Do you really need to join a gym? Ask yourself this question before you even start shopping around, says John Mulry, a personal trainer and owner of Expect Success Fitness. A gym membership certainly has its benefits, but if you love exercising outdoors, your office or apartment building has a fitness center, or you're just as happy working out at home, joining a gym might be a waste of money.
Still ready to sign up? Great! The next question to ask: What are my reasons for joining? For instance, if you love indoor cycling classes and want to get back in the saddle, you can immediately eliminate any clubs that don't have a cycling studio. It's a simple concept, but it's important to consider early in your search—it's amazing how convincing luxurious locker rooms and state-of-the-art treadmills can be.