What to know before joining a gym

If you’re choosing a gym or personal trainer, don’t sign on the dotted line before taking these steps to ensure your fitness effort doesn’t become an expensive mistake.

According to the Australian Fitness Academy, there are more than 31,400 registered fitness professionals across the country.

And not-for-profit industry standards group Skills IQ reports there are 21,000 businesses operating within the sport recreation and fitness sector, with 8200 personal training studios and 4400 gyms and fitness centres.

Accessing a trainer or a gym has never been easier – but they won’t all suit your needs.

So what steps should you take to choose the right gym or personal trainer for you?  

Figure out what you really want

Take the time to ask yourself some important questions, advises exercise physiologist Rod Blackbourn.

“Are you looking to lose some weight, improve energy levels or maybe you want to train towards a certain event?” says Rod, managing director of Axis Performance.

“Are you just looking to try, or to learn, a different workout style? Once you have this sorted this will guide you in the direction of the gym or trainer that best suits your needs.”

Match your trainer or gym to your needs

Trainer Chris Mutimer says it’s vital to find a trainer or gym who listens to you and then tailors sessions around what’s best for you.

“A good trainer will be able to tell you what you are doing but, more importantly, why you’re doing that particular exercise, and how it relates to your fitness, health, or weight-loss goal,” says Chris, owner of Excite Health and Fitness in Melbourne.

“Remember, a personal trainer is someone who can push you out of your comfort zone. “Before you hire a trainer or join a gym, do a little research to find the right fit for you.”

And any gym or PT should be asking about your health, injury history, current exercise levels and any other factors that strenuous exercise can exacerbate, Rod says.

Red flags when choosing a gym or trainer

Rod warns if the gym sales rep or the trainer are not acknowledging you and speaking about their own accomplishments or only spruiking the gym instead, walk away.

“You, your needs and your goals need to be at the forefront of the conversation,” he says.

“Trust your gut instinct. If you walk into a gym or studio and feel welcomed it is the one for you. Feeling some comfort outside of your comfort zone will set you up for success.”

In a nutshell

  • Set your goals
  • Ensure the gym or PT listens to your needs
  • Ask detailed questions about how they will help you reach your goals
  • Do your research
  • Check all fees and get-out clauses

Written by Donna Carton.