Looking for a New Gym? Here are my top 4 Priorities

How can you tell you’re joining the right gym? Seems like a simple question but my hundreds of hours spent interviewing prospective members has told me that a lot of folks could stand to put more thought into this topic.

Today, I thought we’d take some time to break down what I consider to be the Top 4 Priorities I’d be concerned with if I were looking for a new gym today. Let’s get into it…

Priority #1: They Have a Specialty or Niche

It might seem obvious… to find a gym that “does what you’re looking for”, right? Sure, but the sheer volume of health and fitness information / misinformation out there can make this more difficult than it should be. For example, your primary goal might be weight loss. You’ll have no trouble finding many gyms that offers excellent group fitness classes but no nutrition coaching. While this is “ok for most”, it would be suboptimal for someone specifically wanting to lose weight. Despite the obvious gap in specificity, many of these gyms will have no reservations selling you a membership.

Is not having a niche or specialty a dealbreaker? Not necessarily, it just depends on how clear you are about your goal(s) and what you need to accomplish them.

Tip – make sure the gym specializes in THE THING you want to do. Ask them about their client results. What are they proud of, what are they marketing? This will tell you what they value, make sure it aligns with your values.

Priority #2: Their Integration Process

A “quality” gym will have a structured process in place to integrate new athletes. Bonus points for said gym if this process incorporates some amount of:

  • 1 on 1 interview / consultation time
  • 1 on 1 assessment / entry point designation
  • resources for additional learning (podcasts, articles, beginner’s guide, handbook, etc.)

There are many ways to organize an effective integration process for your new members but the key takeaway would be that there IS an integration process. Important items might include showing you the facility, familiarizing you with the equipment, technology, and other members. A private integration process is also a great time to make sure you know how to “do the thing” you’ll be responsible for when you come in to exercise.

At Brentwood Barbell, we spend a lot of time making sure our athletes are comfortable with the “primary barbell exercises” as these will make up the backbone of their program. The Intro program is the ideal time to do this.

Furthermore, if the prospective gym takes payment without an interview, you’re probably not going to get much of an integration process and this could have implications for the culture and community at said gym.

Priority #3: A Prescriptive Coaching Model

While quality gyms will have their “specialty” or niche, they should be flexible in the delivery of said niche. For example, private, group, and hybrid coaching options would be a great place to start with exercise coaching. Additionally, nutrition coaching in group and private settings would be great “add-ons” to the primary options. These services are incredibly responsive to customer needs and goals.

A one-size-fits-all approach can definitely work but prescriptive gyms tend to produce better long term results and engagement as this model more accurately fits each person’s unique interests.

Priority #4: An Ongoing Evaluation Process

At Brentwood Barbell, we call these goal reviews. Every 90 days, a member will sit down with their coach and discuss their past program. We talk about:

  • wins
  • struggles
  • progress / lack of progress
  • happiness / lack of happiness with progress
  • what’s next

This is incredibly valuable as goals change, available resources change, priorities change. In short, life is constantly changing and so are our athletes. This means we MUST talk to them in order to find out if we’re actually helping them accomplish their goals. Quality gyms understand the importance of short AND long term progress as it relates to happy, healthy customers.

You don’t want to become a number after your 90-day trial is over. The best way to ensure long term progress is for gyms to sit down with their long term members and ask how they’re doing.

There you have it. My top 4 priorities after 7 years of gym ownership:

  • Niche / Specialty
  • Integration Process
  • Prescriptive Model
  • Ongoing Evaluation Process

What are your priorities when looking for a gym? Do you agree or disagree with any of mine? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Notice I didn’t mention anything about equipment or amenities. Those things might be important to someone looking for gym “access” but these tend to not matter much for those looing for gym “coaching”. I like to think of it like this:

  • you spend time in a gym
  • you get results in a coaching facility

By all means, both are valuable. Perhaps the first step is to know what you want?

Want to Book a Meeting and talk more about this? GO HERE.

Want to gather up more great advice but not yet ready for a meeting? GO HERE.

Hope this helps, talk soon,