You’ve said goodbye to more gyms than lovers—and that’s saying a lot, given that you spend any downtime you get mindlessly scrolling through Tinder. Or any equivalent dating app. ?
So, does the problem lie with you? Well, that’s highly unlikely.
And we’re not saying that just so you feel better. As the cliché goes, there’s someone for everyone.
While we can’t help you with your dating life (sorry!), we could offer you some—probably much-needed—advice on how to choose a gym best suited to your unique needs and preferences.
#1: Think about what you need in a gym
Have you ever forked out good money for a membership at a gym with a fancy-ass sauna … only to realize that after the initial excitement wears off, it’s just a steamer?
And you're always trying to avoid eye contact with everyone else in the room? Talk about awkward.
As unbelievable as it may be, we have nothing against saunas. They're great for relaxation purposes (sometimes). But the point we're driving across here is that you need to be clear about your "must-haves".
For instance, if your training program includes loads of barbell movements, you should choose a gym equipped with at least five—or more—barbells. You won't have to stand around, counting down the minutes till a barbell opens up.
This will include "rare" machines like the hip thrust machine or the hack squat machine on the strength training front. And on the cardio side of things: would you need a Jacob's Ladder (i.e., the "StairMaster") or a fan rider?
#2: Consider your budget
Don't worry if your "must-have" list is a mile long and includes many questionable things (e.g., a swimming pool), don't worry. The next tip will help you trim the fat.
Be honest with yourself. How much money can—and are you willing to—spend on a monthly gym membership?
There's a gym that ticks every box on your "must-have" list but costs $500 a month. Is that a comfortable amount for you to fork out? Will you have enough money to pay rent, buy groceries (protein can get expensive!), invest, save, etc.?
If yes, good for you! But if not, re-examine your “must-have” list.
Re-order the items based on priority level, with the ones most important at the top.
For example, having access to several squat racks should come out on top of a swimming pool if you're serious about building muscle. Psst: there are plenty of low-impact cardio options available, including the elliptical or the rowing machine.
Once you’re done re-ordering the list, remove the low-priority items first—until your budget allows you to choose a gym with everything (or the majority of it).
#3: Read reviews
If you’ve done everything correctly, you should only be down to a handful of gyms.
Here’s where things get (slightly) more tedious. To boost the chances of a better fit, you’d want to “stalk” every selected gym’s socials—Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc.
What are users saying about them? Also, watch out for the way they respond to comments. Are they rude? Do they use a condescending tone even when the situation doesn't call for it? If a gym is rude online, they won't be the nicest people in person, too.
Be sure to comb through their Google reviews.
Take particular note of repeated grievances about the gym (e.g., "rude staff" or "bad smell" or "way too crowded"). Of course, some of these negative reviews may be unwarranted; maybe a particular user was unpleasant to deal with, or they caught a staff in a bad mood. Either way, that's what the next step is for.
#4: Make your way down
At this point, you can count the number of gyms you’re interested in making things official with one hand. That’s good. It means you’ve been thorough with the screening process.
And it also means that it’s—finally—time for you to make an on-site visit to each of the selected gyms.
That includes user demographics, music, and lighting. These may seem like minor, inconsequential considerations, but trust us: trying to complete your Romanian deadlifts while the dude beside you moans away on his pressing movements isn’t for the faint-hearted.
Oh, and be sure to check out the gym’s cleanliness level.
We all know just how dangerous germs and viruses can be by now, so there's likely no need to elaborate.
Pro-tip: a quick way to tell if a gym is clean is to peek at its bathrooms and corners. If the bathroom looks (and smells) like a gas station's and/or dust bunnies are visible in the corners, upkeep is an issue.
Have you gotten a good vibe from the gym? Don't be so quick to sign on the dotted line yet!
Before committing to a long-term contract, it may be wise to sign up for a trial. Most reputable gyms are more than happy to offer a one- or two-week trial—so that you can test out their facilities and be sure that it's a good fit.
During your trial period, evaluate if the gym truly serves your needs. Are you happy with the environment? Is its location convenient to get to?
Your fitness journey doesn't end with finding the right gym
Diligently going through the above-listed steps will significantly decrease the number of frogs you have to kiss before stumbling on the right gym for you. But, of course, that only marks the beginning (or a continuation, for those with more experience) of your fitness journey.
And for that, there’s no better guide than GymStreak—the AI-powered personal trainer app that’ll:
- Tailor your workout programs to your training goals (e.g., weight loss?)
- Tell you when to progressive overload for better progress
- Teach you proper form for maximum safety
- And a whole lot more
Sounds good? Download GymStreak now.