Weight room in Apollo Beach, FL.The type of gym you join is important. If you join a room filled with morons and useless “weight training machines”, you’ve not joined a gym, you’ve joined a money pit that’s gonna cost you not only in gym membership and hidden fees but in the potential savings (hospital visits, health insurance, etc.) you can get from improving your health not to mention the potential improvements in life quality that come from bettering your fitness and performance (fat loss, strength, balance, coordination, etc.).

Think you’re gym is a solid candidate for the "Best gym in the area" award? The following is how you can tell whether the fitness facility you’re considering joining or currently a member of is a great place to lift weight and achieve your goals or a fitness, performance, motivation and money black hole:

Power cages

If there isn’t one or more power cages, leave immediately. No reason to stay anymore. The owners and/or trainers of this gym have never lifted an ounce of serious weight in their lives. The culture there is likely either bodybuilder (all drugs, zero technique) and/or all-machines-cause-nobody-knows-what-they're-doing oriented and will be of no use to you for any reason. BTW, Smith machines are NOT power cages. They are in fact the opposite of power cages. Next point.

Olympic barbells

Free weight training with olympic barbells is, in our humble yet professional and highly experienced opinion, the only real form of training for all reasons (fat loss, strength gains, etec.) regardless of one's age, gender and/or level of experience. Machines are all garbage. No exceptions. If the individual at the desk disagrees, they’re either a secretary, roid monkey trainer who’s giant veiney muscles are made of 98% juice or the owner who’s butt is on the line if he can’t populate the donut shop he calls a gym. No bars, no join – period.

Cable equipment

Take a look at the cable equipment in the facility. If there isn’t a good pulldown and seated row machine (ask if you don’t know what they are), leave. If you can’t train your back from every direction, the second largest (and arguably the most important) muscle group on your body, you can’t do the necessary training you’ll need to do to accomplish serious and significant gains/losses.

Educated and credentialed trainers

 Any trainer you take advice from should AT LEAST have a 4 year field specific degree and a nationally recognized certification. If there is no such trainer there, leave. If the owners can’t even attract decent trainers, what does that say about their facility?

These 4 simple points will give you clear and obvious things to look for when joining a gym. If they aren’t all there, find another place to train. Don’t waste your money on something that won’t at least improve your chances at significant fitness and performance returns. If you need some suggestions for gyms worth visiting in the South Shore area, drop a line. We’ll be happy to help.