What makes you choose a gym?

How to choose the gym that’s best for you

‘Gym life’… it says it all in this one phrase. The gym is a big part of someone’s life, and therefore makes the decision of choosing a gym a very important one.

Jordan Jensen, BU Co-Founder and Confidence & Purpose Coach, says: “The biggest part of figuring out which gym is for you is first finding out what you actually want from the gym. After working with hundreds of different people struggling with maintaining exercise and a healthy lifestyle and overcoming a poor body image, it has become very apparent that most people exercise because they feel like they have to, or because they are unhappy with how their body is at the moment.

“This is not a sustainable way to incorporate exercise and health into a lifestyle and is most likely going to contribute to exercise burnout and a negative relationship with exercise and nutrition. The most important thing to look for in a gym is a place which you look forward to going to, which makes exercise and nutrition fun and entertaining. If you are going to a place which promotes the grind, and just push through it, you are in a bad place which does not understand the psychology of wellness or motivation and will only be passing on their dysfunction down to you.”

Shannon Bond, Personal Trainer (PT) at The Sports Super Centre Gold Coast, says: “My colleagues and I regularly discuss how we look for three main things in a gym. The most important one is the vibe and atmosphere, which means professional and friendly staff, un-intimidating members, and the cleanliness of the facility. The second is the quality of the equipment itself and the range of facilities available (for example a sauna and pool), The third is not being pushy in sales and harassing phone calls to people who trial the gym. I believe that is extremely important.”

Derek Zemmin, a Nutritional Therapist and Speaker, adds: “Choosing a gym is like choosing what kind of car you want to buy. If the salesman is a jerk, chances are that you will go elsewhere. Of course, you need it for a test drive to see how well it handles, then compare it with other cars on the market. When you have started to narrow the gap on which one you are going to go with, then comes the other part; cost, convenience, extras, and facilities.”

With that said, we’ve spent some time speaking to the people that matter the most (the members) and we’ve discovered some of the main reasons they would choose a particular gym.

The cost of the gym


The cost of a monthly membership is the main objective, and unlike sponsored athletes, the ‘average joe’ must fork out for their gym membership. Having a reasonable price for the services offered is paramount; value for money talks! However, you do have a sliding range of cost from the likes of Pure Gym, which will give you access to the basics, to the luxury Harbour Club in Fulham, where treadmills are made from the finest marble, and champagne is available on tap.

London’s KX (pronounced ‘kicks’), for example, is £575 a month, but it has a great atmosphere, which just might be due to the fact that it offers state-of-the-art fitness equipment, steam rooms, a sauna, and access to the likes of dressing gowns, slippers and free fancy toiletries in the changing rooms. Yes, this might be a bit steep for most of us, but their popularity shows that not everyone goes to the gym for the same reason; some may want the basics to get fit, while others may want to surround themselves with like-minded people or be able to boast that they go to a prestigious gym.

The lesson here? Know your audience’s needs and cater to them; though make sure the cost reflects what you can offer.

The other gym members


There’s nothing worse than trying to fit a square peg into a round hole; as much as you try, it just never works. The same applies to member profiles at the gym. Let’s face it, your members want to be surrounded by people who they feel comfortable around; people they can relate to, share knowledge with, and build rapport.

People tend to frequent with people who share similar traits, and this is never more apparent than within the gym scene… Body builders need their spotter, cross fitters need to be surrounded and shouted at, whereas the average just wants to get in and get out without being harassed for the latest tips on protein powder. People attract people.

For Shannon Bond, PT at Sports Super Centre Runaway Bay on the Gold Coast; “The most important one is the vibe and atmosphere – professional and friendly staff, unintimidating members and cleanliness of the facility.”

The gym’s equipment and classes


People have certain goals, objectives and aspirations they want to achieve. The equipment and classes need to meet the standards and desires of the potential new member for it to be a perfect fit. Are you looking to create the next cross fit cult with power racks, bands and chains? Or are you going after the cardio crazies with the latest hi-tech spin classes and HIIT classes? Maybe you want to offer your members something a little different by setting up a racket club, or investing in the equipment you need for them to engage in a game of table tennis? These details are the core of any gym.

Inna Ishchenko, Founder of Online Travel Journal, Innagram, says: “I’ve been attending various gyms around the globe for probably about 18 years, with some breaks in-between. I also started a fitness instructor course when I was 16. I have found that caring about details is important; for example, it’s nice to have a decent blow dryer in the changing rooms. In some gyms, they use weird outdated white ones that don’t really work.

“Having adequate space is also very important. I would even be keen to pay a slightly higher price for a membership or, perhaps, having shorter classes if this meant there were fewer people in the room at one time. You simply cannot concentrate on your body and the exercise you’re doing when you’re thinking about how not to kick the person next to you by accident! Also, you have less attention from the trainer. If there are too many people, the couch normally cannot correct everyone’s mistakes. If you are doing an exercise the wrong way, the effectiveness of that exercise is low, and the possibility of getting injured is higher.”

The convenience of the gym


People want a gym that is on route to work or close to their home. What they don’t want, is a convenient reason to skip the gym. Gym goers will fit in a session before or after work and even at lunch, which means they need fast access. Let’s face it, nobody wants to travel out of the way to squeeze in a ‘quick workout’.

Will, Founder of Fully Gaming says:  “The convenience is my one of my main concerns when choosing a gym. A big part of the reason I go to my current one is because it’s on my route to and from work. If I ever want to go I have no excuse because I’m passing the door anyway! I don’t go enough as it is, and if it wasn’t convenient to visit, it’s just another excuse not to go!”

The cleanliness of the gym


The gym is very much hands-on and this is a point that is gaining a lot of momentum at the moment. Members shouldn’t be disinfecting the dumbbells, mopping up puddles of sweat, or wiping down treadmills; not to mention encountering odorous changing rooms! Gyms have a bad rep for not being the cleanest of places, and this isn’t something that goes unnoticed. The cleaner your gym, the healthier your member numbers… Simples.

The gym’s opening hours


A gym that goes above and beyond by being there when their members need them the most is a very popular gym! That doesn’t mean 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (although there are instances of these). It means being open at a time convenient to your target audience.

These are just a handful of reasons why people choose particular gyms over others, and we’d be here all day if we tried to tackle them all. No member or gym are the same – please the majority, and you and your gym are onto a winner!

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