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So when I go and try out a new gym I test the gym out on 8 or factors. I do this because I want the best experience possible. I want to learn and grow as much as I can as a person and in what I am doing. I highly value my time and resources and will not return to a place of business if it doesn’t respect me.
Some people (businesses and owners) would balk at this – they are the ones who will at some point end of up failing. Real entrepreneurs embrace all opportunities to change and improve what they do and how they do it.
It is also very easy for people to fall into a rut, a mundane routine of going through the motions. I place value in the position of leadership, so when I see leaders who are struggling, or who are flat out clueless or don’t care, I shine spotlights on these areas of weakness both to better serve customers and to help that place have to get better.
If you are looking for a new gym to try, follow and consider these tips for whether or not the gym you are visiting makes the cut.
So what I do when it comes to checking out new gyms is I first observe. I go in as a normal student, client athlete and participate and all the while observing. I take note of what is available and being offered, and how. I take note of what isn’t and often ask the employees and instructors why some services/classes are not offered?
I see what kinds of people actually go there. What are they doing? What are they looking to get out of it? Are they are receiving that?
I pay close attention to the instructors. Are they in shape? Do they walk their talk? Do they enjoy what they are doing and believe in the value of who they are and what they offer?
And yes, you can accurately observe all this quickly (with practice).
I ask other participants questions that subtly give me a good idea of how things are run at the gym. What’s accepted? What’s ignored? What’s held as important and why?
#2 Is this gym Functioning?
What I look for is organization? Is the place functioning and well? If the place is a mess or doesn’t have their crap together then there is poor management going on. And I don’t want to waste my resources with a business who is going to give me half quality service or fail to meet my expectations.
#3 Services Available
I look at the services offered. Do they value all levels of fitness or just cater to one level? Some gyms are solely there for beginners, some just for high level athletes. There is nothing wrong with this if that group of people is their purpose behind the gym. But if they don’t offer what I want – that’s another ‘Nope not for me.’
I also look at how many fitness instructors they have, what they teach and how often they teach? The more an instructor is on the schedule the more likely they have more experience, more training, and people enjoy their classes more. It is also equally true that some awesome instructors are only available at certain times. Always be willing to ask questions.
Ex: I see that Suzie only teaches Zumba on Saturday mornings but all the other instructors have 5-6 classes. Why is that? Answer: She’s awesome! She loves Zumba, the class is always packed. She’s actually a math teacher so Sat’s work best for her. You should check it out – everyone loves her!
#4 Free Trials
Another thing I look for is “Can I try it for free the first time?”
The best gyms/businesses will let you try their services for free, sometimes for a week or even a month. The reasoning is they believe 100% in what they offer. They know it takes a bit of time to check things out and the importance of making sure what they offer fits what you are looking for.
If you receive great service from them during the free trial period, and you realize it’s not what you’re looking for, they know you will still recommend them to someone who IS looking for what they offer. Even if it takes longer – they know they will get business from your free trial.
Now this isn’t to say go around from gym to gym every month and taking advantage of free trials. But it is a good way to see just how that gym values its customers.
When it comes to sports and fitness, it often also takes more than one or two visits for you to get hooked. A new member has to acclimate and get past culture shock (aka get past the onset of soreness and fatigue that comes with trying a new fitness routine).
Sometimes gyms/businesses are hesitant. Maybe they are new and are needing to be making money for every hour they work. Maybe they are struggling with their business. Maybe it is neither of these.
But hesitation from a gym/business is a yellow flag to proceed with caution. If they hesitate to really answer your questions about the gym and give you the run around, this is a red flag.
#5 The Instructors
Let’s see, I also place high value on the physical fitness levels of all instructors. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been teaching something for 30 years.
If you preach it, and people are paying you to teach how to be it – you need to be living it.
An out of shape and overweight instructor is a clear indicator that there is lack of leadership, accountability, professionalism and valuing health and fitness and what it means to be an instructor. People look up to you for guidance and leadership, to set the example.
How are they going to believe anything you tell them and teach them if it’s obvious that it didn’t work for you?
I also look for friendliness, of both employees and gym members. There are some places that people will actually glare at you for smiling at them and saying “Hi.”
Gyms are mini communities and are great places to make new friends and find people with similar interests. You should feel valued and be a contributor to the gym’s environment and receive the support, education and encouragement beneficial to helping you achieve your fitness goals.
All staff members should be approachable, even if busy, a smile or simple nod takes only a second.
When you are just visiting for the first or second time, the staff should make you feel welcome and help put your nerves at ease.
Always, always, always check the gyms open hours and see that those hours will work for you! The gym is about you, not the employees! It is their job to meet your needs and not the other way around. Really good gyms are open longer hours and have classes available throughout the course of the day/week. (Instead of all of them being at 6am, 12pm and 5pm.) The longer the gym is open, the less of an excuse you can make that you can’t make it there.
Ask everyone you know about the gym you want to try out or for recommendations. Social media is awesome for this! Bigger cities usually have online gym review sites as well. Do your research.
My health and fitness are my number one priority and when it comes to finding excellent gyms to train in and become a part of – these are some Great Things to Consider When Trying Out a New Gym.
Ask lots of questions!!! About anything that may be of importance to you. The answers you receive and the way the staff responds to your questions will lead you in the right direction.
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