Once you start researching a variety of health clubs, you will soon realise that there is a huge difference in what each gym offers you. At first this can be a little disconcerting - at times it seems you are comparing apples with oranges - but you will soon come to realise that this is to your advantage. The sheer range of differences in what clubs offer means that you will be able to find a club that's right for you.
To start with you will want to focus on the basics - is the location convenient, how much does it cost, do I have to sign a long-tern contract - but once you have got past those, it's time to start looking at what clubs offer in terms of three key areas: equipment; classes; and luxuries. We'll look at each in turn.
Equipment is the heart of a club, and finding the right mix is vital for you in choosing a gym. If you are a hard core weight-lifter or body builder, then the free-weights will be crucial, and to a lesser extent the resistance machines. For a good all around work-out, look at the CV machines - there should be a decent range of treadmills, stationary bikes, rowers, step machines, and elliptical trainers.
If classes are something you will use a lot, then look for variety - not just a basic step class and circuits once a week, but something more - Pilates and yoga, salsa and hip-hop, Cardio Sculpt and Cardio Stretch, Power Step and Step Challenge, Boxercise and Kick Boxing. The greater the range of classes, the more chance of you finding something you like.
Luxuries covers a host of different areas - is there a sauna or a steam room? Does the club offer child care? Is there a towel service? Clubs are doing more and more to attract people these days, so the list of luxuries can be quite extensive.
Find the right mix, and you use you new club regularly.