When the summer vacation ends, many people resolve to start their return to school by signing up for a weight room. A good resolution. But… Before taking out the credit card, be careful not to fall into the trap of certain rooms and think carefully about what you are looking for.
Is the most expensive room the best?
In recent years, the fitness room market has literally exploded. It seems difficult today to find a gym more than 5km from your home if you live in a small town, and that’s good!
However, it is less obvious to navigate among the impressive number of signs. The prices range from single to quadruple (see more) but the quality is not necessarily proportional to the price. How do you know? If you are just starting out, you are probably looking for a room where you will be given advice on performing the exercises. And often, the rooms where you will be abandoned are those with the maximum hours (some are open 24 hours a day).
It is obvious that it will be rare to find a coach available at 4am … But even during the day, it is often these kinds of rooms that do not have available coaches. In addition, the equipment is guided, which reduces the room for improvement and the effectiveness of the exercise. To make progress while reducing the risk of long-term injury, work on free weights (bar independent of the machine) or dumbbells is preferred.
These venues are mostly low cost venues, run by salespeople, who know nothing since they don’t have a sports coach diploma. They are not there to teach but to sell subscriptions.
It is therefore wise to already look at the time range and the equipment available before the price, because these are two direct indicators of what the room wants to offer to its customers and your potential for progression .
It’s good to know, there are associations that offer extremely low prices, sometimes less than 70 e per year. Of course, the equipment is obsolete but it is often a question of free loads, and the associations are frequented by more or less passionate people (be careful however because there will be no sports coaches) and who know the movements, a interesting option!
What are my goals?
The answer to this question is linked to the previous one. Often, in any service that exists on the market, the higher the number of services, the lower the quality. It’s like in a restaurant, when the waiter gives you a long menu like arm, don’t be surprised to hear the microwave beep and see your dish arrive 10min after ordering.
Often the gym is no exception to this rule. The problem is that if your room offers a lot of services (sometimes a restaurant, sauna …), you will contribute for some that you will not use. What you can do is ask the venue what it offers in terms of services and if there are a lot of them, ask yourself if they are really useful for you.
If your goal is to progress quickly and well, go for simplicity. Rooms with little equipment, a closing of the doors at 8 p.m. and a coach present and available will be the less bling bling but will allow you to really focus on your goals. No distractions, no superfluous but efficient minimalism.
What is my REAL dose of motivation?
Too often, people register for a venue with a year-round subscription, go there regularly for the first two months and then reduce their attendance to not go at all. Fitness rooms know how most of the public works.
The motivation from the start doesn’t last forever for everyone. Although year-round subscriptions are tending to decrease (some venues offer a monthly subscription with a departure of 1 or 2 months notice), they are still present.
There are theaters that offer year-round subscriptions in order to increase their customer base, even if it means having many more customers than the actual capacity. But this does not bother the managers because they know that the surplus of clients will become demotivated after a few weeks, which will make it possible to keep a legal number of clients who are training at the same time.
The advice for beginners would therefore be to take a monthly or quarterly rather than annual subscription and renew it. It will be more expensive per month but it will allow you to really measure your motivation as well as to see if the gym and the practice of bodybuilding really appeal to you (and it can save you money in the end if you do not renew your subscription).
Can I negotiate my subscription?
Do you really think that’s cheeky? Try it! I worked as an intern in a weight room to validate my sports coaching diploma, and I will not hesitate to advise you to do so. You can really negotiate the price of your subscription if you have good reasons.
For example, some theaters try to fill their lows of activity (the time when there are few people in the theater) by offering slashed prices, but not all do. You can request a special rate if you come to train early in the morning or between noon and two. This will not work for rooms open 24 hours a day, but you can try it in rooms open during the day and where the staff is present.
Finally, one last piece of advice, be sure to do your practice session on the day and when the rush is greatest (often on Mondays between 5 and 8 p.m.). This will allow you to see if the room is not overcrowded, which could also happen the other days of the week.
A crowded room decreases your progress … Take a ticket and wait in line in front of a machine will do you waste time and increase your stress. The natural room does not have these disadvantages. So there are some interesting questions you can ask yourself to find the room that matches your criteria.
To begin, you can also download my free sports nutrition guide vegan here .