Homer Simpson lifts weights in a gym. Rainier Wolfcastle is his trainer. Homer says,

You’re ready to set some personal fitness goals and want to find a great gym. You Google “gyms near me” and find so many to choose from! Where do you begin?

Narrow down your choices and find the perfect gym that's just right for YOU!

Cost & Membership Options

A person holding US $100 bills. Photo by Alexander Mils on Unsplash

What can you afford to spend?

Gym membership costs vary significantly. An average membership can cost as little as $10 a month and as much as $100 a month (or maybe even more) depending on factors such as gym type, offered services, location, membership tiers, and contract length.

It's important to determine your gym budget before you start your search.

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What payment options are right for you?

Many gyms offer yearly, monthly, weekly, and drop-in rates. Determine what payment option works best with your pay schedule.

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Is a contract required?

  • Read any fine print on a contract or the gym’s website for important details.

  • Ask if there are any additional fees like initiation fees, maintenance charges, class fees or cancellation fees.

  • Before signing a contract, take advantage of any free trials the gym may offer. Trying it before you sign will help determine if it's the right gym for you!

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Location & Hours

A New Amsterdam character saying,

Convenience is key!

Don't make getting to the gym any harder than it has to be! You’re more likely to stick with your fitness plan if the gym you choose is close to where you live, work, or attend school.

Other factors to consider:

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  • Do you need flexibility with location? Consider joining a chain gym with multiple locations to choose from. Make sure your contract allows for this.

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  • When does exercise fit into your schedule? Make sure the gym is open at that time!

Quiz 1: Molly's Gym Search

A line of treadmills in a gym. Photo by Sven Mieke on Unsplash

Molly is a college student who wants to join a gym. She is on a tight budget and needs a gym located near campus with flexible hours. Which gym option should she choose?

Gym A: Located 3 miles from campus with top-notch equipment but with a higher monthly rate.

Gym B: Located 2 miles from campus offering a student discount and is open 24/7.

Gym C: Located a half mile from campus with affordable monthly rates but closes at 7pm on weekdays.

Gym D: Located right on campus, providing a variety of amenities and flexible hours but has higher membership fees than gyms A, B, and C.


Which is the best choice for Molly?

Fitness Options

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How do you plan to reach your fitness goals? Will you need the support of others or are you fine going solo? Consider the following:

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Group Fitness

  • Make sure the class schedule aligns with your availability.

  • See if they offer the types of classes you're looking for.

  • Ask if you have to register in advance.

  • Observe the trainers/coaches. Are they knowledgeable and friendly?

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Solo Training

  • Observe the weightlifting area to ensure there is a variety of equipment.

  • Check out the cardio area at peak times to make sure there are enough machines.

  • Make sure the equipment is safe and up to date.

Community & Atmosphere

Group sports players congratulating each other and giving high-fives.

Choosing a gym with a welcoming and inviting atmosphere will encourage you to keep going back! Things to look for:

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  • Encouraging signage

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  • Positive music

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  • Friendly and approachable staff

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  • A diverse and inclusive community

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  • A good reputation in the community & positive online reviews

Quiz 2: Marc's Gym Search

The weight lifting section of a gym with free-weights and machines. Photo by Mark Bertulfo on Unsplash

Marc is just starting a job in a new city. He's looking for a gym where he can make friends and participate in group fitness classes before work. He also wants to be part of the gym community. Which gym is just right for him?

Gym A: Is close to his new apartment, is open 24/7 but does not offer fitness classes.

Gym B: Offers group fitness classes and monthly social events but has limited operating hours.

Gym C: Offers a variety of group fitness classes all day, hosts monthly membership events and partners new members with a buddy for the first 30 days.

Gym D: Has a great group fitness schedule but has a quiet atmosphere with limited social events.


Which is the best option for Marc?


People swimming laps in lanes at a gym pool. Photo by Serena Repice Lentini on Unsplash

Prioritize what conveniences you would like access to based on personal preference, budget, and fitness goals.

Some gyms offer:

  • Smoothie bars for replenishing energy levels

  • Saunas and steam rooms for relaxation and recovery

  • Swimming pools for low-impact cardio

  • Massages to improve flexibility and aid in overall recovery

  • Basketball and racquetball courts for additional cardio options

  • Nutritional counseling to improve your diet

  • Locker rooms to secure your belongings

  • Showers for feeling fresh after your workout

Which ones are the most important to you?

Take Action

Rocky running up stairs and celebrating.

Ready to find your perfect gym?


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