It is January and many of us have made the resolution to lose weight this year and live a healthier lifestyle. However, unless we commit to an exercise routine the likelihood of realizing our fitness goals decrease. Choosing the best gym for your fitness goals is essential to realizing your New Year’s resolution to lose weight and become healthier this year.

A home gym has its advantages (saves money and is convenient) but for many of us a home gym is not the ideal way of meeting our health goals. The most important factor in deciding if a home gym is right for you is knowing if you are self-motivated enough to continue an exercise routine on your own. While having a gym in your home is ideal for people who need the flexibility and convenience to schedule exercise, unless they are self-motivated the newness will soon wear off and the equipment will collect dust. The drawback of a home gym is there is no accountability so a person who is not highly self-motivated may lose interest quickly and not reach their weight loss goals.

The Best Gym For You

A franchise or chain gym has the benefit of offering a wide range of services under one roof. Furthermore, for people who travel extensively for business or pleasure, it offers them the ability of continuing their fitness routine in different cities by using their gym in that location. Another added benefit of these large gyms is the wide variety of fitness options they offer to keep you interested and motivated to reach your health goals this year.

Some individuals require more one on one attention in order to attain their fitness goals. Boutique gyms (local gyms) offer a lower ratio of staff to members for individuals who require a higher level of accountability to reach their weight loss and fitness goals. Boutique gyms also offer more personalized attention allowing members to receive detailed instruction and form relationships with the staff and other members, which encourages a higher level of individual performance. The major disadvantage of boutique gyms is that they do not offer the variety of programs or have the variety of equipment of bigger gyms.

No matter what type of gym you decide to join there are several factors to keep in mind before signing a gym membership contract.

Gym cleanliness – How clean is the gym? What steps are taken to ensure that germs and/or disease are not spread from use of the machines and showers? Are there stations with hand sanitizers and items to clean machines between uses? When you visit a gym, take particular note of how clean the facilities are – – are the floors clean, does it smell clean, are trashcans overflowing, etc.

Does the gym have certified sports trainers – Ask what certifications and qualifications each sports trainer has prior to signing a gym membership. Also, ask how much experience each trainer has within his or her specialty.

Find out what classes are offered – Many gyms are offering a wide variety of classes to meet the varying fitness levels of their members. Classes should range from beginners through advanced and be offered at several times each week that make them convenient for members who work odd schedules.

Check the gym equipment – Gym equipment should be in good working condition with little or no damage. Look for exercise equipment that is current and up-to-date with a wide variety of different types of machines. Weight training, aerobic and cardio equipment are all essential to a well-balanced workout.

Consider if the location will be an impediment or advantage – If the location of the gym will require you to drive out of your way each day, you will be less likely to continue to maintain a regular schedule. However, if the gym is on your way to work each day, then you remove one obstacle to working out – inconvenience.

One final thought when choosing the best gym to reach your fitness goals –  the actual gym membership contract.

When entering into a new gym membership contract, you should negotiate perks such as free passes for friends, free classes or personal training sessions. Another tip is to negotiate your contract toward the end of the month when gym personnel are trying to meet their monthly membership goals.