How to Find a Gym

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Before a guy can do any legwork at a gym, he needs to do a little legwork to finda gym. Finding a fitness or health club that will meet all your personal needs and help you stay motivated means taking notes, asking some key questions, and being realistic and upfront about your goals.

Every New Year, boatloads of guys join gyms, according to personal trainers. Maybe they’re hoping — finally — to lose those extra 20 pounds or bulk up their pecs, or they’re recovering from a yoga or Pilates, you might want to see if there are men-only sessions or classes taught by men. “Men sometimes are less flexible and less likely to jump into a yoga class then women,” Florez says. If that sounds like you, you might be more comfortable having a guy teach you the basics of Pilates.

Another thing to consider: Are there exclusive sections of the health club? If so, that could affect your workout schedule. For example, if a section of the weight room is for women only, “that’s square footage of the club that is off-limits to you,” Ross says. “That might be a concern if space is limited to begin with.”

Health clubs typically offer services to get you started, such as a complimentary personal training session and trainers available to show you the ins and outs of various machines. Be sure to take advantage of these.

5. Remember: This Club’s for You

A guy asks a friend at the office about his gym because he’s looking for a workout partner, and he joins the gym solely because his friend works out there. Then his friend quits working out or his schedule changes. Does this scenario sound familiar? Suddenly the guy “is stuck with this membership that he wouldn’t have purchased otherwise,” says Schiff. “He made his buying decision based on another person.”

It’s a common but big mistake. Florez recommends using friends and family as referrals to find a gym only if their exercise needs are similar to yours, they’re in similar physical condition, or they’re pursuing similar fitness goals. “If you get referrals from an 18-year-old bodybuilder and you’re a 45-year-old guy who wants to lose weight, that’s not going to help you,” Florez says. Most importantly, whether you’re seeking fitness at 50 or at 25, remember: You’re working out for yourself. Make sure your needs and convenience come first.