Choosing the Right Gym

Last night’s run was a good one! I am really happy that I was able to increase my distance once again with no pain. I felt really good during my 2.75 mile run on the treadmill. In fact I REALLY really wanted to keep going to 3 miles. But I was a good girl and didn’t push it.

The gym madness has already begun. The gym was really crowded. Too many people trying to use too few machines. Not fun. January will not be my favorite time of year, that’s for sure.

I wasn’t able to use some of my favorite weight machines because they were always occupied. I made do with the other machines I like and focused on my triceps. While I’ve made a lot of progress I wish my triceps were stronger and toner.

Last night my focus was Chest, Back and Triceps. I finally gave up trying to use the weight machines and went over to the other side where the free weight machines were.

Hey Single Girls! Here’s a tip: if you want to meet a guy at the gym, just work out in the free weight/scary men’s weight area of the gym. So I headed over there to use the chest machines and whoever used the Bench Press last didn’t return their weights to the stack. I was about to remove them when some guy kindly hurried up to me and offered to remove them. I guess since I’m a GIRL and all I couldn’t lift 45 pound weights. πŸ˜‰ I mock but he was just being chivalrous.

After the Bench Press I was able to do the Plie Squats again! Last week I tried them and had uncomfortable knee pain so I quit. Last night was a success all around.

Gym Stats:

Time: 1:33

Calories Burned: 686

Went home and ate leftovers from Star and since “I Run So I Can Eat”:

…I ate a piece of apple pie afterward:

πŸ™‚ It was excellent!

How to Choose the Right Gym

It’s that time of year…everyone is making New Year’s Resolutions and gym’s are doing everything they can to lure in new customers. So how do you know what’s right for you?

For me when it came time to buy a membership to a gym I knew there were only two factors I cared about (at that time):

1. Swimming Pool. Duh, my primary source of fitness has always been swimming. But you’d be surprised how many gyms do not have a pool.

2. Convenience. I hate commuting–period. If the gym is too far away from my house I just won’t go. Plus the hours need to be convenient for my schedule too.

Here are some tips to help you narrow down the list:

  • Good Equipment: Is everything working? Are there enough machines so you’re not fighting over a treadmill or elliptical every time you work out?
  • Variety of Machines: There should be a nice variety of machines. Different brands and types of treadmills, ellipticals, row machines, etc. Plus there should also be weight machines AND free weights. Variety will keep it interesting.
  • Classes: If classes are more your speed check the gym schedule for hours and variety of classes offered. If none of the classes will work with your schedule, keep looking at gyms.
  • Price: Check online for deals, specials and coupons (check Costco as well). I bought my 2 year membership to 24hr Fitness for $300 at Costco. Great deal!
  • Locker Rooms: Is everything clean? Hygiene is a biggie for me. If a gym looks dirty/moldy or gross I won’t go. Same with the pool–is the water clean?
  • Personal Training: Some people need a personal trainer to get them motivated, or give them tips. It’s really important to find the right trainer you can work with. Don’t settle for less! Also, the trainer should have some sort of degree or certification. Ask them!

Final Tip: When you sign up for a free week before signing any contracts be sure to workout at the SAME time you’ll use the gym if you belonged. That way you can accurately gauge how busy it will be.

QUESTION: What are your priorities for choosing a gym?

Author: Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and

7 thoughts on “Choosing the Right Gym”

  1. For me, the #1 factor was money because I’m on a pretty tight budget. Recently I moved into a new apartment, and the apartment has a gym inside! There are only 6 weighted machines, but a whole set of free weights, and 3 treadmills, 4 bikes, and 2 ellipticals. I can already feel it getting busier by the day which is good I guess… but annoying. πŸ™‚

    1. That’s cool that you have access to a gym in the apartment. No excuses! I have a gym in my office, so I can use that. There are 2 treadmills, 1 elliptical, 1 bike, a weight machine and a stair stepper.

  2. Omg I LOVE that headband! Hahaha! That’s awesome!

    I don’t belong to a gym right now because I just wasn’t using it enough. BUT my priorities go in this order: cost, location, classes offered! I belonged to the Y before because it was nicely situated between my work and my home, was only $50 a month and offered a lot of great classes + a pool. But when I got really into hot yoga I discovered I wasn’t using the gym enough to make it worth the $50/month so I canceled my membership. Now I do strength training at home by using free weights or doing P90X or 30-day shred!

    1. I love it too! Sometimes I get weird looks at the gym, but oh well!

      I used to belong to the community center too and just outgrew it. It was great for when I used it just for swimming and the elliptical machine. Now, I need more options!

      As a runner having a gym membership isn’t always a must–unless you’re a fair-weather runner like me. πŸ™‚

  3. I am in a very lucky position where gyms are concerned. I work for the local government and have a reduced membership to my local government run gym which also happens to be 45 second walk from my house. It has a pool, amazing health suite with a jacuzzi which faces the beach and gym with classes, sports hall, squash and badminton courts. It was built relatively recently. The other gym I use is part of the same government scheme and was built last year. It is a 15 minute walk along the beach and is situated on a marina lake and offers all kinds of watersports. I will take some photos of the gyms and write about them on my blog…oh yes the gym gods certainly smiled on me.

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