Signing up for a gym membership is a big investment. Not only do you have monthly dues, but there are also joiner fees, contracts and hefty cancellation fees if you decide to leave early. By picking the right gym, you can avoid some of these costs and minimize the chances of trying to get out of a contract early.
Price is probably the most important part of a gym. If you can't afford it, there's no reason to look inside. Aside from the monthly dues, there are lots of other fees associate with joining. Get information on all of them before you sign anything. Joining, cancellation, some classes, certain equipment and personal trainers may not be included in the basic membership.
A lot of gyms also make you sign contracts that tie you up for an year or longer. Trying to get out of the contract early can cost you. Sometimes there are exceptions such as moving out of the area but make sure you read everything before signing anything.
Once you get all the cost issues out of the way, you need to find out about the amenities. Take a tour of the gym and look at all the equipment. Figure out what your goals are and pay closer attention to the equipment you'll be using. If you're really into cardio, take a look at the treadmills, elliptical and bikes. If you'll be mostly lifting weights, check out what kind of free weights, benches and racks they have.
Trial Gym Membership
The best way to make sure that a gym is what you want it to be is to get a trial membership. Some gyms let you workout for free for a few days to see if you like their services. These are the gyms you should looks for. Be careful, there are gimmicks that require you to sign a contract to get a free "trial" membership.
If a sales person is unwilling to let you try out the place for free then walk out and find another gym. It isn't worth throwing money at something you can't try.
The Bottom Line
Remember not to rush into anything. Joining a gym is a long term commitment to yourself and sometimes a company. You shouldn't second guess wanting to join a gym but sometimes you might have to keep looking.