The gym you decide to make your home at should have all the amenities you need to fully satisfy your efforts to bring out the best your genetics have to offer. A great gym is more than just the equipment that is in it (although this is one of the pre-requisites for an awesome gym), it’s the patrons, the attitude and the overall feeling you get when you enter it. You need to feel comfortable enough to unleash your intensity, you need to be around other like-minded individuals all training towards the same goal and you must have a burning desire to set the tone in your gym showing others how to get things done with the hope that they will follow suit.
Here then are what I consider to be the top five necessities for any great gym and what you should be looking for prior to shelling out your hard earned money on a membership.
Yes, you read that right; a gym that actually allows you to lift the way you need to lift to attain the strength, muscularity and overall mass that you desire. You shouldn’t have to continuously look over your shoulder for the duration of your workout wondering if some employee who has about as much gym time under their belt as a newborn does, telling you to place your weights down gently and refrain from any type of heavy lifting that could be offensive to other patrons. You want a gym that encourages raw power, encourages ingenuity, allows for intensity levels high enough that it could blow the roof off the joint at any minute and a staff there that understands what it takes to be great and actually does their best to be a part of it and not just someone sitting behind the counter mixing up smoothies. Remember, these types of gyms are rare so if you are lucky enough to find one, hunker down for the long haul and train insane each and every workout.
There are gyms out there that exist as only a holding ground for easy to use machines. If a free weight does exist in the gym it most likely exists as a kettlebell or a door stopper. These gyms cater to the weak and the lazy and look at free weights as dangerous and completely unnecessary. You need to steer clear of these types of gyms and chances are if you did walk into one of these gyms and you did display any type of muscularity, you would probably be asked to leave quite quickly in fear you would disturb the fragile ecosystem that currently exists. Instead what you want is a heavy metal, hardcore, rusty dumbbells in the corner type of gym where free weights make up the majority of the equipment and loaded barbells are in every direction you look. The people who train in these gyms are going to be big, strong and badass; that’s where you want to be and not where there are more cleaner bottles and wipes than there are dumbbells.
Now I know it seems like in the previous paragraph I was hating on machines; not true. Machines are absolutely an integral part in our training arsenal. When you couple hardcore free weight training with a nice mix of machines, you make for a great workout. The gym you want to be at should have a wide range and variety of machines capable of training every muscle group you have. My personal preference are plate loaded machines with the unilateral component to them, however some cable functioning machines are great for offering a time under tension aspect with no dead spots in the rep for exaggerated movements. When you find a line of equipment that fits your body structure it’ll be hard for you to train in anything else. That’s why finding a gym that fits your needs is extremely important for you and your physique development.
Alright, so I touched on this already a little earlier in the article but a gym with an atmosphere that coincides with your personality is going to make all the difference. If you are the hardcore type then the last place you want to position yourself in is the family fitness type gym. You’ll also want to avoid some of the larger gym chains out there that have annoying bells or alarms go off any time someone trains the way everyone should be training. You’ll also want to stay away from university or college gyms as these gym memberships come with tuition and you get a crazy variety of people in there, most with no knowledge whatsoever about how to act in a gym and they end up getting in your way an infuriating you with their antics. The right gym for you is the one that works to your advantage in the motivation department, playing the music you like, promoting the type of training you like, catering to the type of people you want to train around and makes you feel your best every time you enter it. Find that gym now and never look back.
No one wants to empty their wallets on their gym memberships. Often times gyms will open up and offer one price then secretly raise membership fees through hidden fine print that is never pointed out to you initially. You should expect there to be some sort of initiation fee accompanied by a monthly withdrawal from your account. Be adamant about wanting to sign up for only a year at a time and look for a membership that offers you things other than just the gym itself as a part of your fees. This could be personal training at a discounted price, special prices on tanning, a free shake from the shake bar once a month and even discounted gym gear from the pro shop. The one thing you need to keep in mind is that your gym membership should never impede on your finances and set you behind in the money you need to live your life outside of the gym. Shop around and look for a gym that fits your budget and personal preferences.
Many consider where they train their second home and understandably so. Most of us spend a lot of our time in the gym grinding away day after day. Your gym should be a place of sanctity for you and pleasure haven for hard training. Find one that best suits your needs and personality then go balls to the wall each and every time you train there.
Author: Dana Bushell
AST Sports Science sponsored athlete/writer, ENDEVR Athlete, SKECHERS Brand Ambassador, Sponsored by Schiek Sports Inc.
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