Fort Sanders Health and Fitness Center is the official trainer for the Covenant Health Marathon Team.
Learn more at www.fshfc.com.
Joining a fitness center is a great way to achieve your fitness goals. East Tennessee has a lot of great options to take your workout to the next level. However, all fitness centers are not created equal. Here's a checklist to help you find the right one:
Location: The place you're going to exercise needs to be convenient. If it's not close to your home or place of work, it should be in a place that's easily accessible.
The price is right: This doesn't necessarily mean the price is cheap. While you don't want to pay for amenities you know you'll never use, do make sure you'll get what you pay for and get what you want. If it's important for you to have first-rate childcare or educational programs to help you train for a marathon, membership is worth more. Price should also be judged according to location. A gym that's easy to get to at a slightly higher rate will be a better investment than a gym at a lower rate that's farther away. If you don’t go, you'll be wasting your money.
Quality of the facility: The gym or fitness center should be clean and the equipment should be in good working order. Check the benches and machines for fraying cables and stitching. Check dumbbells for loose plates and rust. Look at the cardio machines for wear and tear and listen for strange noises.
Selection of equipment: Look for a wide variety of cardio machines and a range of weights. Think about why you're joining and what you want to do there. Then make sure the fitness center has what you need.
Qualified and friendly staff: Ask what kind of qualifications the instructors and trainers have. If they're qualified, the person you're asking will be glad you asked and quick to answer. Take note of the way you are treated. Look for a club that provides individual attention and goal-setting with lots of positive reinforcement.
Changing facilities: Does the facility have lockers? Is the changing area clean and well maintained?
Educational opportunities: If you're interested in taking fitness classes of any kind, make sure they are included in the membership price. Some fitness centers charge an additional fee to participate in group exercise.
Contracts: There are no long-term membership contracts at Fort Sanders Health and Fitness Center. Membership is on a month-to-month, pay-as-you-go basis. If you are interested in a fitness center that requires a contract, here are some things to consider:
- If you are under any sort of pressure to sign ("This deal is for today only!"), walk away.
- If you aren't allowed to take the contract home and look it over on your own time, walk away.
- If the staff won't be clear on how much the membership will cost, walk away.
- Find out how long the contract is for. A lot can happen in a year, and certainly in three years (i.e., moving, changing jobs, family crisis). At some point, you may find yourself locked into payments even though you're not using the facility.
- Make sure you understand the cancellation policy.
- Find out if the membership automatically rolls over when your contract is completed. This means you will be signed up again even if you didn't want to be.
- Always read the fine print.