I want to get fit! But, where should I join?

So you’re ready to start your fitness journey, or maybe you’re coming back.  Either way, that’s great to hear! You may now be asking yourself “where do I start?

As you drive down almost any major street you see big box gyms, personal training studios, boxing gyms, boot camp studios, yoga, pilates, etc.

It can definitely be overwhelming when you’re starting. Let me give you some of the pros and cons of each type of training.  I cannot speak to specific locations and centers, but I can help you determine which type of fitness center will work for you.

  1. Big Box Gyms-These are the membership gyms that have been around for decades.  These gyms can be overwhelming to a first timer and are often times not always set up for you to succeed.  With a sales staff, mass marketing and a team of trainers on the floor you may feel at times pressured. Additionally, you may feel there are so many pieces of equipment to choose from or classes to take you don’t know where to start.  These gyms, tend to be more affordable, you don’t have to pay extra (if you don’t want to), have nice locker rooms, pools, saunas, and are well maintained.
  2. Personal Training Studios-These are typically charged on a monthly or per session basis.  The more you go to the facility and work with a trainer the greater your cost. These are often times smaller, may not have as nice of locker rooms (some don’t have showers), you can not work out there on your own, which means you may need a membership somewhere else.  A personal training studio tends to help you with your focus (some, including my own studio) will offer nutrition coaching as well. You tend to feel like you belong to a community more and because of the cost you tend to stay on track with your fitness goals.
  3. “Boot-camp” style studios– I am including all large group facilities.  Large group training tend to have more than 20 people per class with everyone doing the same workout (of course a quality coach will make modifications), but for the most part everyone is doing legs today, upper tomorrow and so on.  These facilities can be overwhelming for the new gym goer as there are often times several levels of clients doing the same workout and you may feel like a small fish in a big pond. It’s difficult for an instructor to give you proper coaching when he/she is working with a room of 20-40 clients.  These facilities are cost effective for most and offer intense workouts that will help you burn calories and fat while being a part of a community.
  4. Yoga and/or Pilate’s studios-Obviously a yoga studio will help you with yoga and a Pilate’s studio will help you through Pilates.  These studios are limited as they tend to focus on one training modality even though they offer a variety of classes geared toward that modality. These studios are ideal for one looking for this particular style of exercise as their teachers and coaches are subject matter experts.  Like-minded individuals thus helping with the sense of community will also surround you.

As you can see there are a number of facilities, exercise ideologies, and experiences to take into consideration when you’re looking to start.  I suggest you reach out to a few of these. Luckily, most will offer some type of trial period. Give each one that you feel may be of interest a shot and try a couple different places for each before making your final decision.  At the end of day, just start to exercise and you’ll feel better!

About the Author

Scott Keppel is the owner of Scott’s Training Systems, a world-class coaching facility in Chandler, Arizona. He is a nationally certified trainer through NASM and ISSA. His mission is to empower women of all ages and fitness levels. For more information head to scottstrainingsystems.com or check him out on Instagram at @stsnation.

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