Thursday, December 18, 2008

Five steps to choose a new gym

Not even a sign on the door, but my Ballys gym is closing. I have seen many gyms come and go over the years and Ballys prevailed, is this end of the big gyms?

What do you do when your gym goes out of business?

I joined Ballys when I moved to Florida, bought a lifetime membership for the whole family. It has been almost 20 years, the good news for me is we are all alive and well, the bad news for Ballys is life is apparently over.

The big questions being asked in the gym is where are you going to workout when the doors get locked. Being that I live in central Florida there is a hand full of gyms to choose from.

On the surface you would think this is something simple to do. But there are a lot of considerations in choosing a gym, and you need to do a little groundwork before you sign on that dotted line.

First and foremost is location, to me this is on the top the list. I don’t know about you but if I have to spend too much time driving to and from the gym it will just take all the fun out of going. And for some people im sure it will open up the door for making an excuse not to go.

Second is how crowded is it in the gym when you want to go? Most people have a set schedule when they can work out, so it would be in your best interest to actually go to that gym at that time to see how many people are working out there.

The point of going to a gym is to actually be able to work out when you are there, but if there is a waiting line for the equipment it defeats the purpose of going.

This is the biggest complaint about big gyms, being overcrowded at peak times.

Third is what type of equipment they have for you to use, this is where a lot of gyms can vary completely. Most gyms offer a free weights section, and depending on your fitness level and goals will dictate if the gym is for you.

If you are new to working out and only looking to tone muscle, the basic free weight section in most gyms will fit your needs. But if you are looking to build muscle, or have been lifting for some time you need to scope out the free weight section carefully.

In order to keep building muscle you need to keep constantly challenge your muscles in your workouts, you can accomplish this in two ways. Lift the weight you have in less time (faster tempo) or lift heavier weights.

Sooner or later you will end up needing more weight.

If the gym you join has a limited amount of free weights, your progress will stop at some point. And if you joined that gym with hopes of getting that lower renewal fee a couple of years down the road you just wasted your money.

Or if you have been lifting for a while you might be in for a serious disappointment on day one. I stopped by a gym called Planet Fitness to check out there free weight room, the first thing I checked was how heavy the dumbbells went up to.

Only 75pounds, for me this was a problem. I constantly switch between barbells and dumbbells and I am used to using 100-pound dumbbells on many exercises.

The next thing I noticed is there were no weight racks in the gym for plates. So I started looking to see how much weight was at each station. Only two 45-pound plates at each bench press and incline press.

So asked the girl where are the 45 pound plates and she points over to the leg press machine that was about 25 feet away from the free weight area. A quick count gave me about 16 45-pound plates, again for me was a problem.

If i alone used just the leg press machine the rest of the gym would stop, if this weren’t bad enough it gets worse. They even have an alarm in the free weight room that goes off if you drop a dumbbell.

Don't get me wrong this was a very nice gym, it just didnt fit my needs.

A simple thing like no mirrors, or mirrors in the wrong place can have a dramatic effect on the quality of your workout. I checked out a new Golds gym once and they actually had the small benches bolted to the floor.

This brings me to the Fourth thing to check out, gym rules. These can range widely also from gym to gym.

Some basic rules that you might find:

Bring a towel, great rule. No one wants to sit or lay in anyone’s sweet.

No tank tops, Bad rule. Nothing is more de motivating than to have the muscle you are working covered up.

Put your weights away, great rule. Safer workout area, faster workouts. I never understood why anyone would go to the gym to workout, but be too lazy to put the weights back in the racks.

No moaning or groaning lifting weights. I had to add the weight part for the perverts out there LOL. If you ever have tried to lift an extreme amount of weight you most likely let out a moan or groan along the way. It simply goes with the territory of heavy lifting.

I can understand no screaming or yelling, but come on. God forbid you got constipated in the gym the alarm would go off LOL.

With that being said, it seems the bigger gyms are adopting some rules that are counter productive to working out. Its no wonder why they go under, the big gyms are only looking for people to pay memberships dues not keep working out.

A gym is supposed to be motivational, you should be going there to get results. In order to get results you need the proper environment to achieve your fitness goal. This requires a wide variety of free weights set up in the right places; you also need to see people working out there that will inspire you.

I cant tell you how many times older people came up to me thanking me for inspiring them to try harder, and younger guys would mimic my routine

Not to mention how are you supposed to learn how to work out correctly? Oh I forgot that’s how gyms really screw you over. This brings me to the fifth and most important thing to really check over, the contract.

Never ever sign a contract without reading in completely, or let anyone draft your bank account for billing. This can be a hard lesson to learn in life, just do a google search on La Fitness if you don’t believe me.

The new game is to put in vague language that gives them the right to change the contract at any given time. This happened to my son at La fitness, he joined with a set renewal rate only to have them raise it saying that contract is no longer valid.

There was a day when gyms were about working out; the big corporate gyms pushed them out of business to sell memberships. But in the process created an environment that was counter productive to working out, creating there own paradox.

People will quit a gym because they are not benefiting from the experience, other people wont join a gym since they cant benefit. Leaving only one outcome, closing.

Is this the end of the big gyms?

Want to know more? see- Is super slow training for you ?

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