There are so many gyms out there – how can you find the perfect match? Our 9 compatibility questions will help you find your best gym!
How a good gym makes a big difference
Finding a great gym is a bit like dating. You know what you want, what you need, and what’s a deal-breaker for you. And you’re convinced the perfect one is out there…but sometimes you wonder if you’ll ever find each other.
And just like a great partner, a good gym will have a positive impact on your wellbeing and happiness. It will help you reach your fitness goals, sure, but can also be the place you grow in confidence, learn new skills, and make new friends.
Finding your perfect gym
With so many gyms and fitness facilities in your local area, you need to know how to narrow them down so you can find “the one”. All gyms are unique, and what works well for other people might not be right for you at all. So take your time to think about what you need.
The 9 factors of finding the best gym
We reckon we know a thing or two about finding great gyms (we’ve got thousands of them on our website!) These are the important questions to ask yourself as you start the search for your perfect gym.
Membership requirements – does it suit my budget?
Talking of membership, this is something you should look at before you sign on the dotted line. Not every gym has a simple, cancel any time approach to membership. Make sure you find out exactly what the initial costs are, and what they will be in future.
For most people, a standard monthly membership (with a clear cancellation policy) will be fine. But you might be someone who travels a lot, works shifts, or only wants to use this gym during the holidays. It’s important that the gym’s membership structure suits you, so you don’t end up out of pocket, paying for sessions you can’t use.
Can you pay as you go or do you have to pay monthly? If it’s a monthly membership, can you cancel any time or is there a notice period? Check to see how long any initial new member discount will last for.
Is this an independent gym, or are there others in the group (and if so can you use them under your membership?) See what else you might get for your membership – discounts to local cafes, money off on supplements, special offers on Personal Training. You could even ask if the gym holds special events like nutrition workshops or one-off training days. All of these things will help tip the balance when you are weighing up more than one gym.
Convenience – does it work for my schedule?
Where is the gym in relation to your home, school, or work? And will the opening hours fit with your schedule? There’s no point joining a gym that’s never open when you’re free. Next, you’ll need to think about the logistics of getting there so you can figure out how much time you’ll actually have for your workout.
Consider which days of the week you’ll want to go, and what time of day. Will it be easy to get there on your way into work or on a Saturday morning? If you’ll be driving, look at what the parking situation is like. If you use public transport, is the walk from the station to the gym safe?
Type of gym – can I train how I want to?
This is a pretty obvious one, but worth mentioning. What kind of gym do you want to go to? There’s no point joining a traditional bodybuilding gym if you like to do functional fitness or yoga. And you won’t enjoy a machine-based gym if you really love to hear the clank of barbells. These days there are so many different types of gym, from free weights and machines, to functional fitness, CrossFit, calisthenics, classes, indoor cycling, yoga, Pilates, group training, or private Personal Training studios.
Do you need a gym that has showers (make sure there are enough of them so you won’t need to queue)? Would you like the option of booking onto a class once in a while? What about coffee, protein shakes, and snacks. If these things are important, make sure your gym has them.
Staff – can they give me the right guidance?
Once you find your perfect gym, you’re going to be there several times a week. So you need to feel welcome, supported, and motivated. Take time to suss out the staff. Are they your kind of people? Do they strike the right balance of helping out vs leaving you to it? And if you think you’ll book Personal Training sessions in future, check to see who the PTs are and any costs involved.
People – does this gym have a good vibe?
The other people at the gym play a huge role in making the place a comfortable place to be. gym. Do you want to laugh and banter, be left to get on with it, train with other people, or even make new friends for life? This might be something you only discover after a couple of visits, but it’s worth bearing in mind as you start the search for the perfect.
Equipment – has it got the fitness kit I need?
You can’t train in a gym without equipment, so it’s crucial you think about what style of training you want to do. If you’re into functional fitness and calisthenics, you’ll need a gym with a rig and rings. If your aim is building serious muscle, your perfect gym will need some serious weights (and if you’re already strong, you should check that the dumbbells go beyond 20kgs!) Weightlifters and powerlifters need a lifting platform and squat rack. You get the idea.
Think about the equipment you need for your current training and any future goals as you progress through your fitness journey. And if you’d like to chill out with a yoga class or sit in the sauna once a week, find a gym that has it all under one roof.
Music – is this a good training atmosphere?
We all know that music can make or break a training session. Unless you want to spend the entire time with headphones on to drown out the best of Europop, find a gym that suits your vibe. This goes for music, TVs (some gyms play vintage bodybuilding shows, some stream Cash in the Attic….) and background noise.
Other services – what else do I need besides fitness equipment?
We’ve already talked about non-gym extras like showers, saunas, and protein shakes. These additional services can make the difference, especially if you’re super busy. Think about what the gym will represent for you. Will you show up, get it done, and leave? Or is it the place you’ll sometimes need to shower, respond to emails, and catch up with friends over a coffee? Do you need a gym that sells protein supplements and clothing?
Do you just want to go to the gym, or would you also like to do classes, swim, or be part of a running club? Do you need disabled access? These are the questions that can make or break a gym membership.