Shopping Around For The Perfect Gym…Or Jim, Depending On Why You’re Working Out

Last month my gym announced that it was being taken over. The new gym wasn’t offering as many classes (I need someone to tell me what to do) and wanted access to my bank account for payment. In my gay opinion, it was time to look for a new gym.

I am, in no way, a gym rat. You would think that going 4 or 5 times a week would have me looking like Zac Efron but only in my dreams. I’m a lazy gym goer. I’m an old, gay, vegan; this is as good as I’m going to get. They say “No pain! No gain!” but I don’t like pain and I’m ok with less gain so I stop when I’m too sweaty or tired. I go to the gym for the eye candy and so I can continue to eat candy without going up a pant size. I was originally intimidated to join a gym and for anyone in the same boat, here are my tips for finding a gym.

Definitely shop around. The internet is a great place to start. See what gyms are in your area, what they offer, and other people’s reviews. Tour as many as you can. I visited the three on my list in one day so everything would be fresh in my mind. I took notes in my car when I left each one. Go in knowing what questions you want answered. For me it was cost and when are the classes. Some gyms offer a free personal trainer assessment which can be helpful if you’re just starting out because they explain how to use the machines. Some memberships are good at only the gym you sign up at or all locations in the chain.

For me, price is my main concern and most gyms will only give prices in person. One gave me the hard sell. They had a “special price” that ended the day before but lucky for me it was still in the system if I signed up immediately. That’s one of the oldest lines in the book. It’s a turn off and knocked them off my list, also they were the most expensive, even with the “special” deal. Gyms are notorious for making their contracts hard to get out of, so know how before you sign. All three gyms had three billing things in common: a sign up fee, a monthly fee, and a yearly maintenance fee. Some wanted my checking account information but I’m a credit card only gay, nobody touches my banking account. One gym wanted to punish me for using my credit card, requiring a year’s fees (almost $500) up front.

Check out the clientele. I like my buffed eye candy, but more importantly, I want people who have the same shape as me. One gym I visited had so many hard-core body builders that I knew it wasn’t for me, plus I probably couldn’t show my face in there again after drooling all over myself (that was drool, honest). I could barely walk or listen through the tour because all my other senses left me as my eyes bugged out of my head.

When it came time to pick my new gym, it was a no brainer, I went with the low-rent one. They didn’t even give me a tour, they told me to walk around on my own. They had an offer for people who were switching gyms. No money down, four months free, a yearly maintenance fee of $40.00 and a year contract at $21.00 a month. There are more and less expensive gyms but this one has classes every day at good times.

I’ve been at the new gym for about a week now but unfortunately it’s not as good as my old one. The classes are more crowded and there’s no interaction with the instructors, but I’m making it work (Tim Gunn would be proud). I have a year and four months in my contract to see if the experience improves. If not, then I’ll shop around again.

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