to Choose a Health Club
for health clubs consider the following:
For your fitness program to be a success, exercising has to
be convenient or it won't become a realistic lifestyle change. The closer
and easier it is to get to (and park your car), the better. Of course,
you don't want to join a health club that doesn't suit you just because
it's close to your home or office, but if you're joining a health club
that isn't convenient to get to, you're a lot more likely to find an
excuse to stop going.
Try Before You Buy
Sales staff are very good at selling the many benefits of their
health club, but you need to spend some time trying the equipment and
"feeling" the atmosphere. Ask for a day pass or trial membership--health
clubs have nothing to loose and everything to gain by this. Be sure
to try out the club at the time that you would normally workout--you'll
get a better feel for how crowded it is. Notice if there is much of
a wait for equipment, how helpful the staff is, and if the equipment
is well maintained. You may even ask a few members what they like about
Make Sure They Have What
Make a list of the things that are important to you, such as
personal training, childcare, aerobics classes, etc., and make sure
the health club has what you need. If classes help to motivate you and
the health club doesn't offer the classes you need, sticking with your
exercise program won't be realistic. Try the class and make sure it
is enjoyable, challenging and educational. Just the same, if you have
children, make sure the health club has childcare or it will be tough
to make it to the club.
Find out what the members are like; see if the atmosphere is
comfortable. If you're a beginner, some clubs may be intimidating. Select
a club where you feel comfortable and welcome.
Make sure there is always someone available to answer your questions,
to show you a new exercise, or how to use a piece of equipment. Are
they friendly, helpful and knowledgeable?
Costs and Contracts
Find out exactly what the membership fee includes; personal
training, classes, pool, towel service, lockers, childcare, etc. Are
there extra costs for additional services? This should play a big part
in your decision to join a certain health club.
Some health clubs
have a one-time initiation fee and require purchasing a minimum of three
months up front. Depending on your budget, you may want to find a club
that allows you to go on a month-to-month basis. In addition, find out
if the health club debits the funds directly out of your Visa or checking
account. This can make it easier to pay membership fees but make sure
that it's easy to cancel if you decide you don't like the club. Be sure
you read the contract before you sign so you're not "locked"
into paying even if you move out of town or change health clubs.
Also, have a clear
idea of what you can afford to pay and stick to your budget no matter
what sales incentives are offered. And don't be afraid to bargain. If
they're asking $49 a month and all you can afford is $39, offer $39
(if they've met previous criteria) and let them know you're prepared
to join then and there.
Need help choosing a health club that will best suit your
The health clubs
in the Global
Health & Fitness
(GHF) directory offer outstanding services: a large selection of high-quality
equipment, health and fitness knowledge, and other attractive amenities
such as steam room/sauna, Jacuzzi, massage therapy, and more. However,
health clubs vary greatly, not only in services and equipment available
but also in pricing structure.
Many join a health
club with great intentions and then windup unhappy and dissatisfied.
Starting a health and fitness program is hard enough--don't make it
more difficult by joining a health club that doesn't meet your needs.
Article reprinted with permission from Global