blog image

Finding the right fit when looking to join a gym

April 09, 20244 min read

By Ken Berger

If you’re like most people over 50 looking to join a gym, the choices are pretty disappointing.

It could be a big commercial gym with rows and rows of stuff you don’t know how to use, or wasting your time waiting for other people to stop showing off. People get tired of this pretty quickly and stop going.

Outside the big-box gym, maybe you’ve dabbled in large-group fitness classes like bootcamps or one of the pre-packaged, one-size-fits-all programs. If so, chances are you quickly realized there are too many people in the class; nobody is checking your form; and the intense workouts were designed for people much younger.

You thought exercise was supposed to make you feel better, not worse. Yet every time you walk out of these classes, you feel like you’ve been hit by a bus. And that doesn’t even begin to address the embarrassment you felt when you had trouble keeping up and had to take break breaks while the 20- and 30-somethings seemed to be having a blast.

If any of this has happened to you when looking to join a gym, you’re not alone … and it’s not your fault!

It's important to go at your own pace and have a knowledgeable trainer to safely modify the exercises.

And don’t worry … I’ve put together a short list to guide you through the process of choosing the right fitness program so you can stick with it, see the results you want and enjoy the active, youthful lifestyle you want:

Questions you should ask them

Before your credit card is within view of the salesperson at the gym, there are a few questions you should ask when looking to join a gym:

  1. How do you modify the exercises? Cookie-cutter programs make it easier for the instructor, but this lazy approach can make it more likely that you get injured. A well-intentioned training program should have a system in place for tailoring the movements to each client’s ability level.

  2. Is there a gradual on-ramp for new clients? Even if you have an athletic background, starting a new fitness program shouldn’t feel like a sprint. A sensible program should have a way for newcomers to get acclimated gradually and move at their own pace, while still pushing themselves within safe limits.

  3. Is there a warmup and cooldown? The warmup and cooldown are the “boring” parts of the workout, but they happen to be the most important. Sitting at a desk for 8 hours and then jumping right into an intense workout is a recipe for injury and disappointment. Cooling down with light stretching at the end is equally important to kickstart your recovery, so you’ll feel ready for the next workout.

Questions they should ask you

When looking to join a gym, it should feel like you’re entering into a partnership to benefit your health … not a business transaction. You should expect to be asked certain questions about your physical health first:

  1. Do you have any current pain or history of injuries/surgeries? Trainers aren’t mind-readers. So in order to keep you safe and help you get the results you want, it’s important that they’re aware of any current aches and pains or injury history before they start training you. If a trainer doesn’t ask this question, it’s a red flag.

  2. What is your specific goal and what’s motivating you to accomplish it? If your trainer doesn’t know whether your goal is to lose weight or gain muscle, how are they supposed to help you achieve it? Communication is key.

    Clearly communicate your goals to your trainer to maximize results.
  3. What fitness programs have you tried in the past, and what happened? This is a question that very few trainers or gym salespeople ask, but it can provide valuable insight into the potential success of a new client like you. If you tried bootcamp and got injured, you probably need something more personal and customized. If you did yoga or pilates and found it boring, you’d probably benefit from something a bit more demanding like strength training.

When looking to join a gym, it can be easy to get distracted by what kind of equipment they have; the juice bar and sauna; or how many people they can cram into a class. 

It’s important to remember that you’re joining a fitness program that should be focused on improving your health and quality of life … not an amusement park with bells and whistles but no substance.

People who are serious about getting healthier really just want guidance, support and accountability from someone who actually cares about them and their results.

I hope you find these tips helpful and that they make it easier for you to find the right fit when looking to join a gym.

If you have questions or need additional guidance, you can always book a call with me to get your Free Personal Action Plan. In this focused, 10-minute chat, we’ll identify your goals, eliminate your obstacles and map out your clear path to success. No risk and zero strings attached … just me helping you on your journey toward a better quality of life.

You can book your free call HERE.

blog author image

Ken Berger

Ken Berger is a No. 1 international best-selling author of "Unlocking the Secrets of Lifelong Fitness Success." After 25 years as a professional sports journalist for the Associated Press, Newsday, CBS Sports, The Athletic and Bleacher Report, Ken now takes the lessons learned from the world's greatest athletes and changes lives through exercise and nutrition.

Back to Blog

Max Velocity Fitness + Performance © 2023 . Privacy Policy