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Gym’ll fix it

Posted on: 15 Oct 01


It may be dangerous talk in our industry but keeping fit can do more to keep you well than any number of blockbuster drugs, a gym membership can mean a whole new social life as well as a much fitter b
As the long nights draw in and the memories of beaches full of beautiful people trying to push you back out to sea and calling Greenpeace begin to be resolved in intensive therapy sessions, the thoughts of the professional office worker turn to gyms and a vague promise to ‘look good’ in time for next summer. Often these thoughts are as far as the potential adonis or adonette gets but if you are intent on getting into shape there are an exhausting number of gyms up and down the country trying to seduce you with special membership offers and cheap corporate membership. But how do you find your paradigm of fitness, how do you choose the Matt Holland from the Darren Anderton (apologies to the non-football enthusiasts)
  • The Time The Place Make sure you’re going to use it. There’s no point spending money on membership, monthly fees and lurid sportswear if you aren’t going to make it to the gym at least twice a week. Location is vital here, if you’re going to just work out during the working week don’t be tempted to get a membership to somewhere close to home on the off chance you might use it on Sunday afternoon. Many of the big chains will have locations near both home and work, try for location details. Walking distance from work and less than 10 minutes from home by car is a good guideline. It’s also important to check if the opening times and schedule of classes you are likely to want to attend fits with yours.
  • The Bold & the Beautiful Take the tour at the same kind of time that you’ll be looking to work out, check how busy the gym is, what are the clientele like? If the local rugby team has block bookings for your preferred time each week then perhaps you’ll have to look elsewhere. It’s also important to feel comfortable in the surroundings of your gym, your more likely to go back if the mix of the young and old, the fit and the beginners is leaning towards normality rather than the Baywatch casting trailer.
  • DIY SOS On the way round, keep your eyes peeled for signs of neglect, peeling paint and old looking equipment suggest a club that is rather less than well run. It’s also important to have a good look at the changing rooms and washing facilities, are they clean and hygienic? It’s important that your newly honed body isn't walking around on veruca pocked feet, solicit opinions from other gym users if left to your own devices.
  • Kilroy What are the staff like? Genuine and helpful or preening adverts for fake tan. Remember, on your way round you are still only a prospect, not a paid up member of the club, staff should be doing their utmost to portray their gym in as positive a light as possible. Bad service at this stage is indicative of the standard you can expect in the future. Ask about how well qualified the staff are, particularly the people running the classes you want to attend or in charge of the services you’ll be using. Professional qualifications should abound.
  • Perry Mason and the case of the small print Walk away after your first visit with a promise to think it over, joining a gym is a substantial commitment and you don’t want to be pressured into it. It’s also worth filling in a form to let the gym know your details and then waiting for a week or two, if the gym is ultra efficient you might get a discount voucher dropping through the post within a few days. You might even try negotiating your membership price, managers often have flexibility on price and if not they might be able to offer you a couple of months free. Before signing up, read through the contract fully and make sure you’re happy with everything and that there are no hidden costs, check about penalties for leaving early if your circumstances might change. Don’t sign on the dotted line until you are happy.
It may be dangerous talk in our industry but keeping fit can do more to keep you well than any number of blockbuster drugs, a gym membership can mean a whole new social life as well as a much fitter body and the rewards in terms of increased confidence and energy are well worth the time and money investment. Take your time before spending on a gym membership and when your happy go for it, and keep going for it at least twice a week.

Mark Stacey

Last updated on: 27/08/2010 11:40:18

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