7 Things No One Tells You About the Gym Before You Join (PHOTOS)

Carly Pizzani | Dec 30, 2014 Healthy Living

Running on the treadmillIt's that time of the year when New Year's resolutions are made, and of course, one of the number one resolutions is to lose weight and get fit. Gyms everywhere are the big winners when it comes to this common goal. When January rolls around, gym memberships become one of the most-purchased items to help achieve weight loss and fitness resolutions.

But have you ever made a New Year's resolution and joined a gym only to have your dedication fall by the wayside come February?

Before you sign on the dotted line for your local gym this year, check out these 7 things no one tells you about the gym before you join, as well as tips for what you can do to make your new gym membership work for you!

What do you wish you had been told before you joined a gym?

 

Image via ferrantraite/iStock

  • Just HOW Many Members There Are

    1

    For most gyms, especially the bigger chain gyms, there's no limit on the amount of members they sign up in any given period. More is better when it comes to getting a new member to sign the contract and start paying their monthly dues. 

    How do they manage it? Well, they know that most people who sign up for a membership won't end up going to the gym regularly -- and some may show up once, then never again. If everyone who actually had a membership all arrived at the gym to work out, there would be pandemonium.

    The Fix: Don't fall into the trap of thinking because you have that membership, you're automatically fitter or healthier than before. The key is using it! Make a conservative plan to begin, then start going.

  • No One Actually Uses That ...

    2

    There are some machines and equipment that no trainer would actually use or have their client use. You'll definitely see some members using the adduction/abduction leg machines or the ab machines on the regular, but most trainers know they're not the safest OR the most efficient for the average exerciser!

    So why are they there? Who knows ... Maybe simply because people expect to see what a membership adviser friend of mine cheekily refers to as the "yes or no" hip machines, so gyms keep them around.

    The Fix: Most gyms will offer you at least one complimentary session with a trainer when you sign up. If you don't plan on using a personal trainer on the regular, you can still take advantage of the freebie by picking their brain about what to avoid, and what to focus on, to maximize your goals.

  • Wipe It Down!

    3

    Let's assume you already know you should be wiping down the equipment you use after you're done. (You are doing that, right?) But something that may seem like overkill is actually a good idea, and that's wiping down the equipment before you use it as well.

    You only need to spend a short period of time observing gym-goers to realize there are always a few who never, ever clean after they're done. Ewww!

    The Fix: Avoid the possibility that you're touching someone else's bodily fluids when you use equipment by giving it a quick wipe before and after you work out.

  • All Gym Gear Is NOT Created Equal

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    Let's talk about tights, ladies. You don't need to spend a small fortune on fancy, expensive tights or leggings for your workout, but what you do need to do is make sure you're not displaying your (ahem) assets to the whole gym. It happens more often than you realize, and it's one of those things that you might not hear, because it's awkward for someone to tell you they can see through your pants.

    The Fix: Bend over and check out your rear in a mirror -- in natural light if possible -- and buy the right size. Even if you can squeeze into the smaller size, and the number on the tag makes you feel good, you won't feel good if you find out your fellow exercisers know what kind of undies you're rocking.

  • Personal Trainers Don't Always Get Paid

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    If your New Year's resolution has extended beyond a gym membership to hiring a personal trainer, what a trainer probably won't tell you is if you don't show up -- they don't get paid.

    Robin M. Gillespie, a personal trainer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, shares, "Most gyms have a 24 hour cancellation policy, but unfortunately not all clients are compliant. After a client cancelled on me 30 minutes before a session and was charged, at our next session, they said, 'And you call yourself a Christian! I don't know how your parents raised you, but you do not act like someone who has an ounce of spirituality!'" Ouch.

    The Fix: Find out the cancellation policy before you sign up for personal training, and don't take it out on the trainer if you get charged for a missed session. Personal attacks are never okay.

  • You CAN Learn to Navigate Prime Time

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    Prime time is a sight to behold in the gym, especially when January rolls around. It may seem like every piece of equipment is being used, and it can be intimidating to fight for a space.

    The Fix: When signing up for the gym, it can be helpful to make your appointment during prime time so you get a preview of how crowded the gym will be. Remember, January is the busiest month, so if it seems packed, that doesn't necessarily mean it will be for the rest of the year.

    Check online reviews of the gym to see if members mention prime time craziness, and find workouts online that only require one piece of equipment, so you can sweat it out without taking up a lot of space. 

  • What Trainers Really Think of Your New Year's Resolution

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    The number one resolution personal trainers hear come January is, "I want to lose weight so I look better." Yes, this is a common theme year-round as well, but hearing this from a New Year's resolution client can be a red flag that there's not enough internal motivation to keep them on track past the first few weeks of the year.

    Master Pilates teacher and personal trainer Lynda Lippin explains, "The focus on weight loss and aesthetics has many people starting in January, hating it, and stopping in February or March. I wish people would resolve to feel better and be happier, with exercise as part of that."

    The Fix: Find an internal motivation. If you're watching your diet and working hard in the gym, weight loss and looking better naked are going to happen anyway. What will keep you getting up early to work out, though? Find that true motivation and remind yourself of it so you keep your resolution going.

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