I have trained in and worked in a variety of different gyms since I started training. I have trained in small gyms with only basic machines, commercial gyms, strongman gyms and gyms aimed at bodybuilders. I have trained in budget gyms and independent gyms. I have also trained in people’s garages that have been turned into gyms and worked in a porta-cabin that was being used as a gym. Whatever type of gym I train in I always look for the following factors in the following order:
Does the gym have a warm and friendly atmosphere? Do the staff acknowledge you when you walk into the facility? Do the staff even walk the floor and ensure people are exercising safely? If the answer to any of these questions are no then I will not train there. One of the budget facilities I have trained in scored no in all three questions in this section. The only time I saw staff on the floor was when they had a client. This for me was the worst way to run a facility. Although a simple hello was enough for me, people who have never used a gym before, or are nervous would need more interaction whether the staff were being paid or not.
Does the gym have the equipment that will best suit my requirements? Much of my gym training is based around basic free-weight exercises. After free-weights, I prioritise bodyweight exercises then resistance machines. If the gym is mainly equipped with resistance machines and very few free-weights I will look for a different facility.
Does the gym have its own car park and bike shed or do I have to pay to park? I have found that budget gyms do not have their own car park. This means that although the monthly membership is low parking charges mean that you do not really save any money.
For me the price is the least important factor when deciding on a gym. I know it might seem odd but when I did train in a budget gym I was paying more each month for parking then I was on gym membership. If price is the most important factor for you then make allowances for how much you may need to set aside for parking.