Features to Look for in a Fitness Center

Each January, individuals make New Year’s resolutions that focus on getting fit. Soon afterwards, the phones at area gyms start ringing off the hook with men and women looking to become new members. In fact, according to IHRSA, The Global Health & Fitness Association, 12 percent of all new gym memberships begin in January.

Gyms are not one-size-fits-all organizations. Gyms that appeal to some might not appeal to others. The following are some features to consider when looking for a new gym:


  • Cost: IHRSA says 46 percent of former gym members claimed the reason they quit was due to cost. Finding an affordable center is a top priority for many people. The good news is many gyms market themselves as low-cost options with low monthly fees with minimal annual add-on costs.
  • Specialized programs: Some fitness centers focus on specific workout regimens, such as cross-fit facilities. If a certain style of workout is compelling you to get in shape, research gyms that specialize in that program.
  • Atmosphere: Two gyms may have the same equipment and group classes, but may give off completely different vibes. Individuals should take tours to assess who is visiting the gym and what kind of atmosphere exists inside it. The goal is to find a comfortable, encouraging, safe, and clean environment with like-minded people that will keep you going back.
  • Hours of operation: A center that has extended hours is important for people balancing careers, families, and school schedules. Find out about the general hours; when trainers are available; whether certain sections of the gym or amenities close at certain times; and when classes are offered.
  • Guest privileges: Working out with a friend or family member can provide the healthy level of competition needed to keep workouts going. Ask about family membership discounts as well.
  • Equipment: Equipment is an important consideration as well. Visit each gym you’re considering, making sure the equipment is modern, well-maintained, and clean. Gyms that have several broken-down treadmills or outdated strength training equipment may not be worth the membership fee. Determine which equipment is included in the cost of membership as well. Cardio machines, free weights, stretching areas, weight machines, and changing rooms are desirable among many gym members.

The right facility can make all the difference and help people achieve their fitness goals. Locally, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Buffalo has two locations – one in Buffalo and one in Getzville. Learn about new extended hours, membership options, including virtual options, swim and dance programs, classes, personal training, the Parkinson’s kick boxing program, summer camp, and more at www.jccbuffalo.org. Download the center’s new program guide at www.jccbuffalo.org/guide/.