Which gym should I join?

Choosing a gym is a personal choice and it will come down to location, cost, feedback from others or recommendations from friends. Most people join a gym to be fit and healthy and for many weight loss is their goal. Whatever your goal, you should be doing a combination of cardiovascular training to get your heart rate up, weight training and bodyweight training.

The key thing to remember when joining a gym is that you want results. If you don’t get regular results or enjoy going to the gym you won’t stick at it. Eating well and exercising is difficult, so you need to work hard and be motivated if you want to see results, you won’t get in great shape without this.

Now that you’ve established what your goal is and why you want to join a gym, you should choose a gym that will make you work hard, receive good instruction from coaches and be surrounded by others who will motivate you.

Walking into a gym and trying to exercise yourself could be likened to walking into a garage and trying to dismantle and rebuild your car’s engine. The tools are all there, but you cannot be expected to just know how to use them to best effect. So, not only do you need to work hard you need to work smart.

First off, set yourself some realistic targets. If you have put on 2 stone in 5 years and you want to lose it, don’t expect to lose it in just 2 weeks. However, you could lose it in just 2-3 months and make a lifelong change that will help you be fit and healthy for life.

So, you need a gym that will:

Motivate you This will come from coaches and members.
Instruct you This will come from good coaches taking time to help and advise you.
Push you This will come from the general ethos of the gym.

Below we will explain the different types of gyms to join and my opinion on them.

Martial Arts and Boxing Clubs

Motivate you
There is normally a great sense of community in these gyms and you will find yourself surrounded by people working hard to reach their goals, you will learn new skills which may come in handy someday.

Instruct you
Coaches are always personable and will be happy to help you reach your goals if you show willing.

Push you
Definitely! These sorts of gyms strive for people to do well.

Overview
Not as intimidating as you may think, you will learn skills whilst being pushed and exercising hard.

CrossFit

Motivate you
Definitely, there is a real community feel in these gyms, they generally have smaller membership bases than the larger gyms, so members get to know each other. You will be encouraged to work at your level and find yourself competing with other members at your level to motivate you.

Instruct you
Yes, coaches at these gyms are great, they will always be there to correct you on technique and give advice. The coaches always seem to be in shape because they eat and breath it which makes them inspirational to members. You will do functional exercises, lifting weight and working your cardiovascular system in tandem.

Push you
You will push yourself; the classes are made to be competitive, and you will see other people around your level to compete with and fitter people to inspire you.

Overview
A mixture of weights and cardio to get you fit, coupled with an environment conducive to exercise hard makes these gyms a great choice.

Globo gyms (Virgin, David Lloyds etc.)

Motivate you
If you are on the gym floor you will generally be left to it unless you pay for personal coaching. Classes will have instructors that will motivate and encourage you whilst checking you are doing exercises correctly.

Instruct you
Generally decent quality coaches, they will be there to help in classes and you can ask advice on the gym floor, but for extended advice you will be expected to pay for personal sessions.

Push you
In classes yes, you will be pushed, you will also see an OK level of intensity on the gym floor and should be encouraged by those around you.

Overview
Great gyms, nice facilities and good coaches. Generally, these gyms will have coffee shops, whilst this isn’t going to make you fitter the social aspect of grabbing a coffee and making new friends may entice some people to continue attending.

Economy gyms (Pure Gym, Gym 4 All, Xercise4Less)

Motivate you
If you use the gym floor you will be left to it unless you pay extra for personal coaching. Classes are on offer and these are great to motivate you.

Instruct you
Coaches will be there in most classes, some are virtual on screens, but they will be present to help in most.

Push you
In classes yes, on the gym floor no, unless you pay for PT.

Overview
Economy gyms are what they say they are a cheap way to access a gym so are great for people who are self motivated.

Exercising at home

Motivate you
This will be down to you; we would advise joining an online group or training with friends to encourage each other.

Instruct you
This is the downfall of training at home, you will have no one to advise you if you are doing things wrong and possibly injuring yourself. A simple low risk exercise like running or cycling is a good idea to get you started.

Push you
This will be down to you, if you can motivate yourself then it’s an awesome option.

Overview
A great way to start exercising, for weight loss you should be moving weights, so at home this will need to be your bodyweight.

Overview

You are undoubtedly the biggest factor in your own success, whichever gym you choose you will still need to put in the effort and attend consistently if you want to get results. If you understand that and take ownership of that from the outset you will get results almost whatever you do.

My personal favourites are CrossFit, Boxing or MMA gyms because they have personal contact with members and help from coaches. You are pushed hard with a no-nonsense work ethic. I also love exercising at home and running, so this is great if you can motivate yourself to do it. This needs to suit YOU, so visit a few gyms before your join and decide for yourself.

Pick a Gym > Join > Exercise > Eat Well > Get the results you want!

** Disclaimer: The views in this blog are Jon Leonard’s personal opinions which are based on 20 years in the fitness industry, they are not the views of Ultra Nutrition.

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