This is often overlooked as an important factor to consider in your fitness journey, but joining the right gym can have a profound effect on your results. Not only are practical elements vital to ensure your gym visits can fit in with your daily life, but the environment in which you train in is hugely important to your success.
First of all, if a gym is too expensive, too far away or simply not open when you'd ideally like to train, it instantly creates excuses and barriers to exercise which could be avoided by choosing a different gym. On days when you may not have hours of time for a gym session, an hour round trip is going to be both impractical and unappealing, resulting in a missed gym session. If you are not within a suitable distance of a gym, some Personal Trainers are happy to travel to you and utilise any space at home or outside you might have to get a great workout in. If opening hours are often a struggle for you, many gyms now have long opening hours to fit around busy work/social lives, and some are even open 24 hours a day!
Cost is another potential barrier. Membership prices differ greatly with some 'premium' clubs in London charging upwards of £500/month; fortunately however, prices in Canterbury are significantly lower! For low usage, day passes can be cheaper in the long run and
https://www.payasugym.com/ offers this for thousands clubs around the UK with no contract attached.
Once you have narrowed down your selection to practical and affordable options, it's time to look at the facilities, Personal Trainers and the environment.
Knowing what you want to use the gym for (you may love spin classes, want plenty of studio space, require spa facilities etc), allows you to then evaluate the facilities offered to see if they match your criteria and are in a well kept state. A gym may look great and have extensive equipment, but if it doesn't offer your favourite class, you are far less likely to go regularly. I personally train my clients from Lifestyle Fitness in Canterbury which has great facilities, catering to most aspects of fitness (https://www.lifestylefitness.co.uk/canterbury).
The quality of Personal Trainers is key to a great gym. Even if you aren't planning on hiring one it's important that there are friendly and knowledgable trainers on hand to help and give advice to ensure you get the most out of your training in the safest way possible. It should be evident who the trainers are and they should be able to answer any questions you may have. Lastly, the training environment. No matter how great a gym is, it has to be a pleasant place to train. It should be kept clean, equipment working and not too crowded (a tip is to visit when you will likely be working out to gauge how busy it is). Some gyms can be intimidating, so you need to make sure that you are comfortable training there and that you like the general atmosphere.
On a final note, it's also important to think about if you really need to join a gym at all. If you love exercising outdoors, playing a sport, or you're happy working out at home, joining a gym might be a waste of money - a gym membership is not the only way to get fit and lead a healthy lifestyle.
My Advice? Before joining a gym my advice would be to contact a local sports club whose membership may be an annual fee that is minimal in comparison to a gym membership and allows you use of their gym. I play for Canterbury rugby club (https://cantrugby.co.uk/who) have great facilities