Things To Consider When Joining a Gym

Its December – that time of year when gyms start offering a special and people start thinking about getting healthier. Before you join a gym, here are a few things you should consider.

Things To Consider When Joining a Gym

Application Fee, Monthly Fee, Additional Fees

How much will it cost to join (application fee)? Typically some gyms have application fees to process the paperwork. I have seen these range from $10-$100. Fortunately many gyms will waive the fees or greatly reduce them this month and next month. Even if they are not having a special, ask if this can be waived. Ultimately they want your money monthly.

How much is the monthly fee? The amount you have to pay per month to be a member. Is it taxed or not? Is the fee locked in for the length you are a member? Most gyms now insist from either deducting from a debit card or charging to a credit card.

Are there any additional fees? Locker fees, towel fees, yearly maintenance/service fees, classes that require extra money, tanning, massage beds, etc. The gym may have tons of options – but will you be paying for each one separately? Try to get a list of these in writing so you will know in case you join the gym.

Length of Contract

My current gym requires a 3 year contract. Many other gyms in the area are month-to-month. Find this out before signing. If you plan to stay where you are (both home and work), a 3 year contract could be worth it. If you might be moving soon (another part of town or another city), try for a month to month gym.

Distance/Travel Time From Your House & Work

How far is the gym from your house? from your office? How long (time-wise) would it take to get there at the time(s) you would normally be going? The more convenient the gym is, the more often you will go. In the past, I tried to find a gym between my house and my office so I would be going past it twice each day.

Group Fitness Classes Offered

Does the gym offer group fitness classes? Are these included in your fee or extra? Get a schedule. Mark off the ones that don’t fit with your schedule. How many are left? Do they look intriguing to you? Ask how often they add more classes to the schedule. One thing I have been disappointed with in my gym is that they haven’t added more group fitness classes. The gym is now 2 years old and the classes (that come with your membership) are 90% the same as when they opened.

Locker Rooms

How big are the locker rooms? Are they clean? Do they provide locks or do you bring your own? Do they have showers? Amenities? My current gym has a VIP locker room (extra) where I have my own locker with my own code and I can store things. Is that an option? If you are going to be showering at the gym and then heading to work, the locker room is a very important place for you.


Not just the locker rooms, but how clean is the gym as a whole? Newer gyms tend to be cleaner. Are there machines broken and waiting on maintenance? Do people wipe the equipment down? Before my current gym I was a member at Planet Fitness. That place was CLEAN! Everytime I went someone was cleaning something – it was constant.

How Crowded Is it

Pick a couple of days during the week when you would normally go and visit. How crowded is the parking lot (can you get a space)? How crowded are the classes? Is there plenty of equipment? Can you get a locker? Are there time limits on equipment because of overcrowding?

What is Their Target Clientele

Some gyms are more “pickup” places, some cater to heavy lifters, others to families. It is important you feel comfortable at whatever gym you join. Some even now have women-only areas. Pay close attention when getting a tour of the gym. Can you SEE yourself working out here? Does the atmosphere feel friendly and comfortable?

Daycare/Options for Kids

While I don’t have kids, my gym is known for being family friendly. I have heard only raves about their childcare and kids activities. If you have kids (and might need to bring them with you to the gym), this is extremely important. Is childcare extra or included? Our members get 2 free hours per day of childcare so they can work out.

Your Budget & Schedule

Finally, make sure that any gym you join is in your budget (for the length of the contract) and works with your schedule (what are their hours). Joining a nice pretty gym won’t help you if it is too far for you to drive on a regular basis. First timer joining a gym? You might try to find something month-to-month to make sure you will like the atmosphere in general. If you can find a friend to join with you – even better.

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What do you look for in a gym? What is your favorite feature about your current gym?



One Response to “Things To Consider When Joining a Gym”

  1. So many yeses to the proximity to work and home.
    The first gym I joined I didn’t stop to think about how long it would take me to get there in rush-hour traffic. Let’s just say I turned around middrive more often than I’d like to admit 🙂