Tayte’s Trail Tips: How to Choose the Best Gym

Tayte Pollmann’s articles are supported by American Trail Running Association corporate member Nike Trail Running. You can follow Tayte’s adventures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Gyms are a great place for trail runners looking to rehabilitate after injury, stay injury free, strengthen running-related muscles and supplement their trail running with cross training or fitness classes. Some gyms may be better suited to your needs than others, so it’s important to find a gym that works for you and motivates you to attend consistently. Here are my top considerations when choosing a gym.

Choose a Gym With Friendly and Knowledgeable Staff

Great gym staff help keep you motivated and are knowledgeable resources. Many gym trainers are certified in various types of training and have backgrounds in exercise science.

The trainers at my local gym, Xcel Fitness, are always happy to suggest new exercises and will watch and critique my form when I’m doing my PT exercises. This guidance has been essential to my recovery from Achilles surgery.

When considering a new gym, get to know the staff during the first week. If the gym has a website, you can research the credentials of the gym’s trainers. Some gyms offer one-to-one training, while others offer classes with a single instructor. Having both options is a nice feature and allows the versatility to get specific instruction when needed, and a group setting for further motivation with your peers.

Variety of Equipment

A gym with many different kinds of equipment allows you construct well-varied and fun workouts. It’s easier to motivate yourself to work out if you have the opportunity to try new things and change up your normal routines.

At my gym, there are 4 different machines I use for calf raises. Although I don’t use all four in each workout, it’s nice to be able to switch between them from week to week. A good gym should offer a wide variety of basic equipment such as exercises bands, different types of cardio machines, Kettlebells, pull-up bars, weights, sleds, recovery equipment, yoga mats, and medicine balls.

Easy and Convenient Access

Your gym should be easily accessible. Gyms that are far away, or hard to get to, will discourage you from going there consistently. If you normally go to the gym after work, look for a location in close proximity to your job site. Visit gyms in your area and ask yourself an important question: Is this a place I see myself going to every week.

Free Cancelation and No Hidden Fees

Some gyms offer affordable monthly memberships, but often make it difficult to cancel. When choosing a gym, make sure you look closely at the cancelation policy to ensure you can cancel, or suspend your membership if you need to. Look for hidden fees to ensure you’re paying for exactly what you are expecting. If you have friends at gym you’re considering joining, ask them what they think of the cancellation policy or if they’ve been burdened with hidden fees.

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