If you can't
seem to stick with a workout routine, it may not be you-it may
be your gym. The wrong gym can affect your motivation-and it can
even cause you to give up on your body building routine. Don't
let this happen to you; choose a gym that will keep you coming
back. Here are ten things to look for when choosing a gym.
that fits yours. Not every gym has a great schedule for you.
Think about when you're likely to work out-early in the morning,
late at night, or during the day. If you prefer to go to the gym
late at night after all your day's chores are over, you should
look for a 24-hour gym. If you plan to head to the gym in the
morning before you go to work, make sure your gym opens early
enough to accommodate your schedule-not all of them do.
and convenience. You'd be surprised how much a long commute
to the gym can affect your motivation. Many people stop going
if it takes longer than thirty minutes or so to get there. Choose
a gym that's near where you live or where you work, and you'll
be more likely to stick with your workout.
trainers. Especially if you're just starting out, you'll need
the advice of someone with experience to get started in the right
form. When checking out a new gym, look around at the trainers
and staff. Do they seem helpful and knowledgeable? Do you notice
them helping people who are having trouble with the machines or
have terrible form with the free weights? Are they approachable
and friendly? Look for a gym with trainers who are focused on
customers and willing to show you the ropes.
that's not too crowded. You shouldn't have to wait in line
all the time just to get through your workout. Visit a new gym
at the time you'll probably work out, and look to see how crowded
it is. If it's a zoo, you'll probably hate going there. It's also
not a bad idea to visit your new gym during "prime time"-the
time when it's the busiest. For many gyms, this is either early
in the morning or early in the evening, just before or just after
work for most people. This will show you how bad you can expect
it to get.
equipment for everyone. Is there only one of each machine?
Unless this is a gym that never gets crowded, this may be a sign
of trouble. If there's only one of each piece of equipment you're
likely to use, you may find yourself waiting in line during the
busy periods. Look for a gym that has enough equipment to accommodate
everyone, even during prime time.
that fits your budget. Some gyms are more cost-efficient than
others. Gyms with dozens of state-of-the-art exercise machines
and endless classes and options will naturally cost more. Bear
in mind, though, that you can develop a perfectly effective body
building routine using only free weights-you don't need all the
expensive extras and add-ons of an expensive gym. If all you can
afford are the basics, don't sweat it-you'll still get a good
range of free weights. Free weights are the most important
equipment a body builder uses. You'll need to make sure your gym
carries a weight range that works for you. Some gyms have barbells
that only go up to 100 lbs or so; but many body builders need
weights as heavy as 220 lbs. Make sure they have heavy enough
free weights to allow you to grow. Look for iron weights, not
rubber; rubber tends to chip and can lessen the weight of the
equipment and facilities. Cleanliness is crucial to any gym.
Think about how many people have sweated on that bench before
you. Does the gym provide towels and do people use them? Do the
users wipe down the equipment after their use? Does the gym make
disinfectant and paper towels available? Are the bathrooms and
locker rooms clean and well-kept, and are the machines in good
repair? Is the free weight section well-organized?
atmosphere. Do you hate the music at your gym? Sure, you can
bring your own music-but you might have to turn it up louder than
you'd like to drown out the awful '80's dance music they're piping
in. In addition, if there are televisions in every room, you may
find this distracting-and a bad television show can be just as
difficult to drown out as bad music. If you find the atmosphere
makes it difficult for you to focus on your workout, this isn't
the gym for you.
members. It may sound trivial, but the other members of the
gym can also affect your experience there. Some gyms are social
gathering places, and others are meat markets-where people go
to check each other out rather than to get fit. If the people
around you are as focused as you are, you'll probably have a better
experience. But if you aren't comfortable with the atmosphere
at the gym, you probably won't keep coming back.
gym can make the difference between a workout routine you abandon
and one you stick with. Choose your gym carefully, and you're
more likely to look forward to going there rather than dreading
Jean Lam is the webmaster of Body
Building Resource which provides articles on weight training,
nutrition and fitness, body building book and DVDs.
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