Here are a great bunch of tips I put together for you guys when trying to make a decision on which gym to choose!
Most of you know by now, I am a proud member of “PLANET FITNESS”, a gym who takes pride in their slogan of being a “Judgment Free zone”, and delivers that promise to its members every single day. Truthfully, my entire weight loss journey started with a random-spur of the moment decision to do a U-turn in the middle of the road and pull into a Planet Fitness in Shelton, CT. (which has since relocated to Derby, CT). Honestly, best decision I ever made. I was extremely self-conscious being over 400 lbs, and I walked in there, and not at 1 point felt I was being stared at or made fun of because of my size. That is how EVERY gym should be.
One thing that gets on my nerves is when people say, “A Gym Is A Gym”. UHM, NO! That might be your opinion, but don’t except someone morbidly obese to feel the same way, because I know I sure didn’t feel that way then, and I still don’t agree with that statement now. A gym isn’t just about where you go to sweat, its where you spend 1-2 hours a day. What you see, what happens around you matters. What is allowed at these facilities matter. Dress code, behavior, ETC matters. You being comfortable matters. How are you going to stick with making exercise a habit if you don’t feel comfortable where you work out?
Understand that there is no 1 set type of gym for people trying to lose weight, or maintain weight loss and another set gym for those who are trying to gain or bulk. But we all have 1 thing in common and that’s fitness, regardless of our goals, and that is HEALTH AND FITNESS. Keep that in mind. At no point should you feel intimidated or out of place, so you need to find the facility that you feel comfortable at. Find one with helpful employees that a friendly and make you feel welcome, that you can go to if you have a question or need helping using equipment. Check for cleanliness. No gym is “Clean”, lets be realistic here. The amount of germs inside of a gym or almost as much as an airport lol, but keep these things in mind: Are the Spray Bottles and Towels to wipe down your machines before and after use? Do you see employees cleaning? If there are ceiling fans, is there a ½ inch thick of dust? Are there showers? Are they decently clean?
Keep in mind as you are on a weight loss journey, that you were once a beginner. If I am working out and I see someone new who may not be using something right, I will ask them “would you mind if I show you how to use this machine correctly? You don’t want to hurt yourself.” Its all on how you approach people, and you also want to make yourself approachable. Say Hello to people. Give them a compliment, let them know that they are working hard and it will pay off. If you notice a change in them let them know “I see you are losing weight, you look great” I do this a lot! And seeing the way someone lights up when you tell them that makes me feel good. Wouldn’t you want someone to do that to you? Wouldn’t you walk out of the gym feeling great? Feeling like your hard work is paying off? Make someone’s day. We were all beginners at some point. There were those machines I didn’t know how to use in the beginning and I remember someone coming up to me and correcting me. They didn’t do it to make me feel stupid. They did it because they saw how hard I was working out and they wanted to make sure I got the best results.
Here’s a good tip! If there are no Planet Fitness Gyms in your area, then visit the local gyms and ask if they have a free trial. Some offer a free week, or a free month, and some even have free day passes. Take advantage of those! Make sure you know what machines and amenities you will want before signing any contracts!! Visit the gym at the prime workout times! (8-11am, 3-4pm (after school rush or after 1st shift rush), 5:30-8pm (the after work and after dinner rush) Visiting the gym you are interested in at these times will help to give you a good idea of how crowded it gets, and the availability of the machines. What are the hours they are open? Will it accommodate your schedule? Is it 24 hours? How far is the gym from were you live or work? Distance is important.
Are they a chain? If so, can you use your membership at the other locations for free?
Check to see if the gym has or offers personal training. Ask for info on them, compare rates, success stories, ETC.
As yourself what you are trying to get out of your workouts. What your goals are. Look for a mix of machines. If your problem area is your legs or lower body, check for a gym that has multiple types of machines that target that area! DO NOT BE SCARED TO ASK QUESTIONS!
Next thing…the cost? Does it fit in your budget? Are you going to break the bank just to exercise? Weight loss isn’t cheap. From constantly having to buy new clothes as you go down in size, supplements, healthy foods (which cost more), and workout clothes and sneakers. Losing weight can end up being very costly. You have to find a gym membership that you can afford every month.
I am lucky enough to have a gym that is open 24 hours and has EVERY piece of equipment that I need to workout. Whether it be upper body, lower body, machines targeting stomach problem areas, ETC, I have it all right there. Not even that but it has tanning beds for when I tan, Hydro Massage beds, that are amazing for relieving muscle stiffness and soreness which I use sometimes before and after my workouts, and also massage chairs, and not to mention FREE PERSONAL TRAINING. With my PF black card, I can also visit any Planet fitness, ANYWHERE. When visiting family in PA, or FL and need to get a workout in, I can go to any of those gyms there without having to pay a fee.
You need to find what works for YOU. What makes YOU comfortable. What makes YOU happy. What YOU can afford. After all this is YOUR journey.
I hope this could help you all out and try to guide you in the right direction when choosing a Gym at the beginning of your weight loss journey, or even if you are looking for a new gym. I get asked a lot “how did you know what gym to go to?” Truthfully I didn’t. I was at an extremely low place in life, was driving home from work…saw those “Judgment free zone” signs outside of the gym that I drove past every day, and just pulled in, signed up, and look at the outcome of it. I am now a weight loss success story trying to inspire others.