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5 Tips For Choosing A Great Gym? (To Train & Work)

Choosing A Great Gym

Its safe to say the majority of people reading this spend a great deal of their life in the gym.

If your a fitness fanatic the gym is the middle ground between home and work.

If you’re a trainer like me the gym is technically a second home.

Choosing a gym to train and/or work out of can be hard. The gym business is almost like the personal training industry,  new gyms are popping up on every street corner week by week around the world.

Professionalism and high quality service are important in any industry. However, it’s even more important in an industry that’s saturated with self-proclaimed fitness gurus and poor quality gyms.

Having trained in more gyms than I dare to count I’ve come to realise what standards I expect when it comes to getting the most out of my training environment. In some cases the biggest, and best equipped gyms can be the worst whilst the smaller less equipped gyms can turn out to be the best.

I’m inspired to write this as I feel both the public and upcoming personal trainers must learn to differentiate the wood from the tress when it comes to choosing a quality gym/training environment.

So, What makes a great gym?

When you pay for a service – what kind of standards do you expect? How do you like to be treated?

I guess, for the majority that answer, is pretty simple. We want the best service possible, and to get the most out of our hard earned money.

If you’re currently training in a gym or seeking to find somewhere to train, ask yourself the following questions and see how the gym relates. Don’t base your opinion on just one factor, remember no one or no where is perfect.

1. Environment

Is it friendly?

What are the staff like?

Are they engaging and helpful?

Or do they take your money and act like they don’t know you?

What about the members?

Are they friendly or intimidating?

Does the gym owner constantly run down other gyms to get your business?

There really is no need for this bar the odd exception. The gym should speak for itself.

All of these factors are essential when it comes to choosing your training environment.

Bare in mind on of the biggest factors when it comes to getting the most out of your fitness experience is the friendships and networking you do.

The gym is a great social aspect of your life. It’s a place to connect and relate to other people who have similar goals/interests as you.

You’ll find highly passionate people choose their environments wisely. You’ll thrive in a gym like this trust me!

A great tell tale sign is a gym full of successful trainers, athletes, physique competitors and/or people who’ve made remarkable changes to their bodies. They take pride in their gym and making people part of it!

Phil Graham Contest Prep Fitness Bodybuilding

#Throwback to an old client fitness model group photoshoot

This beats a cold stale neutral gym environment any day.

You should be able to sense a  gyms culture from the first training session.

Your environment will either grow you or destroy you – choose it wisely!

2. Is It Equipped?

Does the gym have the tools for the job? Is the equipment quality or makeshift?

In some cases yes this proves intuition. I’ve some incredible hand crafted pieces of kit. However, some things need to be built by a professional. The last time I checked a doctor didn’t prescribe his own home brewed medicine

Is the owner reinvesting money into new equipment and fixing what’s broke?

U.S. Marine lifts weights in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province

If not, it’s not the gym for you!

3. Is It Accessible?

How long does it take you to get to the gym? 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour? It’s important to be realistic with your time management – spending too much time travelling to the gym may not leave enough time/resources for other things in life like relationships and business.

Personally speaking, I feel a 20 min max journey is appropriate. Once a week could accommodate a longer journey for the use of specialist equipment etc.

Do they have parking spaces or do you have to park your car somewhere risky?


Personal Trainers, bare in mind time travelling is time away from coaching clients and learning – is the journey worth it? Do you include travel expenses in your pricing structure to accommodate?

4. Is The Gym Tidy?

The paying public (you) deserves high-quality service at all times.

Is the gym clean?

Are the weights tidy?

Is the floor hovered?

What about the hygiene of the toilets and changing rooms?

No one likes a messy environment, it’s stressful and hazardous to health.


Gym owners will only attest to well to the fact its very hard to keep a gym clean. There will always be people who leave weights, rubbish and lifting chalk lying at their backsides. It’s a pity many people don’t respect their environment.

Regardless, owners should anticipate this and thus have the necessary systems in place to deal with it. Sorry owners, I know people are lazy, but your new customer won’t care, you’ll never get a second chance at making a first impression – that’s just fact.

5. Is It Legit?

Is it insured?

Are the trainers insured?

How do you know?

If so, who with? (are they Kosher?) and for how much? (More services – more responsibility)

I know too well how annoying (and fussy) Environmental health, building control and fire safety inspections can be to the average gym owner. However, the reality is these inspections  promote client safety and health. No one wants food poisoning or to be blocked out from a fire exit if the place were to go up! As an owner you need to treat these inspections as good for business – think about it, they’re technically prolonging the life of your cash paying customer.

Are the members of staff qualified?

You could argue experience is just as if not more important. However, there are plenty of other people who may want to partake in group/personal training. It’s imperative gym staff hold the appropriate level of qualification. This demonstrates credibility, responsibility and provides confidence to the client the trainer knows what they are doing.

It also helps if someone on the gym floor is first aid trained. I know too well how useful this is, especially when the shit hits the fan!

Do they wear a uniform?

Not essential but shows they take pride in their brand. Certain customers will take note of this and well, like it! This helps create culture.

Is the owner around?

Knowing who’s accountable is important. If the owner makes an effort to show his face, interact with clients and ask, ‘Everything ok?’

This is a great sign and shows they care! There, of course, may be exceptions to this; illness, pregnancy and or personal issues.

But generally speaking, it’s nice to know who’s boss!

Summing Up

Is the gym in control?

Q. Is the service in high demand?

Q. Do the members achieve incredible results?

Q. Is most of their business word of mouth?

Q. Do they back all of this up with good great customer service and quality equipment?

Q. Did you have a good time and want to go back?

If the Gym’s in control, it’s the gym for you!