How to Choose a Gym in Austin

Austin Gym Choices

Use this guide to help in deciding what type of gym, fitness health club, or women’s fitness program is right for you.

Before you begin comparing and contrasting various fitness gyms, decide what activities, gym equipment, and added extras are important to you in a health club.

Gym Memberships

Fitness health clubs offer many types of memberships suited to your lifestyle:

  • year-round memberships
  • 3 to 6-month memberships
  • monthly memberships
  • no contract memberships

Many gyms offer discounts around the holidays or at peak membership renewal times. Make sure there are no signup costs or hidden fees you weren’t notified of upfront.

Before you shell out your cash, make sure you know what type of membership you want and what it includes. Many health fitness clubs offer free trial memberships.

Added Extras

Some gyms offer childcare services (for a fee), hair and beauty salons, tanning, and saunas.

Fitness Club Schedule

Before you decide to join a gym, ask for a copy of their current schedule, and see if it matches your scheduling needs.

Gym Equipment

Is the type of gym equipment you are looking for offered at the health club you’re investigating? Are there a number of machines available that are specific to upper and lower body workouts? The gym you’re investigating should have a number of machines for each muscle group in your upper and lower body.

Do you have privacy concerns? Are there separate areas for men and women to work out? You should feel totally comfortable in your workout space in order to succeed in your fitness goals.

Group Fitness Programs

Many gyms offer group fitness programs. Programs can include yoga, pilates, body sculpting, Zumba, or cardio kickboxing. Different levels of aerobics programs may be offered also. Check to see if these are offered at extra cost or included in the gym membership fee.

Fitness Club Personnel

Is the gym staff personable and friendly? Do you feel comfortable asking questions about equipment and services? You should feel comfortable around gym staff to get the most out of your fitness health club membership.

Also, check to see if the gym offers personal trainer services. A personal trainer can help keep you motivated and keep a laser eye on your progress. Check to see if this is an added extra or comes included within your membership fee if this is a service you could benefit from.

Size of the Gym and Available Parking

How big is the gym? Will there be enough equipment available during busy times when everyone wants to work out? Check on the gym during peak times.

Is there enough accessible parking space during peak times? Again, drive by the health club you’re investigating to see if there’s available parking space.

Recommended Exercise Levels for Healthy Adults

For healthy adults, the minimum amount of exercise recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is:

  • 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (such as brisk walking, riding a bike on level ground, or pushing a lawnmower) or 75 minutes per week of high-intensity aerobic exercise (such as running, jogging, riding a bike up hills or fast on level ground, swimming laps, or playing high-energy sports such as basketball or singles tennis)
  • At least 2 sessions per week of strength training exercises such as lifting weights, working with resistance bands, engaging in strenuous functional activities like shoveling dirt, or doing exercises that use body weight (push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, sit-ups, etc.)

The CDC does not specify the length of time required for a strength training session. Typical recommendations on fitness websites range from 20-45 minutes, not counting warm-up, cool-down, and stretching. Because strength training facilitates permanent weight loss, those trying to lose weight should aim for the upper end of this recommendation.

The recommended exercise quotas do not necessarily need to be completed in large single chunks each day. They can be broken into 10-minute spans if that is more manageable.

To achieve a higher level of physical fitness and/or lose weight, healthy adults should do:

  • 300 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 150 minutes per week of high-intensity aerobic activity
  • 2 or more strength training sessions per week

The CDC recommends the same exercise levels for seniors (those over 65 years of age) as for younger adults. However, people of any age who are just beginning to exercise after being sedentary for some time should start with lower amounts of exercise and gradually build their levels up to the recommended amounts. Also, those with health issues should consult their doctors before embarking on new exercise programs.

Flexibility is an aspect of fitness that is often neglected. Health Canada recommends that adults engage in 4-7 stretching sessions per week.