I know that going to a gym that fits with my fitness goals is the key to keeping me motivated.
Here are a few types of gyms for you to explore around the GTA.
The Family Friendly Gym
There are quite a few family oriented gyms out there. Many of which offer more than just a gym but also classes to help new immigrants integrate into their communities, youth programs, programs to help small businesses get started and more. Many of the locations have pools, yoga studios, and full size basketball courts! Family friendly gyms can be found at community centres, recreational centres, and not-for profit fitness centres. My personal experience with a family friendly gym was at the Markham YMCA. I didn’t find this gym a fit for myself as I was hoping to meet young professionals with similar interests. It is definitely a great place though if you are looking to get fit while having some fun together as a family.
The Classic Gym
Classic gyms offer a good balance between a family environment and an elite gym environment. They offer everything from personal trainers, group classes, large conditioning rooms, the convenience of multiple locations and friendly educated staff. You’ll find they usually have a variety of people at different fitness levels attending, each with their own goals. I’m currently a member of GoodLife Fitness and find the clientele varies location to location, but the overall environment and feel remains the same at each. So far I have no complaints, other than during peak hours you may find yourself waiting to use a machine (the frustration wears off after you get your workout going though!).
The Elite Gym
These gyms really cater to the crowd that’s already fit and just wants some extra toning or muscle mass build-up. They often offer spa-like change rooms, classes led by qualified instructors, and top of the line equipment. The environment’s competitive as everyone seems to be motivated by the person next to them. Extreme Fitness definitely pops in my mind as an elite gym. I was with Extreme Fitness for two years and I would definitely say it was a gym where I could relax in the change rooms and get to business on the gym floor. I decided to switch gyms when I wanted a less “extreme” environment and more of a casual one.
When choosing a gym, give these different ones a visit to see where you feel the most comfortable. The next thing to consider would be price. Most gyms have a one year minimum contract rule. It’s often better to sign on for a year as pay-as-you-go memberships are generally more costly. If you’re going to take something away from this article let it be this: NEGOTIATE, NEGOTIATE, NEGOTIATE! Don’t say yes to anything that you aren’t comfortable with. It won’t hurt to take all the information you gather on your visit to the gyms, go home, think about it and make an informed decision after considering the pros and cons of each. The last thing you want to do is be pressured into something.
In addition, ask a lot of questions beyond just what the cost of membership is. What I’d consider asking: is towel service included in my contract, can I transfer my account to someone else if I choose to, can I freeze my account if I’m going on vacation for a certain period of time, what are the gym’s hours of operation, do the classes cost extra, and lastly, what are the cancellation fees like? Prepare a list of questions before your visit so you ask all the questions and make the best decision for yourself!
Remember, don’t get pressured into anything and take your time. Good luck!
– Serena Mohandran
Image provided by Free Digital Photos