New Year, New You: Finding the perfect gym for you (and your family!)


There is no time like the beginning of a new year to join a gym. It’s a great time to set goals and start living healthier. It can, however, be very intimidating to know where to start in finding the right gym for you. Here are some tips to help you when looking for a new gym.

Identify your fitness goals and gym expectations. Focus in on if you want classes, personal training, indoor swimming facilities, weights and equipment, etc. There are also CrossFit gyms that offer workouts that are constantly varied, have functional movement, and are high intensity. (source:

Once you figure out what you want in a gym, then you can begin to visit gyms in your area.

Make sure you find a gym located close to your house. Many times, if the gym is too far away it will be an easy excuse not to go. Set up appointments and go visit different facilities. If you can, ask some ‘locals’ their opinion on gyms in the area. Word spreads quickly about good and bad gyms.

Be sure to observe the staff, trainers, cleanliness, facilities, locker rooms, amenities and club hours when you visit. Usually the first thing I look at and check out is the child care facility. I ask lots of questions and try to observe how the child care area is being run. If this is something you would be utilizing, find out what hours the child care is open, how much it costs and at what ages the children can enter. Most gyms allow a trial membership for potential members. Test out the different facilities and see what works best for you.

Ask about price and membership deals. Ask if they have any specials they can offer or if they can waive sign up fees. Be sure to find out ahead of time if you will be required to sign a contract and how long the term on it is. Also, ask to see the portion of the contract that explains any penalties for breaking the contract before the end of the term. Find out if you will have access to other locations or just that single club. Check with your or your spouse’s company to see if either offer gym discounts with a wellness program you may be enrolled in! Every discount can help with costs, plus your gym membership might apply towards your wellness program.

Make sure you feel comfortable with the staff and other members while you are working out. You don’t want to spend the entire time feeling intimidated and hiding behind some workout equipment. If you are going to spend the money and time joining a gym, you want to set yourself up for success.

Bottom line, if it doesn’t feel right, try another one. It can be frustrating and time consuming trying to find the right fit, but in the end it will be worth it if you enjoy going and feel at ease.

P.S. My favorite gym I’ve ever joined is LifeTime Fitness. If you have access to one, I would highly recommend joining!

-by Sarah Pappas

A little about Sarah: I am a midwest girl who has been transplanted to California. I have 2 sweeties who call me mom, Levi and Ellie, and my main squeeze, Matt, who is a wonderful provider, husband, and dad. I love the quote, “Not all who wander are lost”. For 10 years we have been wandering, but I don’t feel lost. I am constantly having to remind myself to leave the directions to God. He is leading me on a journey unlike any I’ve ever been on. And I would love to have you follow with me at

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