Before You Join a Gym-What you should know

Now let’s not get it twisted; I am no Fitness buff although that's my aspiration but I am getting there soon baby steps!! But I have been attending the gym for about 3 years now on and off. Not that I went to gym frequently all these three years (For Pete’s sake; I would have been as fit as a fiddle) but gyms have been pretty much a good part of my life in these recent years. So, there, that’s the disclaimer and if you expected to see a sexy buff body..I am sorry to disappoint you (but stay tuned though!!). Now on to the real stuff. Have you ever thought about joining the Gym? I am pretty sure many women/ladies/girls have considered joining a gym at one point in their lives for the following reasons or more: To be fit, to lose weight, to be healthy, to fit into a dress, to feel toned, to feel like a gym bunny; to feel funky or just because they could. Of course, there are many other reasons but I feel these are quite popular. In the past three years, I have joined and/or attended at least 3 different types of Gyms because I moved and/or I wanted a change so I am a bona fide Gym Whore Bunny. These are a few tips you may want to consider before joining a gym...

What’s your motive/Why do you want to join a gym?
I feel this is one of the most important tips simply because it illustrates how committed you would be if you eventually joined a gym. Your reason/motivation for joining a gym needs to be really strong because that is what keeps you grounded on those lazy days when all you want to do is crawl under your duvet and watch Netflix/YouTube (*gives self side eye*). It could be anything but it has solely be one that is your decision and not one someone coerced or influenced you to have. Find your motivation and ensure it is a strong one. Staying motivated is another discussion for another day.

This is also very important in keeping you committed. The location of your gym plays a major part in influencing how much you would visit or attend the gym. Is it close to your house, work place or school? If it is out of your way, there is a high chance, you won’t go. I am not saying if your gym was even in your building you would attend but the chances of you stepping out in your gym gear on a cold dark night or early windy morning when it is close to your house/work is much higher than you going to a gym that’s miles away. I am not a morning girl at all so my gym is close to my house and I just pop down when I get home from work.

Test Drive a Gym
I have never joined a gym without test driving it for at least a week and you can do this by using free gym passes that many gyms offer to new members. I just go on the website and put in my details and they would send you a free pass ranging for a few days to a week. I really find this helpful because it has made me decide if the said gym was the one or now. I have had free passes to some gyms which were affordable but I just did not like the ambience or vibe I was getting so I didn’t bother. Also, once you test a gym out, it shows you a glimpse of how committed you would be when you eventually join and I would urge you to take advantage of this. Some gyms in the UK who offer free passes include Henri Lloyd, The Gym, L.A. Fitness, Virgin Active (Free guest pass but you have to go with a member), Nuffield Health, etc.

But don’t let the Gym staff coerce you
I know it sounds terrible but don’t feel obliged to join a gym especially after you have had a free pass. That’s why it is a free pass; an opportunity for you to decide if you want to join or not. If you don’t feel it is right for you; let them know or just say you will be in touch. Of course, they are trained to let you know about offers that would no longer be available if you don’t join now..all bollocks. There are always offers available so don’t feel like you have to join right now. On the other hand, if you decide to join, don’t tell them straight away. I know this sounds cunning but if you act like your mind is not yet made up, more offers tumble out and you may end up paying much less than you would and you may even get free gifts and you may not pay any joining fee*wink*

What’s your budget?
Your budget would definitely determine what kind of gym you join eventually but the kind of exercise you want to engage in can also influence your decision. Let’s say you are a newbie and all you want to do is some cardio with the treadmill, cross trainer, elliptical machine and cycling; then you have no business joining a gym with all the fancy bits and bobs like a swimming pool, sauna, steam room, crèche, classes, etc. Just join a really basic gym and that would keep your costs down because there is nothing worse than joining a gym with all the perks and all you do is use the cycling machine or treadmill; not good!! However, if you like classes, and all the other fun stuff, then you can up your budget

Check if the Gyms offer Employment/Student discounts
If you are a student or you are working, then it is best to take advantage of these discounts. Many gyms including the annoyingly expensive Virgin Active offer discounts to students and young adults (15-18 or so). Most importantly, check directly with the gyms to see what organisations they offer discounts for; you will be surprised. I am currently a member of Virgin Active and one of the reasons I joined was that they offered staff discount for the company I work for. I was thrilled naturally. Also, ensure that you sign up via email/newsletters to some of these gyms before you join because they may send some offers your way.

Understand the terms and conditions of your contract
Lastly, if you are at the verge of signing your contract, don’t feel rushed and don’t be in a hurry. Take your time; ask for a seat and read all the fine prints and ask as many questions as you would like. Find out how long your contract is; what the terms are and what happens if you move, lose your job, etc. Some gyms can only let you cancel when you move if there is no gym within 10 miles radius of your new house. How ridiculous is that; like I would travel over 1 mile to attend any gym at all. So, read carefully before signing those dotted lines (pun intended as some gyms have dotted lines in their contracts)

There you go!! These are a few tips that were helpful to me before I joined several gyms and they were beneficial to me and prevented me from wasting a lot of money which I had done in the past. The truth is you don't need to join a gym to be fit; you can work out in your room/house with a workout DVD or many YouTube videos which are really useful or even run around your environment but if you find that hard or don't feel motivated enough, then you may want to join a gym.... I have another post on what you need when you join. If you want to see that, let me know...x


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