These days gyms are no longer just a place to work out. It is more of a social environment than it once was, with people making friends at the gym and a massive increase in group exercise, you are bound to meet gym buddies there. When looking to join a gym don't just join the first one that you come across, find THE one that suits you. Here I have compiled a few points for you to check off of your list before signing on the dotted line.
1. Location: You need to ensure that the gym is in an accessible location for you, be it close to work, or close to your home. Not only does this make it easy for you to get to the gym but will ensure consistency in your workouts, as if you don't have to go too far out of your way to get to the gym then you are more likely to go. Also, when considering the location, think about when you are most likely to go. If you don't work weekends and are more likely to use the gym over the weekend, then don't join a gym close to your work.
2. Opening Hours: Do they fit in with your plans? If you are a commuter who wants to work out early in the morning, before you begin your journey to work then a club that opens at 10am is of no use to you. Likewise if you prefer working out late at night, a club closing at 8pm doesn't help you.
3. Equipment: Have a look around, check out the equipment, does it look worn and dated? Or is it up to date and kept in good condition? Also how much equipment does if have? If your favourite piece of equipment is the treadmill and there are only two of them in the gym then it is more than likely that especially in busy periods, you won't get a chance to go on them.
4. Membership Fees: Are they appropriate to what you think the membership is worth? If you join a gym with modern facilities, a pool, a few studios maybe even tennis, badminton and squash courts then you are looking at around £60-80 per month on a single membership, however take away the racquet facilities and it drops to around £30-40 and even more so with out a pool. Make sure you do read through your contract before signing, and ONLY sign for an annual membership if it is with a respectable company or you could find that you pay for the year upfront...and then they close down.
5. Members: As you are looking around the facility, take in what type of members you can see there. Many a female will not feel comfortable in a 'meat head' gym. Ie; a male dominated facility where everyone appears to be on steroids, lifting massive weights, etc. (not that there is anything wrong with lifting heavy weights!)
6. Staff: Finally, check out the staff. Ideally there should be a board up in the gym with the gym staffs pictures, qualifications and a mini bio on it. Personal Trainers should all hold a Level 3 Qualification, and Health and Fitness Coaches/ Gym Instructors a Level 2 Qualification. There should always be a member of staff on the gym floor available to give you help and advise when you need it. That is what they are there for so do not be afraid to ask for help, it doesn't cost a thing!