Everywhere you look, there is a place you can work out. Not only are there a lot of choices, but they are all starting to look the same too. It's becoming really tough to know what to do.
How do you decide where to go?
These questions below are 3 that you should ask your gym. If they can answer all of them, and do what they say they'll do, you have yourself a special place!
QUESTION 1: how do you guys program long-term and what are the specific 'things' I should expect to target?
No matter the program or way of exercising, the person programming should know where they want to go and more importantly, how to progress it. This could be a basic sequence in vinyasa yoga, improved strength in the back squat, improved split times for a 10k - as long as there is an answer and it seems they've thought (alot) about it, you should rest easy.
You want to know that someone is steering the ship and that the training sessions work together. If you get the answer "oh each coach just comes up with what they are feeling for the day", two things will happen: you will be entertained in the short term and burnt out long term. Without long term planning it's really hard to just stumble into long term fitness
QUESTION 2: How do you address things like nutrition, lifestyle and recovery?
You may not think this is important or a part of fitness, but you'd be mistaken to think that just working out hard gives you a pass to eat whatever. When you look for a gym, this needs to be a part of what is included.
There are lots of ways to go about this. We work with members on an individual level, but we know lots of gyms that do challenges, bring in speakers, or outsource to dietitians or wellness clinics. If you ask this question and the response is "we offer protein shakes post workout" or "we create a mindset in class", go somewhere else.
QUESTION 3: What does it look like for an athlete to participate in your program for 5+ years? 10 years?
10 years may be a reach (lots of gyms haven't been open that long!), but you do want to hear that the gym has had members for years. You want to know that what you are participating in is both effective & sustainable. If you ask the question and they either don't know or discount the question as unimportant, they are in the #entertainmentbusiness and not the #takecareofpeoplesbodiesbusiness.
We hope this helps. Price and proximity are important, but if the gym/program can answer the questions above, you got yourself a winner. Remember, this body you're using...it's the only one you got!