There are a large number of considerations when choosing a gym. Gym membership is a big financial commitment, so it's important to be happy with your choice and to minimise the chances of finding yourself disappointed after you've signed up.
One of the biggest deciding factors for people will be location. On our main page you can search for local gyms, many of which will be able to arrange a free tour of their gym. Don't be shy to ring around and see what your local gyms can offer - they will, of course, be very keen to secure your membership and eager to impress! An even better way to try out a gym out is by making several pay as you go gym visits before committing to a long term contract.
Before signing up for membership, do visit the gym during the hours you would intend to visit if you became a member. You will get a good idea of the traffic levels in the surrounding area and whether the available gym car parking is adequate. Also, some gyms will have restrictions on the use of their equipment during peak periods (for example, saying it can't be used for longer than 15 minutes) so this will give you a good idea of whether such restrictions would affect you.
As well as location, one of the foremost things people will look at are the gym facilities on offer. The most important of these will be the gym equipment. Are the basics, such as cardio, resistance training and weights, well catered for? How new is the equipment? In addition, you may want access to other facilities such as a swimming pool and tennis courts. If these are important, see if they're available and whether usage of them is included as part of your gym membership fee.
Many will offer gym classes. Have a careful look at the restrictions. Does this gym offer classes I'm interested in? Are they free? Do I need to prebook? Can only a certain number of people participate in the class, and is this likely to affect me at the time I wish to attend? These are all questions you should ask to avoid disappointment.
For some, personal trainers can be invaluable, both when seeking professional advice and to keep motivation levels high. They can devise a training plan for you and monitor your progress giving you feedback. If you don't have much gym experience, they can help minimise the risk of injury by ensuring you're completely familiar with the gym equipment. If you feel you could benefit from a personal trainer, find out if one will be available, what restrictions there are and what the additional cost will be.