PICK THE PERFECT GYM
Want to kick-start your fitness plan this year? Here’s how to find the right gym for you
Hello, February! It’s time to get fit. No surprises there, then. Dropping pounds and building muscle are among the most common new year’s resolutions – and the crafty gym chains know it. Every January, fitness clubs across the nation offer discount deals and promotions to attract new members and help gym rats make good on their resolutions. The problem? Research shows that a whopping 60 percent of newbies haven’t used their membership by February. Don’t be a statistic! Instead, make keeping fit a fun and fruitful activity by following our guide to choosing a gym that will inspire you to exercise – all year long.
If all goes to plan, you’ll be spending a lot of time at the gym, so don’t sign up to the first fitness centre you come across. ‘There are many reasons for selecting a gym, but most important is to choose one that will meet your overall fitness goal,’ says Ben Pratt, tutor manager at Premier Training International. ‘This means considering the different types of gyms available – your local leisure centre, private health club, chain gym, boutique studio and CrossFit warehouses.’ Is it full of equipment you’ll enjoy using? If you love yoga and can’t stand weightlifting, a CrossFit club may not be for you. Ask friends and co-workers for details of the best gyms in your area.
Sure, you’re enthusiastic about getting fit, but don’t kid yourself you’ll be prepared to drive to a gym that’s miles away when your enthusiasm dwindles. Take note – the farther away your gym is, the harder it will be to stick to your workout regime. As a general rule, look at fitness centres less than 10 minutes away from either work or home. Which brings us to our next point – consider when you’ll be most likely to workout. Will you want a gym that’s close to work, allowing you to get fit in your lunch hour? Or do you harbour hopes of spending weekends at a gym close to home? The location of your chosen gym should be as convenient as possible.
Want To Kick-Start Your Fitness Plan This Year? Here’S How To Find The Right Gym For You Photo Gallery
3.TRAIN TO TIME
Are you a morning bird or a night owl? A weekend warrior or daily fitbie? h’s really important to consider when you’ll be working out. For example, some gyms close early on Sundays, while others stop letting people in 30 minutes before the scheduled closing time, If you’re likely to be hitting classes, check the studio schedule – are the activities you enjoy available at the times that suit you? And if you work really odd hours, look into gyms that are open 24/7. ‘A gym that allows you to train at night will fit it into a busy schedule,’ explains Lee Greenhall, a fitness expert at 24-hour PureGym. ’Plus, 24/7 gyms normally have a flat rate membership, meaning you pay the same each and every month.’
4. IS THE PRICE RIGHT?
We Brits waste a staggering £37m on unused gym memberships, so don’t go broke tying yourself into a costly contract! Sure, it’s important to consider what you want from a gym – if you expect master trainers, top notch kit and the latest classes, a higher fee may be worth taking into consideration – but remember that pay-as-you-go personal training, such as Moose X-Training (themoose.uk.com), and low-cost gyms, such as easyGym (easygym.co.uk), are also available. ‘Budget gyms offer large facilities with a wide range of equipment at rock bottom prices,’ says Pratt. ‘However, many don’t have full-time staff, and membership numbers are often very high.’ One final thing – don’t forget to check the smallprint! Some gyms charge a small penalty if you cancel a contract early. Others allow you to cancel the contract if your circumstances change, such as if you are injured. Find out where you stand.
5. GO FOR A TEST DRIVE
Found a gym you love? Hurrah! Now it’s time to try it out. Most good gyms will give potential members the chance to walk around the centre before joining, so be sure to visit it at the time of day you’re most likely to work out, Some will even allow non-members to try the goods before signing a contract. Chain gyms, such as Fitness First, give existing members the chance to bring a friend to their workout with them. Don’t have a gym buddy? Some centres offer guest passes for non-members. Try before you buy to consider whether the equipment, atmosphere, trainers, classes and facilities are right for you.
WHAT’S YOUR GYM PERSONALITY?
Are you a fitness socialite in search of a gym community or a lone ranger in need of an effective workout? Take our quiz to find the best gym for you.
YOUR IDEAL WORKOUT
A. Fun and refreshing
B.Varied. I like to try different things
C. Solitary. Away from prying eyes
D. Led by an expert
E. The perfect way to de-stress
MOSTLY As Outdoor gym Do you hear that sound? It’s the great outdoors calling. Workouts in confined spaces on man-made machinery are not for you. Outdoor gyms – bootcamps, sports clubs and gyms offering outdoor classes – are booming, and for good reason. They burn lots of calories, boost mood and offer varied training.
LOOKING BACK AT YOUR EXERCISE HISTORY, YOU HAVE…
A. Never stuck to a gym routine but lived an active lifestyle
B. Always exercised but not consistently
C. Dabbled with workout DVDs
D. Exercised consistently, working hard to improve
E. Tried lots of activities but never stuck with any of them
MOSTLY Bs Chain gym You want a gym that has a wide range of top-spec equipment, plenty of classes and the option of working out alone. Welcome to the chain gym. Brand gyms such as Fitness First and David Lloyd are available in most towns. They have the disposable income to offer top notch kit, classes, trainers and facilities.
WHAT’S YOUR MAIN EXERCISE GOAL?
A.To enjoy a new activity
B .To zap daily stress
C. To get fit and healthy
D.To reach your peak physical condition
E To lose unwanted pounds
MOSTLY C’s Home gym You’re full of motivation but like to dance to your own beat. Time to try a home workout. Home gyms can be super-cheap, if you’re happy exercising with minimal kit, and are fast becoming increasingly sociable, thanks to interactive apps and online workouts. The home gym is a great starting point for newbies and self-conscious exercisers.
YOUR BUDDY HAS BOUGHT YOU AN INDOOR BIKE. YOU FEEL…
A. Mortified. What’s wrong with a mountain bike?
B. Tempted to buy a stepper, dumbbell set and treadmill, too
C. Excited. It’s exactly what you wanted
D. Disappointed it’s not a specialist bit of kit
E. That it’s a waste of Money
MOSTLY Ds Micro-gym Getting fit isn’t enough – you want to maximise your performance. Say ‘hello’ to the micro-gym. Offering specialist training with skilled instructors, micro gyms specialise in one or two types of training and charge high-end fees for them. With SoulCycle, Bikram, Barry’s Bootcamp and CrossFit proving popular, these gyms are seriously sought after,
WHAT KEEPS YOU MOTIVATED WHEN WORKING OUT?
A.Trainers and fitness coaches
B .The rush of adrenaline
C.Your inner cheerleader
D.Your workout buddies
E .Your inner critic
MOSTLY Es Budget gymS someone say ‘low-cost’? You can make do with of any piece of kit, as long as it’s not costing you the earth. With money-saving as your main concern, the budget gym is ideal. Expect big spaces with plenty of kit and people for £10 per month. Just don’t expect saunas or spas.
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