Many have asked how I will start my bodybuilding endeavors. And my response is to enroll in a gym. So, before you do that, you must know what to look for in a gym.
1. Location. The first question that comes to mind is convenience. Is it located in a convenient location? Choose a gym that is close to your residence and or office. The physical location is important. Is it near a road? Or is it located in a mall? Is it prone to flooding? Traffic? It must be well-ventilated. It may be air-conditioned or has enough fans and windows to circulate the air.
2. Staff. Does the staff, from the people at the front desk to the attendants in the locker rooms, make you feel welcome and comfortable? From the minute you walk in the door, you should be made to feel welcome. Someone should greet you with a smile and offer assistance. Many small neighborhood gyms do not offer this kind of staffing, but if they do at least they must be courteous enough. Also look for the qualifications, and affiliations of their personal (fitness) trainers.
3. Personal Trainers. Do they offer staff or private personal trainers? If you have never used weight machines before, you want to make sure that the gym offers someone to show you the proper form for each exercise at a reasonable cost. Some gyms have staff trainers you can use for free.
4. Cleanliness. Is the gym clean? The gym should smell and look clean. Check the shower and locker areas, they should be clean with no mold or mildew. Also, check the pool and weight machines, everything should be neat without things on the floor to avoid tripping.
5. Equipment. When scouting, make sure they have enough weights to go around. They must have the right equipment at least to do the most basic of exercises. Like an ample number of weight plates, bars, mats, aerobic steps, water fountains, and other amenities.
6. Programs. Does the gym offer programs for your fitness level? Beginner, intermediate, and advanced programs should be available.
7. Number of Members. Do you have to wait in line? Visit the gym at about the time you will be working out. If this is the busiest time for the gym, you may have to wait to use the machines or other facilities, this could add time to your workout and be an inconvenience.
8. Parking and Security. If you will be going to the gym at night, make sure there is ample lighting in the parking lot. Also, check with the staff about any security concerns.
9. Budget. Some fitness centers will require you to sign long-term contracts and others offer monthly fees or specials. You know your financial situation better than anyone, so look for a gym that offers terms that fit your budget. Don’t get pressured to sign anything you are not comfortable with.
10. Operating Hours. A gym must conform to the client’s needs. Since you yourself have goals and a schedule to keep, the gym must have operating hours of at least 8 hours a day and the most is 16 hours, every day including holidays. Of course except for the really major holidays. But I would suggest a gym that operates for about 14-16 hours.
Overall rating? Ask yourself, on a scale of 1-10, where would you rate this gym? It should rank between 7 and 10, if not, you may want to look around a little more.