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10 Secrets for choosing a new gym 

10 Secrets for choosing a new gym 

Here are ten secrets you might not know about picking out the perfect gym

Here’s how to choose a gym—advice from Lindsay Wombold, who works for a health and wellness program at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, and Raphael Calzdilla, a fitness expert for

1. Waiving enrolment fees

10 Secrets for choosing a gym - Asian man joining gym on digital tablet as member with caucasian receptionist. Credit: PeopleImages

Gyms can always waive the “enrolment fee.” That fee is just a way for them to get more money out of you. If you don’t want to pay it, just tell the sales rep you’re going to join somewhere else. You’re pretty much guaranteed to have the fee waived. 

New to the gym? Check out our beginner-friendly cardio tips to get the ball rolling. 

2. Right to cancellation 

Make sure you can cancel at any time. You may even need to write on your contract that “per [salesperson’s name], I can cancel this membership anytime with no fees.” Have the salesperson sign and date it. Even better, have the manager sign and date it in case there’s turnover and your salesperson no longer works there. 

3. Know the gym’s busyness 

Find out when the gym is busiest, and make sure that works with your preferences. For instance, if you prefer to work out during a quiet time but the only time you can get to the gym is after work when the machines are mobbed, this might not be the best gym for you. 

"Find out when the gym is busiest, and make sure that works with your preferences"

If you find a gym that is perfect for your preferences and needs, visit our fitness tips to increase your health in 2023. 

4. Test with a trial 

Ask for a one-week trial and bring a friend. Your friend might be able to spot problems you didn’t see. 

5. Request free training 

Insist on a free personal training session if you join. If they already provide one, ask for two. 

6. Equipment maintenance matters 

10 Secrets for choosing a gym - Female cleaning dumbbells with alcohol sprayCredit: shutter_m

Ask how often the equipment is serviced and cleaned. Cleaning should be done daily; servicing at least once a month. 

7. Inspect the details

When you get a tour of the facility, check for torn benches and antiquated-looking cardio equipment, and inspect the cleanliness of the locker area. 

"Check for torn benches and antiquated-looking cardio equipment, and inspect the cleanliness of the locker area"

Alongside avoiding workout disasters, making sure the facility is working and clean is the best way to guarantee you have a productive gym session.

8. Beware of hidden fees

If the sales rep is wooing you with visions of Pilates and yoga classes, ask about additional fees. Many make you pay more for such classes. 

9. Oversold memberships 

Fitness clubs oversell memberships in the hope that people won’t go. If just 20 per cent of the members showed up at one time, most clubs would not have enough space or equipment to support them. Ask when the busiest times are, and show up then to see if the place is too crowded for your taste. 

10. Evaluate your trainers

10 Secrets for choosing a gym - A man and woman high fiving while doing push ups and exercising together at the gymCredit: PeopleImages

Personal trainers at gyms are on commission plus a small hourly rate. So beware of trainers who hound you to sign up for sessions—they’re most likely under pressure to make a sales goal.

"Beware of trainers who hound you to sign up for sessions"

Instead, get a sense of the trainer’s genuine passion for fitness. If he or she doesn’t pressure you, that’s a good sign. 

Banner photo credit: Drazen Zigic

If you're looking for a new spot to workout, see if TheGym is right for you.

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