How to find a gym in a new city

I recently moved from D.C. to a small town in northern California. Staying fit and healthy is important to me. If it is important to you, let’s look at some things to look for in a gym so that you can find one that’s best for you after your move.

Which local gym is right for you?

I spend most of my mornings in a CrossFit gym. I love the classes, the wide range of equipment, and most importantly the people. What is important to you when it comes to your gym? Start by making a list of all the local gyms in your area. You can find these easily with a simple web search.

Each person will have different needs in their gym. Make a list of your gym needs. What hours are important to you? Do you need childcare? Do you enjoy yoga, kickboxing, or Zumba®? Do you want a gym with a nice, big locker room? You have to know what you are looking for so you can narrow down the choices.

Be sure you ask about contract options. Some gyms allow you pay as you go, while others require contracts. Be sure you know these options up front. Most gyms will allow you to try the gym or an introductory class for free, so take advantage of this and get a feel for the gym before you sign on the dotted line.

What to look for in a gym

Here are a few things to consider when picking a gym in a new city:

Gym goals. Know your personal fitness goals before you begin your search. Have a clear understanding of what you’re looking for from a gym, because each one is different. This will help you decide if what that gym has to offer is the right program for you.

Gym location. Be sure the location is convenient for you. If the gym is too far out of the way, you won’t go as much.

Gym equipment. Visit the gym to see if they have the equipment you desire. Do you like the treadmill? If they only have two treadmills, you may have to wait a while to use one. Make sure they have the equipment that is important to you.

Facilities. Do you plan on getting ready at the gym after an early morning workout? Are there showers and plug-ins for your hairdryer? Do you want a sauna or hot tub? If any of these amenities are important to you, be sure you find a gym that offers these things.

Gym people. A gym can be an intimidating place. Sure, there’s plenty of fit people, grunting, flexing and throwing weights. But, it is crucial to become a part of a place where everybody feels welcome. First impressions count! Observe how your trainers interact with other members. Watch how members interact with each other. I can spot the trainers that love their jobs right away by their vibe and personality. Put simply, a great culture = happy members.

Peak hours. Visit the gym when you plan on working out. Is it overcrowded? I love to work out after work, but the weights are packed during that time. I enjoy working out in the mornings, and there are plenty of classes offered then. Make sure your gym time is a good time at the gym.

Group fitness classes. If you enjoy classes, be sure and check the schedule to check for size and availability. Try out the classes to see if you like the instructor and the programming. Gyms should allow you to try the class for free or at a discounted rate.

Price. Be sure you ask for discounts. Gyms give corporate discounts, discounts for families with multiple members, or discounts for signing up for a year in advance. Be sure you ask to get the best price possible. Also, be sure to ask your HR department at work if they offer any discount programs for area gyms.

Be sure you consider these things when looking for a gym in a new city. When you know what to look for in a gym, you will find the perfect place to get your sweat on.

Do you have your own tips for finding a gym in a new city? Or have you already found the perfect gym for you, and want to share what you love about your “special place”? Leave me a comment below so I can share them with our fellow Strength Seekers.