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Comparing health clubs to gyms

When you start researching health clubs, you will soon see that there are major differences between them and real gyms. The trick is knowing how to compare facilities, and then knowing whether the health club or the gym is right for you.

The first thing to look at is the gym equipment. For resistance training the two key areas are free weights and resistance machines. Check out not only the quality of equipment, but also the variety and the condition - old machines with frayed cables are not only dangerous, but will tell you a lot about the way a facility is run. It's also important to have a good-sized area with space to move around - not only is it safer, but if you feel as though you're working out in a broom closet, you won't enjoy your workout.

In most health clubs, there will be a large area dedicated to CV machines. A good club should have a good selection of the following:

  • Treadmills
  • Step machines
  • Rowers
  • Stationary bikes
  • Elliptical trainers
  • Climbers

When comparing CV equipment, check for the following:

  • A good variety of CV machines
  • How many of each machine
  • Are they new, state-of the art, or 1980s relics?
  • Is there a long wait to get on the machines?
  • Are they well spaced, or all crammed close together?

Finally, you will want to compare the other equipment on offer. You can do this online. Does the club have a pool? Is there a sauna or a spa? Are there treatment rooms? Where are the classes taught? In a dingy old gym that smells of sweaty socks, or a clean, bright, air-conditioned room with a sprung floor?

Once you have gathered this information on your prospective facilities, you will be able to make a clear, informed decision about which one is right for you.




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