A new year means another chance at fulfilling your resolutions. If health and wellness are some of your main goals, joining a gym is a great place to start. Before you rush off to join the next gym you see, there are many factors you should consider. Join us as we explore the questions to ask before joining a gym, so you can start your journey to better health and wellness with your best foot forward. Keep reading to learn more!

Questions to Ask Before Joining a Gym

Shopping around for a gym is one of the best ways to make the right decision. With such a wide variety of gyms out there, knowing what questions to ask and what features are most important to you can make all the difference in your search. We take a closer look at ten of the top questions to give you inspiration and a jump start on your journey.

How close is the gym to my home? According to recent studies, you’re more likely to find reasons not to work out if your gym is more than 12 minutes away from your home. By choosing a faraway gym, you may find it more difficult to visit before or even after the workday. Instead, research fitness clubs and facilities that are within walking distance of your home, so you can find a time to exercise that suits your busy schedule. There’s no point in paying a membership fee if you only visit your gym once or twice a month.

Will a gym membership fit into my budget? Of all the questions to ask before joining a gym, your budget should be at the top of the list. Considering the state of the economy, gym memberships aren’t for everyone. Before you begin scouting potential clubs, determine how serious you are about your fitness goals and find a way to fit a membership into your monthly budget. You can also set aside savings to work toward a club membership in the near future.

What is my fitness personality? If you are self-motivated and feel familiar with the most common equipment found at any fitness facility, you might enjoy a gym with a similar demographic. CrossFit®, INSANITY®, P90X®, Zumba®, and other dedicated fitness programs are best for athletes and fitness enthusiasts that have a certain goal. If you are completely new to the gym environment, you might enjoy the help of a professional trainer or a group fitness class.

How long has this gym been in business? Like any other business, branding and location are the keys to success. If you stumble upon a gym that recently changed names or ownership, that may be a sign of slow business or failure to attract repeat customers. Research the backstory behind your potential gym before signing any paperwork.

What do I get in return for my money? Every fitness club is unique, and that is why it is so important to learn about all the classes, programs, and services available to you. Contact customer service or sales departments to discover what exactly a membership fee entails, so you won’t get stuck with any surprise fees for towels or sauna time.

Can I take a trial run before signing up? It never hurts to ask for a free trial run or guest pass, so you can safely determine whether a gym is right for you. Visit your potential club at a time you might normally go as a member, so you can get a good idea of how busy it is and whether the demographics, equipment, and trainers suit your needs.

How busy is this gym? Overcrowding and peak times are big components of this twofold question. If you only have an hour or two to make some gains, 20 minutes spent waiting for your favorite machine can really take a toll on the quality of your investment. As we already mentioned, you should visit the gym and observe lines, wait times, and other factors that may affect your final decision.

How experienced are the personal trainers? One-on-one training is one of the top reasons anyone joins a gym, but you should always double check the qualifications of the training staff. Any responsible health club will ensure that their personal trainers are fully certified and capable of helping you achieve your fitness goals.

Can I get any deals or discounts? Gym memberships may seem daunting, but they’re never set in stone. As with any new product or service, you shouldn’t be afraid to negotiate. Like restaurants, health clubs have slow seasons. You may be able to snag a bargain by interviewing potential clubs in August and December. You can also wait until the end of the month, because club associates might be more inclined to waive initiation fees or mark down monthly membership fees if they can meet a quota.

Are there any penalties for cancellation? This last question is one that no one likes to think about, but fitness clubs are businesses too and there’s a fair chance they might apply fees to membership cancellations. There is generally a brief period of time after you sign a membership contract that allows you to cancel, no questions asked. You should always read the fine print of any contract before signing. As a last resort, you can also hire a third-party cancellation service to terminate your contract.

With these 10 questions to ask before joining a gym, you can shop and sign up with complete confidence. If you’re still not sold on a health club membership, remember that you can always shape up at home. There are many free fitness options you can access right from your living room.