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    Joining a Gym. Top 10 considerations before committing to that gym membership!

    Are you Considering Joining a Gym? Find a gym that suits your needs best and remember that a convenient gym location and a friendly environment are top considerations. Here are Ten things women should think about before choosing a gym and joining up! If you are planning on getting into cougar bikini shape for summer, its time to motivate and workout.

    Gym Location, Gym Location, Gym Location

    Location of the gym trumps all else practically. A gym that is conveniently located with easy parking and fast access to the amenities reigns supreme. Remember that when it comes to the gym and you actually using it, “Location, Location, Location”.

    Gym Crowd

    A friendly crowd that is up your alley is the second only to location. You need to feel comfortable. You don’t want to feel aged out by the beautiful crowd. A real place, where there is a good span of ages in the members, and a good neighborhood feel is tops on my list. Neighborhood gyms that have been around for twenty plus years are still in business for a reason. People say hi to each other in those places which is a good thing.

    Gym Comfort

    You need to feel like you fit in at the gym. Be sure to check out not only the crowd, but the way you feel. The locker area and facilities should feel homey to where you can change if you need to and shower. At first when you join a gym you tend to spend time in the locker room pampering yourself. Yet, after a few years of going you get routine about it. You may not even use the amenities like the Jacuzzi, instead opting to get the heck in and out of there, showering at home after the fact. If people say hello to you, and you feel at home in sweats on the LifeCycle, you’re good to go.

    Facility Offerings

    Be sure to look at all of the class offerings and check whether they are included free of charge with the membership charge or if there are hidden costs. Check out the cardio area, the nautilus area, the weight area, and also the room or rooms where the fitness classes are held. Newer state of the art workout machines are a pleasure to use, though a gym with adequate safe equipment (yet not top notch equipment) may be acceptable if the friendly neighborhood feel you are looking for is there. Check the gym and locker areas and see if there are enough showers and a sauna, Jacuzzi or steam shower. Look at the changing and dressing area and see if it looks comfortable. Most gyms offer a tour to sell you a membership. I would take the tour also as you will get a feel for the place. Some gyms have things like racquet ball courts and gymnasiums for coed sports in addition to the fitness classes.

    If you are into fitness classes, make sure that they have the type of classes that you want such as aerobics, yoga, and low impact pilates. Make sure to check the times they are offered as many gyms offer classes only at the after work peak hours. If you can get a temporary pass (such as two weeks, or a few day passes) to the gym it is a good idea as then you can really get a feel for the facilities. After a few visits, you can better determine if they offer what you need and if you really want to join.

    Some gyms have personal training. I personally can’t afford that. But if it is something you are joining the gym for you have to check everything out. A gym might have only one or two personal trainers on staff so you better be sure you like them and their approach to getting in shape. You also need to check out pricing because that is more money on top of the basic membership to get personal training sessions. If you have no clue how to work out, some training sessions can be helpful. Find a trainer that has the credentials and experience to work with people in your age range. Older folks need qualified and experienced trainers, especially if you have a bad back, or arthritis, osteo or any kind of existing injury. Be really careful.

    I have a little thing about different rooms and areas. It’s always nice if you can do cardio watching T.V. or the radio with headphones, and then go off into some other room to workout on the nautilus machines. A gym with some good scenery and a variety of places you can go inside of it can be rather nice.

    The Contract and Fine Print

    Most gyms these days are really annoying in that they demand not only a join fee but that you have your gym payments deducted through automatic bank deductions. At one point I joined LA Fitness gym and was required to have automatic deduction of the monthly fees. I joined this as a second gym to go to periodically for a change of scenery. This particular LA Fitness was a beautiful plush gym as far as gyms go, and a longer drive from my home than the one I usually go to. In the end I never ended up going quite enough to justify the 30/month fee on top of the 30/month fee I was paying at my local neighborhood gym. When I realized I could just do a walk in and pay $15 per visit, I decided it wasn’t worth paying the monthly anymore. If I wanted to go there once in a while, I could just pay the $15 and save money on the monthly.

    Long story short, it was a nuisance to resign membership and stop the monthly charges. I had to print out documents, sign things, and mail them a certain way to places in order to quit the charge. It was really annoying, the documents got lost, and in the end they charged me a few extra months before I could squelch it. Something about first and last month fee, and so on. Funny how you can join a gym with your credit card on the spot yet quitting the gym requires Publishers Sweepstakes like shenanigans!

    Women’s Verses Coed Gyms

    Another aspect of importance to some women is privacy. Some women want an all female gym. For me personally, I like at least a little man watching so I doubt I would join an all women’s gym. I will say though, when in a rush I go to the gym looking rather sleepy and I head right for the women’s area. I like a gym that has a co-ed workout area yet also a separate women’s room with nautilus machines. I love that my gym has that! I very often go in the women’s room when I don’t want to see anyone. When I’m feeling well groomed (and bored of looking at women), I workout in the coed room for a change of pace and scenery. Eye candy.

    A coed Jacuzzi is another factor. I used to not mind a cood male/female shared Jacuzzi. But the more I went, the more I realized even the old guys can be a bit, well “lechy”. I don’t want to feel self conscious or stared at in a bikin or swimsuit. I don’t need to see a retiree picking his toe nails right in from of me. Thus, its great when there is a Jacuzzi, steam shower or at least a sauna in the ladies locker room. Then, you have privacy. These are all things to consider if you are going to be using the luxury amenities. I like creature comforts.

    Cost of Membership

    This goes without saying. Look at all the fine print. Wow they make it easy to join and darn near impossible to un-join. Figure out what exactly you are paying for, if there is a membership initiation on top of first and last, and so on. Sometimes a trial membership if they have one, is worth checking out. If they don’t have a trial membership for like two weeks, they often have a walk in fee. For $15 dollars most gyms let you walk in, sign a waiver and workout. That could be worthwhile just to try the gym on for size a few times and make sure you can commit.

    Joining a gym is akin to a marriage and signing the gym membership contract is the prenuptial agreement your partner is trying to get you to sign FYI. Make sure you know what you are getting yourself into. Don’t be rushed or pressured into joining because of a promotion they have. Promotions are typically a join incentive gimmick and when you show up the next month they will probably have a promotion too.

    Cost is definitely a factor. Yet I would pick the gym that I felt most likely to workout at consistently regardless of price. It’s worth it if you use it. Gym memberships don’t usually cost all that much so pick the one you truly believe you’ll be taking maximum advantage off. A convenient location and a comfortable feeling like you fit in are paramount. Local neighborhood gyms, Community center gyms, YMCA and recreational centers have joined the gym business and sometimes you can find a great place to workout at for a low price. Take your time.

    Crowds and Peak hours

    If you have plans to use the facility at approximately the same times when you go, you might want to scope out the crowd situation during those times. There is a local YMCA with a brand new gym near where I live. The equipment is great yet I would never join because the nautilus machines get too crowded and there are people waiting. I like to be able to move through the machines lazily and slowly so I don’t want people waiting on me and having to break into what I am doing. It is also hard to find a parking spot there and I don’t wish to drive in circles. Crowded nautilus and cardio machines, parking issues and over flowing classes are really a turn off unless of course you are there to seriously people watch. If “people watching” is your thing, the more crowded the better. Check how many cardio machines they have. Sometimes people have to twiddle their thumbs while waiting for a stair climber or treadmill to open up (not good).

    On the flip side, a tiny gym with hardly any members might be great yet beware the fly by night gym that appears in your neighborhood for a while then disappears off the face of the earth on you. Near where I live there was a tiny Family Fitness Express that opened up that was pretty cute yet it was miniscule and after a year or two it was gone with the wind. Private fitness centers go in and out of business all the time and you don’t want your membership fee to vanish into thin air.

    Cleanliness and Luxury

    Luxury definitely includes an outdoor pool, or at the very least a nice indoor pool. In addition, a good Jacuzzi, sauna or steam shower is nice if you plan on changing there or spending several hours pampering and doing hair and makeup. Check if the gym offers day care, how much it costs if there are extra charges, and the daycare hours of operation. You also want to be able to feel comfortable walking to and from your car. I would avoid gyms in questionable areas unless they have obvious security inside and out in the parking lot. Some luxury gyms have parking problems like time limited parking in structures requiring validation and possibly extra fees if you overstay.

    Likelihood of Going to Workout

    A gym membership is not worth buying if you think you won’t use it. So many people join a gym to get some private training sessions, only to flake out of the training because of the cost. Eventually they flake out of the gym too. I also know people that have joined places like Curves fitness and got into it for only a short while only to flake out and never go back. I personally tend toward a conveniently located gym with a decent offering of several rooms filled with cardio machines, nautilus equipment and classes.

    I like a neighborhood feel and do not necessarily need to be at the most state of the art “shi-shi” place. Some of the really high end gyms have a younger membership constituency. You don’t want to feel like an old lady up against a bunch of college hotties in bra tops. The crowd is really important and determines your comfort level. A gym with a pool and those senior swim classes is always good because that type of offering brings in the older crowd of people too. Follow the water woggle! Overall, the key is to join a gym that is conveniently located, where you feel comfortable, and that you can get in and out of the place safely and quickly.

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