i'd choose the one thats closest, easiest to get to, and be sure to go!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 08, 2010 1:52 AM GMT
    (random thought ) no one mentioned the eye candy factor.

    I go to a big 24/7 gym .But recently tried 2 different gyms , one very chic,
    too many women . And they had Paramount machines which i hate.
    And rubber covered plates , and only 2 bench press , 1 free weights palestra.

    the other was in The Village, a Nautilus plus. Filled with pretty boys very busy being pretty.
    But a few serious guys also. Reasonable weight rack, and some weird machines, Kaiser i think, using hydraulic pressure, I didn't even tried them , they looked Borgish and i was afraid to be assimilated.
    But they had almost nothing for abs, except swiss balls and one slanted bench.

    So i went back to my very spartan gym but : 3 complete racks going up to 200 pounds ( who the fuck lifts those i don't know ) and a couple small ones with light weights , 8 bench press stations , tons of machines , 5 cable stations, And 99% of equipment is Atlantis which i love.
    Cardio is standard treadmills, stairmasters, elliptical, jacob's ladder etc.

    95 % male ( and 98% straight : ), and most of the few girls who go there train really well .

    So, my conclusion: size matters, opening hours matter, equipment matters,
    clientele matters.