Christmas is finally over, and after the weekend it's back to work. And last night, you may have gone out partying, or just stayed home. Either way, you may be feeling rather the worse for wear after the long festive period. And it's that time of year, everyone asking you what your New Year's Resolution is...
Feeling a greater sense of wellnes, and finally achieving your ideal, healthy weight sound like a plan. So, perhaps you've decided you want to join a gym. Now, how do you actually go about it? Here are my top tips when picking out a gym that will suit you.
1) Location, location, location
It's often hard enough to motivate yourself to hit the gym, working around the other things in your life like job and socialising. So, pick somewhere that's easy to get to.
If you are likely to go before or after work, you can choose somewhere close to work, or on the way between work and home. On the other hand, if you're likely to work out at the weekends, too, or in the evenings, you may want somewhere closer to home.
Convenience really is a big factor, so give yourself that extra help in maintaining your good intentions!
This is one that not everyone considers, but having enough natural light will really make a difference to your energy levels. And windows also tend to mean non-sweaty air, which can make a huge difference to whether it feels claustrophobic, and how stinky the place will get at peak times!
3) Who do you want to work out with?
This is an important question on a number of levels. One is the choice of a unisex gym, or one that caters to all comers.
As a woman, it can be much more pleasant to use a women-only gym. There is less pressure to try to look pretty when actually you're just sweaty and red. And women-only gyms tend to smell better (sorry, guys, it's true!)
Be aware, too, that some gyms may draw a particular crowd. For instance, a gym in the financial district is likely to cater to a quite different audience than one in the suburbs, or one in a more "party" section of town. Will you feel comfortable with the other members? Feeling self-conscious will give you yet another "excuse" not to go and work out...
What are the facilities like at the gym's you're considering? For one thing, how clean is it? That might sound like something pretty basic, but not every gym manages it well. On the other hand, maybe cleanliness isn't next to anything important in your priorities.
Another thing to think about is whether there are enough showers, if they have a sauna or jacuzzi, lockers in the changing rooms, a free water fountain or somewhere you can get a drink, or even a snack. Which of these matter most to you?
5) What kind of exercise do you enjoy?
How well equipped is the gym? Do they have different spaces for different cardio machines and for weights? Is there a spinning classroom? What about a more peaceful yoga space? Some gyms also have a swimming pool...
And what about classes? Is there a broad cross-section of classes? Or at least classes that appeal to you? Can you take a test class or three to see whether you like the teachers and think they know their stuff before you sign up?
The Bottom Line
It can be really handy to think about what is most important to you. Consider writing out a list of your "must-have's", "would be nice's", and "absolute no-no's". That way, you'll be able to make a faster and better choice when you see what options are available to you.