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How to Choose a Fitness Center: Tips for Beginners

how to choose a fitness center

You’ve finally made an important decision – to attend a fitness center on a regular basis. However, choosing a good fitness center where you’ll receive only great results and positive emotions is not an easy task. You should treat it with maximum responsibility.

So, what are the standards a good fitness center should meet? Before going to a gym, you need to learn how to tell a good center apart from a mediocre one, and it is easier said than done.

A lot of fitness center owners prefer to show off, investing a considerable part of their money in a beautiful, stylish interior design and an aggressive advertising campaign. However, a lot of small but nevertheless important things and faults that fitness center managers have can completely screw up a nice first impression of the center you’ve visited, no matter how beautiful its interior design is.

In this post, we’re going to tell you about the nuances you have to keep in mind when choosing a fitness center.

Isn’t it too busy?

No one likes to do sports surrounded by a crowd of people fighting over any treadmill or exercise bike. And crowded showers and cramped changing rooms can kill the mood just as effectively. The main rule here – when you’re choosing a fitness center, plan an introductory visit for the time you’re actually going to train there in future.

For example, if you visit a fitness center at the weekend or during the usual office hours, you’ll most probably see half-empty training rooms with lots of the equipment free to use. But in fact, the busiest hours in any fitness center are from 6 to 10 pm. on weekdays. Schedule your introductory visit at this time. Only this way you’ll be able to see how busy the fitness center really is.

how to choose a fitness center - heavy lifting training

A trial visit

During your conversation with the fitness center manager, ask them about a trial visit. Most fitness centers are offering such an opportunity to potential clients, though, as a rule, they don’t necessarily announce it. You can also search the fitness center’s website for information on the issue.

Here also applies the previous tip: if you were allowed to pay a trial visit to a fitness center, choose the time you’re going to dedicate to regular training. During your visit, try to pay attention to various details (some of them we’ll mention later). Take the change of clothes and swimwear (if the fitness center has a swimming pool) with you and make use of your trial visit – thus it will be possible for you to detect those nuances one is not able to notice as an outside observer.


Before choosing a fitness center, take into consideration the size of its training room, its ventilation and lighting.

Ventilation and air conditioning are a weak point of many fitness centers. It’s quite hard to detect any ventilation problem during a common observation because it usually becomes apparent after the training has started. When you are examining the center with a manager, take off your outdoor clothing and pay attention to your feelings. It should be cool and a bit breezy in the training room. It’s especially important for the cardio zone (treadmills and exercise bikes). There is nothing worse than running in stale air.

A swimming pool and water zone

If the fitness center you’ve chosen has a swimming pool, you should try it as well before paying for membership. Ideally, the pool should have at least 6-7 tracks which are 25 meters long (or longer). This is the minimal length acceptable for professional swimming pools. Otherwise, intense training sessions can become a problem.

A large swimming pool means a large space with a high ceiling to accommodate it so that the ventilation of such a complicated object is quality.

how to choose a fitness center - water zone

Ask the manager how many showers there is in the center. A large fitness center should have at least 20-30 stalls for each changing room. Otherwise, you’re likely to have to wait until one of the showers is free during the busy hours.


It’s important for the training areas to be well-equipped. If the fitness center you’ve chosen has a few training rooms for various kinds of exercises, it’ll count as a great advantage because you will always be able to sign up for a training schedule you’re most comfortable with.

The standard is: two training rooms for fitness and aerobics, a large room for sports games, and the main room with exercise equipment and cardio zone.

Pay attention to the way the equipment is situated. Treadmills shouldn’t stand too close to each other. The best distance between them is at least two outstretched arms. This way you won’t feel any discomfort because of someone’s hot body in close proximity during your training time.

The training room should be divided into a few areas. They are: cardio zone, power training zone, and light fitness zone for those who want to maintain the muscle tone.

Background sound is also important for comfortable training. It would be nice to listen to not very loud, unobtrusive, but quite active music.

There should be enough light, but not too much. Bright light makes you tired, and if it’s too dark in the training room you can get injured.

Besides, the fitness center should be equipped with water coolers.

how to choose a fitness center - training equipment

How much for membership?

A nice fitness center membership won’t be cheap. However, remember that good centers and gyms often carry out ad campaigns, including discounts for newcomers.


If you’re planning to go to the fitness center by car, ask the staff about a parking place in advance. The best way to check how busy the parking lot is is to drive to the fitness center in the evening time on a weekday. If the parking lot is full – draw a conclusion.

It would be great if you managed to find a fitness center where you can get on foot. A walk is a great warm-up before a training session.

We hope our advice will help you choose a good fitness center and enjoy every session!

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