Choosing The Right Gym

Author: Joseph Krachenfels

Choosing the right gym to train at, like choosing the right training program to follow can be a crucial step towards achieving your weight training goals. Therefore, when you are looking for a gym to train at you should first ask yourself if that gym will be able to provide you with the necessary amenities, equipment and motivation to meet your specific training goals. For example if you are training to tone up and get in shape you probably wont need to train at a hardcore gym, and vice versa, if you are a hardcore bodybuilder you will probably want to stay out of your local Bally’s. The reason that I say this is because in my many years of both training and personal training, I can honestly say that the right gym can make all of the difference in the world when it comes to making gains and staying motivated during your workouts.

For a short period of time I trained at my local Bally’s because it was conveniently located close to where I lived, and while that gym was well equipped and proved to be a good starting place for me to begin my training, I quickly outgrew it. I realized that I needed to train in an environment and to be surrounded by other weight training athletes that were training with the same goals in mind, to get big and compete. So, I started to seek out gyms that had more of a hardcore bodybuilding and power lifting element. Luckily, I found Alfonso Duran’s gym in West New York, NJ. Even though I lived in Brooklyn, NY at the time, I started commuting back and forth an hour and one half each way, 3-4 times per week. Quite frankly most people thought I was nuts to spend more time traveling to the gym than actually working out, but I really didn’t mind the trip because my workouts went from being good to being phenomenal just by switching gyms.

Being surrounded by other people that where all working towards achieving the same goals, and having other people around me that supported me in my quest proved to be a very motivating experience. Every time I would walk into Al’s gym, no matter if I was tired or had something else on my mind, I knew that I was going to have to phase everything else out and concentrate on my training because that was what everyone else in the gym was doing. Training in this type of environment proved to be most beneficial for me, because I was always a 100% motivated to train. And if you are motivated to do something you are going to put more energy and effort into what you are doing, and it is this energy and effort that is responsible for making the difference between making mediocre gains in your training and making phenomenal gains in your training.

While training at a hard core gym proved to be the best for me because it meet my specific training needs, I would not recommend an individual that is training for the first time or an individual that is training to tone up to join a hardcore gym, like the one I have mentioned above. However, remember to ask yourself at least one basic question before joining a gym and spending your hard earned money, and that is will this gym be able to provide you with the necessary amenities, equipment and motivation to meet your specific training goals.

What else to look for in selecting the right gym:

  • Check out the equipment. Make sure that all of the equipment in the gym, machines, benches, barbells, dumbbells, free weights, treadmills, bikes, etc are all fairly new and in good working condition. And if you are following a weight training program, make sure that the gym has all of the equipment that you will need to train with. For example, if you need a power rack to squat in make sure the gym has one.
  • Check out the locker room/bathroom. Check to see if most of the lockers are in good working order. Check the cleanliness and working order of the showers and the bathroom. I can’t tell you how many gyms I have worked out at that either had constant plumbing problems or looked like the last time they were cleaned was before the Second World War.
  • Listen for music. Most gyms play music for you to listen to while you train. The other day I went to train, and as I walked into the gym some type of trance music was being played. Suffice it to say it was not for me, so I asked for the music to be changed to something at least coherent, luckily they obliged me.
  • Check for parking. If you are going to be driving back and forth to the gym, make sure that there is an ample amount of parking. The last thing you want is to spend 15-20 minutes driving to the gym only to have to park 8 blocks away.
  • Look around at the people training in the gym. Look to see what the people training in the gym are doing. Is everyone just standing around and socializing, or are they working out, this goes back to motivation.
  • Pay attention to customer service. This may seem obvious, but is often overlooked. When selecting a new gym for myself, I always ask a lot of questions about the club in general. Doing this gives me both answers to questions about the gym that I have, like the ones listed above, and allows me to test the patience of the staff. Testing the staff’s patience is definitely something I strongly recommend doing right from the start, because if you ever have any problem in the gym or with the gym itself the last thing you need to deal with is impatient staff people.
  • Go to check out the gym at the time you plan to train at. Of all of the things to look for in selecting the right gym, this is probably one of they most important. The reason quite simply is because this is what the gym will be like when you are training in it. From this experience you will be able to find out such things as, how crowded the gym is, how long you will have to wait for access to equipment, and who is training at that time of day (motivation factor).

***Remember, your training program will supply you with the map to reach your destination (training goals), while the gym you train at will be the vehicle that drives you towards them. ***

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