How to Find and Choose a Gym in Your Area

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Getty Images/Dave and Les Jacobs

Whether your goal is to lose weight, gain muscle or stay healthy, joining a gym could be an important step in reaching it. It's also a big investment, so you want to make sure you choose the right gym for you. The right gym will be convenient, within your budget and have the fitness classes, equipment or sports facilities you need to get the most out of your workouts. Your first step is to find a gym near you.

Finding a Gym Near You

The most important thing to look for when joining a gym is convenience. Gyms that are too far out of your way, chances go down that you'll actually show up. If it's on the way home from work or just minutes from your house, you'll be much more motivated to get to that early morning spin class or weight workout. The following list gives you the inside scoop on the best gyms in your area:

You can also visit the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) to find gyms in your area.

What to Look For When Joining a Gym

Aside from convenience, you'll want to make sure your gym has everything you need to reach your goals.

Doing things you enjoy is the best way to ensure you'll actually use your membership. There are other important things to consider and the IDEA Health & Fitness Association offers great tips for choosing the right gym for you, including:

  • Find out about any additional sign-up fees or extra charges before signing on the dotted line.
  • Visit the gym during the times you want to exercise to make sure it isn't overcrowded.
  • Take tours of the gyms you're interested in and make sure they have the cardio and weight training equipment you want to use.
  • On your tour, pay attention to the details. Is it clean? Are the machines in good shape or are there too many 'Out of Order' signs? Make sure the temperature is comfortable and there's plenty of air circulation.
  • If you're interested in fitness classes or programs, take a look at the class schedule to make sure they have classes you enjoy at convenient times.
  • Make sure staff members are qualified experts. Personal trainers and fitness instructions should have accredited certifications, have knowledge of anatomy, physiology and exercise and should also be trained in CPR.

You don't have to join a gym to get a good workout, but gyms offer more variety, more energy and more resources for getting you started on the right foot. To get the most of your gym membership, do your research and don't settle for less than what you need to a great workout.

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