Saturday I checked out four local gyms, having previously researched them online, with a goal of joining one before the end of the weekend. A surprising amount of pertinent information – including price – was not available online
- Variety of equipment for cardio and strength training
- Personal trainer availability and certification
- Locker room appearance and facilities
- Classes offered
- Contract or month to month
Those are the easy things to identify and check off, but it’s harder to distill down the overall feeling of just being there. Is the gym dull and dark and smell like a locker room? Is it clean and bright and monitored for appearance and safety? How is the equipment maintained? Does anyone there look like me – older, out of shape, round – or are they all perky perfectly attired hard bodies?
I belonged to my Boston gym for seven years and loved that it was for women only. Being familiar with the options available there, it’s my benchmark for looking at new places. The one thing that it didn’t have that I would have killed for was a pool because of the options for no-impact work that wouldn’t put strain on my knee. I didn’t expect to find one that’s affordable but it was definitely in the back of my mind.
The university gym was the first option and I didn’t even go inside; I don’t want to work out surrounded by students. There were other places close to home that were more appealing. One of them was very affordable ($10/month!) but it was dark and smelled like a locker room. Not a good choice. Curves was another option with the benefit of being women only, but their hours were just ridiculous for someone who works, so that was out.
My next stop was LA Fitness and although I hadn’t planned to sign up right then, I was so impressed that I made a commitment before leaving. It was big, very clean and bright, with tons of equipment organized on two levels. There are four different brands of weight machines, racketball courts, a classroom, a gorgeous locker room – and a pool. Yes, a pool! With water aerobics classes on weekday evenings at 6pm, a time that I can actually make instead of the usual 10am which is just useless for working people.
I signed up for only $35/month, which is waaaaaaaay cheaper than what I’d been paying in Boston and I have more options. Tomorrow after work I’m meeting with a personal trainer to go over how to use the equipment and work out a program to help me accomplish my goals. I ordered a pool-safe bathing suit and am plotting how to adjust my hours to be sure I have time to get to the gym in time for the pool classes.
Feels like I’m off to a good start.