Karl Henry: What to look out for when choosing your gym

It’s that classic time of year, when the January gym member emerges from the shadows, full of enthusiasm and vigour. Unfortunately, our New Year’s resolutions can wear off quickly, often leaving you with a rather expensive direct debit that continues to come out of your account as your attendance reduces month-by-month. Sound familiar?

In today’s column I want to bring you my top tips to ensure you get the very best out of your gym membership.

1 Is it close to work or home: So simple yet so important. We know that if your gym is close to where you work or where you live, you are more likely to go. We spend so much time commuting that commuting to the gym is just a trip you could do without. Convenience is key – so make that high on your list.

2 Do the classes actually happen on a time that suits you: A classic mistake. Those early morning classes are fantastic, if you actually like early mornings. It is so crucial to make sure that there are classes on when you actually like to train.

3 Do you get regular assessments: Getting measured regularly is crucial to staying motivated. You should have a regular assessment at least every four to six weeks to make sure that you are on the way to achieving your goals and also to see the impact on your results that your training is having on your health

4 Can you freeze your membership if you travel: If you work in a job that requires you to travel a lot then you need to see if they will freeze your membership when you travel for an extended period of time.

5 Is it excessive, cultist or relaxed: There has been a frightening rise in cultist fitness gyms and styles of training over the last few years, they are excessive, expensive and another short-term quick fix.

6 Can you do a trial: So you found a gym you think you might like, why not ask them if you can do a trial. Try a class, check out the facilities and the trainers and see what you think. Even if it meant paying for that one off class, a trial can be an important way to get a feel for a gym.

7 Do you actually enjoy it: January is the time for people to try quick fixes that they don’t actually enjoy, pushing on for the sake of results or promised results. But if you don’t like something, I can guarantee that it’s not going to last.

8 Do you have friends who go: Surrounding yourself with friends is a great way to keep focused and motivated all-year round, you work together to help each other and encourage each other when times get tough.

9 Be clear about the results you are looking for: Be sure to spend some time assessing what your health results actually are and that they gym matches those goals.

10 Chat to some of the other members: A great way to know if you are going to like it or not, is to chat to some of the other members, see what they think of the gym. If you are already in a gym, see if the members would like some changes made and then let the gym know.

* Every week, Independent.ie features The Real Health podcast with Karl Henry, in association with Laya Healthcare.

In this week’s podcast, Karl and his fellow experts preview Operation Transformation. www.independent.ie/realhealthpodcast

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