About half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, according to the Journal of Clinical Psychology. The top resolution—you guessed it—is to lose weight. No shocker there, but it’s time to take action. The key to sticking to your medical weight loss plan is a combination of diet and exercise. But with so many ways to get your heart pumping, finding the best gym to lose weight can be overwhelming. We’ve provided tips to help you feel confident and comfortable about joining a fitness center.
Know your needs: First, ask yourself this: What will I be doing at the gym?
If a treadmill and free weights are all the motivation you need to work up a sweat, a 24-hour fitness center will provide the bare minimum amenities at a smaller cost.
However, if you thrive in a group exercise environment, you’ll want a membership that includes classes. Many fitness centers have cycling, Pilates, yoga, kickboxing, and zumba included in basic membership. Plus, group exercise can keep you accountable and provide motivation to stick with your fitness goals.
You may want to narrow your search to fitness centers with pools if joint aches and pains are keeping your fitness goals at bay. Swimming is the perfect low-impact exercise that can whip you into shape.
Instructor certification: Ask what kind of certification the gym requires of its personal trainers and group fitness instructors. There are right and wrong ways to do certain exercises, and instructors certified from nationally-recognized organizations are educated on proper form and safety. Look for certifications accredited from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, such as the American Council on Exercise and American College of Sports Medicine.
Convenience: You’re more likely to use the gym if it’s convenient. A time-consuming drive can deter you from exercising completely. Think about the time of day you prefer to workout. If you like to squeeze in a workout during your lunch break, a gym near your office is ideal, but if you’re more of a weekend exerciser or morning person, it makes sense to find a fitness center close to your home.
Test it out: The best way to know if you will be happy at a gym is to try it out. Many health clubs offer a trial period before you sign the dotted line. During this period, use the fitness when you would regularly workout to get a sense of the crowds and atmosphere.
Cost: Joining a fitness club can be costly, but negotiating is always possible. Experts say you can get the most bang for your buck by joining at the end of the month. Why? Sales reps at many major health clubs have monthly membership goals, and a rep is more likely to cut you a deal when his or her goal is on deadline.
Read reviews: The beauty of the Internet is that you can find user reviews on just about anything. Use it to help you find a gym by reading reviews. Of course, take these comments with a grain of salt; not every member is going to be completely satisfied. But if the majority of reviewers rave about a facility, you should be in the clear for a positive experience.
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Find a center near you to schedule a consultation with a CMWL physician.