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10 Things You Need to Know About Joining a Gym

If you've recently decided to commit to a healthier lifestyle by joining a gym here are some guidelines to enable you to avoid making costly mistakes.

1. Gym Facilities:
Some clubs consist of a single aerobics studio while others may offer 3 climate controlled studios, fully equipped gym, pools, spa, indoor/outdoor tennis courts and squash courts. You may not need a fully equipped centre if you only want to use the gym! The key is to choose a Club that is right for you.

2. Finding a Good Gym Service:
Does the club give good service? Staff should be happy and cheerful as well as know what they're talking about and importantly, they need to be able to talk to members. A good club has staff who give customers the motivation to stick to a routine and achieve their goals. When you visit a club for the first time investigate it thoroughly by walking around on your own and asking members if they would recommend it.

3. What to Look for When Inspecting a Gym:
Weight loss, conditioning or simple fitness needs? The club should have varied equipment types and in adequate numbers. If weight-loss is your goal you may well wish to burn some calories on the treadmills/bikes/steppers so be sure there are enough of them to go with the high volume of members at peak times. The last thing you want is to have to queue for use of equipment. On the conditioning side, look for clean gym stations and feel fee to ask if these are serviced regularly, as you want to be sure they are safe to use with no risk of injury to yourself. In addition, is there a mat area for stretching/abdominal work.

4. The Cost of Joining a Gym:
There are varying price scales, ranges of facilities and services. So look around to suit you budget.

5. Find the Right Gym:
Opening Hours. Club operating hours should fit in with your schedule. If you join a club close to home, make sure you can go in the early morning or evening.

6. Gym Classes on Offer:
If you like taking classes, make sure there is a wide range available. You should check to see that distinctions are made between beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.

7. Do You Feel Comfortable?
Do you feel comfortable in the club environment? Can you picture yourself working out in the gym? Some clubs have separate gyms for women and men, is this important to you? If you have children are they welcome at the club and if so at what times? Is there a crèche facility or perhaps children's activity programmes in place?

8. Gym Social Interaction:
Does the club have a social events calendar and is it the sort of thing you might be interested in? Perhaps you'll receive regular newsletters so you will not miss out on anything new, they might even send you birthday/Christmas cards. All of these could lead to you feeling just that little bit more comfortable and so more willing to stick to your fitness routine at the gym.

9. Ensure you are properly evaluated:
You should also receive advice on lifestyle, diet and apparel/footwear for your proposed activities. Advice on training and an individual training programme should also be provided and an induction to take you through this in detail.

10. Confident and Trustworthy Gym Staff:
The Fitness Industry Association (FIA) has introduced self-regulation, leading to the recent introduction of the Register of Exercise Professionals. This is a fabulous tool to give you confidence in the club's staff since instructors on the register should not only be adequately qualified, have insurance and first aid certificates in place, but must also commit to constantly updating such or they will be removed. Although not the only benchmark of a Club's competence, it is a good start when looking at the quality of the support and motivation you will get.
(This document is provided by a third party and does not necessarily represent the views of, Fitness TV (Media Fitness Ltd) or any of its Business Partners).
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