With many fitness centers available, it can be difficult to choose the appropriate one for your needs. There will be certain amenities you should consider to increase the flexibility of your exercise program and achieve your goals.
The availability of exercise classes is an amenity you want, even if you do not think you will participate in the beginning. A major advantage of exercise classes is that they give you the opportunity to try different forms of exercise and find something you might find more enjoyable. Some types of classes that might be more appealing are ones involving dance, cycling, and yoga. You might also prefer fitness centers that have classes geared toward people of different age ranges and abilities. This means the facility probably has a diverse clientele and the environment might be especially comfortable for people who are reluctant to exercise in public.
A major problem for some people who join a fitness center is when the center does not have a wide variety of machines or a few of each type of machine. You should choose a fitness center that will give you more options for machines, whether you will be performing cardio or strength-training. Some machines are especially popular, such as treadmills, and having a few will likely mean you will never come into the fitness center at the "right time" to use the treadmill. Another consideration about any exercise machines is their durability relative to your body size. If the machines appear to be lower quality and more flimsy, they may not be suitable for larger people, which can be counterproductive if you are trying to lose weight.
Every fitness center should have a wide variety of weights. Some smaller fitness centers may not have free weights or weight plates that are heavy enough to keep challenging you. For free weights, you may want dumbbells and kettlebells that are upwards of 70lbs. A fitness center with a good selection of weight plates will have many 45lb plates and lighter plates. Although a fitness center may not be considered a powerlifting gym, you should have the opportunity to perform squats in a squat rack, bench press, and deadlifts. Having a squat rack available is much safer, especially as you squat heavier weights. The availability of free weights gives you more flexibility in the types of exercises you can do beyond using weight machines, which can significantly limit your range of motion during an exercise.
The fitness center you choose might be contingent on what is accessible, but if possible, you should focus more on the amenities. Having a variety of classes and equipment will prevent you from outgrowing your membership.