You’ve finally committed to getting fit and you want to join a gym, but which one? Unless you’ve been a regular at gyms in the past you really don’t know a good one from a bad one.

A good fitness center has their members as their number one priority. They are customer service oriented. A bad fitness center is only looking at your dollar value. Once you join they will not want to know you.

Telling the difference can be as simple as following this simple checklist:

Take a walk around the gym and have a good look at each piece of equipment. Get on and use some. If they grind, or seem loose or unstable then that’s a sure sign that the equipment is not serviced often. Any gym that doesn’t service their equipment is not going to service you.

This is a great way of seeing how important the owner’s business is to them. If it’s not cleaned daily then they’re probably cutting costs, which isn’t good for a prospective member. When you’re walking around have a good look at how clean the machines are. If they’re covered in dust, they are probably not cared for.

If you don’t know much about exercise and nutrition, this is the most important of all. A quality gym will want to help you in any way they can. You should be given a new program every 4-6 weeks and another fitness assessment every 8-12 weeks. There should always be someone around to answer your queries. The staff should also be friendly and easy to talk to.

Type of Gym
What type of people use the gym at the times you will be training? Unless you’re into bodybuilding you probably want to stay away from ‘muscle head’ gyms after 3pm. These gyms are easy to identify. They have loads of weights, no aerobic classes, and no (or very old) bikes and treadmills.

Are they constantly trying to push their products? This is often done with nutrition supplements. There’s nothing wrong with selling these products as some are quite good if you need them but some unethical centers try to push supplements onto all new members. If the salesperson or instructor seems pushy with their products, run for cover!

Whilst qualifications are important, it’s not everything. The most important trait in a good fitness instructor is that they must care. If they are tertiary qualified as well then you have yourself a great trainer, but even the most knowledgeable person in the industry is of no value if they’re not interested in helping you. It’s easy to identify staff that care because they are friendly, courteous, and listen! (They may even remember your name)

Membership Price
Every region is different but the membership price should reflect the service, equipment, and instructors. You shouldn't judge a fitness center on price alone (this is why they rarely give prices over the telephone!). Have a look at a few gyms in your area and compare each one. That is the only reliable way to measure true value.