Finding the perfect gym is both a financial and practical decision, and it will take a bit of work. This simple guide to independent health clubs might just make you think again about your local gym as one of the first and most obvious factors is location - most people will not travel more than about 20 minutes to work out, so your gym needs to be close to either your work or your home.
The next question for many people is whether to sign up for a big chain, or their local independent health club (if you have one!). Although not as glitzy as the big health clubs, independent gyms can offer many benefits. While the franchises are looking to cater to the masses, you may find the more personal touch of independent gyms suits you.
The atmosphere and amenities will vary widely from place to place, but in general, you can expect independent gyms:
- To be smaller and more friendly.
- To be less expensive.
- More likely to offer month-to-month or pay as you go options.
- More focussed on serious, as opposed to social exercisers.
- To offer a less extensive range of CV machines.
- Tend to have shorter opening hours.
When you compare gyms, make sure that they have the equipment you like to use. If you like free weights, make sure the area is big enough for several people to work out. If you want weight machines, make sure that their selection caters for all muscle groups. Look and see if they have more than one of your favourite CV machines. And don't forget to check out the changing rooms and showers - cleanliness is important.