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Guest commentary: How to choose the fitness facility that’s right for you


This news story was published on December 16, 2012.
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by Charles L. Green of Mason City –

In my role as a personal trainer I consult with many clients and patients who are in the beginning stages of planning the ways they wish to make long term changes toward their health and wellness, and a common subject that comes up is the consideration of joining a fitness center, health club or gym.

The consideration of this can instill feelings that range from excitement to apprehension. With this in mind, I feel it can be of great benefit to the individual to have some knowledge of what to look for, and the considerations one might make when choosing a gym to call home. These very considerations can have great influence toward the success or failure of the individual to reach his or her long term personal goals.

As a personal trainer, I do not feel it is my duty to tell an individual that they absolutely NEED to join a gym or fitness center to accomplish their goals. It is one of many options that a person can choose to utilize.

For some, home based training, and training outside during times of favorable weather are the options of choice. To this end, it is more important for me as a trainer to educate people on the best ways to utilize what is available to them where ever that might be. However, I also educate people on the merits of having access to a well equipped fitness facility, which in most cases will have more than one need’s to accomplish their goals barring certain special circumstances, additional health concerns being one example.

So with all that in mind, here we go:

#1: Goals. A person should have a clear idea of what their goals are, and what they hope to accomplish by having a membership to a facility… we will come back to this one…!

#2: Cost. One of the first things a person might consider dropping during times of economic difficulty may be their membership to a health club, or gym. A person should compare membership rates in their local area to see which ones make the most sense for his or her pocket book. Think in terms of short and long term goals… a membership to a gym or facility should be considered a commitment to both a business and to self. In truth, our health should be considered priceless, so if a gym membership is affordable it should be a no brainer…!

#3: Equipment. (This one goes back to goals…!) A well equipped gym in my personal opinion, is one that has a good balance between free weight training equipment, selectorized machinery, a good variety of cardio engaging equipment. It’s a plus if there is mat space for floor based training and athletic training modalities. The facility you choose should have everything to do with what you wish to accomplish. The more equipment available, the broader the variety of ways you might implement to achieve your goals.

#4: Comfort. I have worked with a lot of people who were initially apprehensive about the idea of working out at a gym, for various reasons… however, after an initial visit to a gym and a positive reception from the gyms staffing, and other members, many decided to join the gym that was visited. The gym should have a comfortable atmosphere, and staff that are welcoming and provide a great deal of information about the facility. Gym maintenance, and cleanliness might be listed within this consideration…!

#5: Schedule. The people I have had the opportunity to work with in the past, all had varying schedules, from what I like to refer to as “banker’s hours”, to “3rd shifts”, etc, etc… you name it. The facilities hours should fit your schedule to make it less of a battle to get in to get what you need done.

#6: The “Extras”. When looking at a facility for my own personal needs, I always referred to the things listed in regard to consideration #1, and #3 first, having a clear idea of what I hope to accomplish in regard to my workout goals. I like to get in, get my workout in and leave. I basically always shower at home after training. But there are those times when a person may have to go from the gym to or from work, etc. So access to a changing room or locker room is a consideration. Child care is a big consideration for many mothers, and parents in general, so access to child care is a consideration for some. Other extras might include additional athletic (consideration #3) or therapeutic modalities for specialized training or exercise. Other “extras” may fall under consideration #4. Education, and instruction offered also falls into this area… a topic to be covered in my next write up: How to choose a personal trainer.

The goal when choosing a facility should be to get the most efficient use out of the gym, while getting your money’s worth. In the local Mason City area, we have a great selection of gyms, fitness and wellness facilities.
One of the best quotes I have heard came from Jake Prazak from N.I.P. Gym: “I’m not going to just sign people up to cheap membership rates and not care about how they do afterwards… I want to see them do well”.

I concur!

For more information on the gyms in the Mason City area, contact:

Troy Hanson- Anytime fitness MC – 687 South Taft Avenue Mason City, IA 50401
(641) 424-2121
Jake Prazak, John Berding- NIP Gym- 2324 South Federal Ave, Mason City, IA 50401 (641) 201-1035
Bob Vasquez- 1805 South Carolina Avenue Mason City, IA 50401
(641) 424-8050
Mason City YMCA- 1840 South Monroe Avenue Mason City, IA 50401
(641) 422-5999

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2 Responses to Guest commentary: How to choose the fitness facility that’s right for you

  1. Avatar

    smoothy Reply Report comment

    December 16, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Charles you hit it right on the head. Overall function of the gym is very important. Well rounded and good security.

  2. Avatar

    loves to eat Reply Report comment

    December 16, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Very good advice. I’m struggling with the holiday pounds.