How to search for and find the right gym for you


Gyms can either make or break your workout experience, so the importance of finding the right fit for you can really be the factor in achieving your goals and staying healthy. Luckily for you, there are tons of options out there, and we’re going to help you through it.

Let’s start with the different types of gyms that are out there. We’ve broken it down into five main categories to make your decision making a bit easier.  There are so many factors to consider and it can become overwhelming with price, access, hours, and amenities.

Big Box Gyms

These type of gyms can be found sprinkled all over the nation – chain gyms, if you will. They are your Gold’s, LA Fitness, Sport & Health, Planet Fitness, Crunch Fitness, Washington Sports Club, local YMCA’s or Recreation Centers, etc. Here you typically have the option of a monthly membership which includes the cost of most group exercise classes and access to the gym floor and locker rooms, where personal training or one-on-one coaching services can be purchased for an additional fee.


24 Hour Gyms

A few companies without time constraints are Anytime Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness, Snap Fitness, and Workout Anytime. With a 24 hour access gym, you have the opportunity to get your workout in at any time of the day. There are usually less frills, but things tend to vary depending on the company and location.  These are great options for those of you with non-traditional work hours or scenarios.

Exclusive Gyms

These are your higher monthly membership gyms that offer that fancy health club vibe. Here you can find your EXOS, Equinox, Lifetime Fitness, etc. These health clubs typically have spa services on site, a fully stacked group exercise schedule, personal trainers by the dozens, juice bars, and more.

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Fitness Studios

Let’s categorize these as businesses that offer a specific type of activity;yoga, spinning, barre, Pilates, dance, Crossfit, boxing, etc. These types of studios all over the place where you can enroll in monthly memberships or bundled sessions depending on what works best for you!  If you have found a fitness routine that you love and want to stick with – these are a great option but would not offer the wide array of class options that a larger gym would.

Personal Training Studios

It’s just what it sounds like, a studio gym that provides one on one training sessions only. Size and amenities can vary depending on the gym, but what you will always get is that personal attention without the distraction of others in the gym working out or feeling intimidated at machines that are new to you.

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Still feeling confused? Keep reading!

There are a few other important components that contribute to every fitness experience that you should consider when making your choice.

The amenities

I’m talking equipment – cardio machines, weight machines, dumbbells, barbells, squat racks, TRX, stretching mats, group exercise studio. What is it that you want your gym to offer? Do you want brand new sparkling equipment? Do you want specific/top of the line group fitness classes? Do you need the guidance of an expert? Are you looking for a knowledgeable trainer or group classes? Do you need child care? Knowing whether you want just the basic amenities, or a more luxurious experience can help you limit down which gym may be the best fit.

The social aspect

Let’s not pretend this isn’t a thing. Tons of people fall into new friend groups based off of who they meet when they come in for a sweat sesh. You may also prefer a place that is populated by a higher percentage of same sex members. So, decide if you are a person who enjoys having a social aspect in your workout routine, or if you’re an in-and-out-no-BS kind of person. Knowing this can help you tighten your search parameters and find the right fit.

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The convenience factor

Getting to the gym can be challenging enough for some of us, so why not make things easier and set yourself up for success! Decide whether a location close to your workplace or close to your home is going to help sustain frequent visits.


Sit down and think about what is realistic for your budget.  Consider who in your family is using the membership and cost per member per month.  Will adding this cost to your budget be problematic?  Find a gym that is affordable for you/your family.  As someone who has paid 9.99 for a membership to 135.00 a membership a month for just myself, I understand the importance of finding a good fit that is fiscally responsible too.  Make sure you ask about special discounts for military, teachers, state employees, income based rates, etc. to make sure you are truly getting the best deal possible.  Do not feel pressured to sign a contract in the moment – think about the options and sleep on it!

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Hopefully by now you have been able to conjure up an image of the type of experience you are hoping for yet? If you’re still a bit unsure, don’t worry, because the next step in your gym search will certainly narrow things down. It’s time to do some recon – check out social media, check out each gym’s website, talk to your friends and then schedule a visit. There is no better way to really see if your future gym is the right fit without visiting a couple first, and when doing so, be sure to visit at the time you would actually be working out!

From here, you may be able to cross a few off of your list. With this [hopefully] shorter list, I encourage you to take advantage of a really important perk offered everywhere – a free trial. Almost all gyms/studios offer a free trial of some sort, and you should absolutely give it a try. You may be able to take advantage of a free personal training consultation or one-on-one session and/or unlimited group classes! The more time you spend there, the better idea you will have as to whether it suits you or not.

All in all, you’re not going to know what the best place is for you until you step through the threshold. But, if you’re still pondering what might be the best type of gym for you, reach out to the health and wellness professionals at Custom Kinetics so they can help guide you towards a place that’s right for you.

For those of you that love your gym how did you decide it was “the one?”  Are you still on the hunt? What are you struggling with?


Erin & Custom Kinetics Team


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  • Reply
    August 9, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    I used to go to lifetime fitness and I loved it; the atmosphere, the food, the locker room. Definitely worth the cost

    • Reply
      August 9, 2018 at 4:31 pm

      That’s great to know! I think it’s the extra things the staff do that make the atmosphere enjoyable to be there if that is vibe someone is looking for!

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