What to look for in a gym membership

What do you look for in a gym?

Now that spring is here, the sun is out longer and the weather is warmer. Many of us have already put away our puffy coats and begun wearing lighter clothing. If we didn't put in the work over the winter months to stay or get in shape, then we can no longer hide those extra pounds we gained under thick sweaters or long sleeves. For those of us who enjoy form-fitting clothing, we have a bit of time before polos, t-shirts, and slim-tapered pants and no-show socks become our everyday attire.

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Luckily we have many options to get in shape. We can take up jogging on the streets or yoga at home. I've always enjoyed the atmosphere of a gym with the options of weights, machines, and space to stretch. I work in the East Village so I have multiple gyms to choose from. While having options is great, it was overwhelming trying to go compare all the available gym locations. So before I joined a gym, I had some considerations: price, equipment, and amenities. All gyms tend to offer a trial period so be sure to experience the gym location firsthand.

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There are three tiers of gyms you can choose from in Manhattan. Premier gyms like Equinox are usually above $170 a month but you get everything and then some. Sauna/steam room? Check. Kiehl's brand toiletries? As much as you need. Classes? Spin class to stuff you've never heard of before. Some locations even have a pool! If price is not a big concern, this is where you want to break a sweat before or after work, knowing that you'll come out fresh and clean.

Mid-tier gyms like Crunch or Health and Racquet Club are at or under $115 a month but have similar perks to Equinox but not the same luxury feeling. Depending on the location, they may have a steam room or rock climbing wall. What it may lack in luxury, it makes up for in offerings. Along with your typical gym equipment, they offer towels and decent toiletries. There are also a multitude of classes available.  

Low-end gyms like Blink or Planet Fitness thrive because of price. But because they are $10 - $20, they can get crowded, especially after work hours. They may not have the nice toiletries or various classes, but it won't hurt your bank account.

I really liked the experience at Equinox but could not justify the price tag. With the low-end gym, I did not like waiting on machines as I usually went during busy times before or after work. And because it's only $10-$20 a month, I knew I wouldn't feel guilty if i skipped a day or six in a month.crunch bowery

After trying all three, I chose to go with a mid-tier gym, Crunch on Bowery street. The facility is always clean. The are a multitude of machines and equipment that are well maintained and fairly new.

The staff is very friendly and the bathrooms and showers meet my needs for when I exercise before work or meet friends for a night out. I haven't tried a class yet but will reserve a seat in a spin class soon to break the monotony of weightlifting routines.  

In the end, if you feel like a gym is your best bet to get in better shape, choose a gym you feel comfortable to work out in. Make sure it's near your home or work so that regular attendance is convenient. Whatever you choose, just decide to stay active.

So, what do you look for in a gym?