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Each January, individuals make New Year’s resolutions that focus on getting back into shape. Soon after, phones in area gyms started ringing, with men and women looking to become new members. In fact, according to IHRSA, The Global Health & Fitness Association, 12% of all new gym memberships start in January.

Gyms are not one-size-fits-all organizations. Gyms that appeal to some might not appeal to others. Here are some features to consider when looking for a new gym.

• Cost: IHRSA reports that 46 percent of former gym members said the reason they quit was due to cost. Finding an affordable center is a priority for many people. The good news is that many gyms market themselves as low cost options with low monthly fees and minimal annual additional costs.

• Specialized programs: Some fitness centers focus on specific training programs, such as crossfit facilities. If a certain style of workout requires you to get in shape, look for gyms that specialize in this program.

• Atmosphere: Two gymnasiums can have the same equipment and the same group classes but can give off completely different vibrations. Individuals should make visits to assess who is visiting the gym and what type of atmosphere there is. The goal is to find a comfortable and supportive environment with like-minded people who will keep you coming back.

• Hours of Operation: A center that has flexible hours is important for people who balance career, family and school hours. Planet Fitness suggests asking about general gym hours; when trainers are available; if certain sections of the gymnasium or facilities close at certain times; and when the courses are offered.

• Guest privileges: Training with a friend or family member can provide the healthy level of competition necessary to maintain workouts. Also inquire about discounts for family members.

• Equipment: Equipment is also an important consideration. Visit each gym you are considering to determine if the equipment is modern, well maintained, and clean. Gyms that have multiple broken treadmills or outdated weight training equipment may not be worth the membership fee. Also determine what equipment is included in the cost of membership. Cardio machines, free weights, stretch zones, weight machines, and locker rooms are desirable among many members of the gym.

The right fit can make all the difference and help people achieve their fitness goals.

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