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What a Middle Aged Man Should Look For in a Gym

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What a Middle Aged Man Should Look For in a Gym

Lifting weights has proven benefits at any age, especially for those in middle age and later life.  Check out The Midlife Man article Benefits of Weight Training for the Middle Aged Man.  But if you have never lifted weights before selecting a gym can be a little daunting, and making the wrong choice can put you off weightlifting as a sport.  It’s not about equipment, most gyms will have more than enough of the right type of equipment for a comprehensive full body work out.  Selecting a gym is more about wanting to train and making it easy so that regular workouts become part of your lifestyle.  Here are some simple but important observations on starting weighting lifting and how to find a gym to suit you.

 

Gym or Home?

This is often the first question men ask themselves.  I have lost count of how many men I know who buy weights and other gym equipment to use at home, only to quickly lose interest, not use them and eventually sell the equipment.  The mindset seems to be that if the weights are at home they will be used more often, for most this does not turn out to be the case.  Or perhaps some men, particularly older men are a little self-conscious about stepping in to a gym.

There are many reasons not to invest in weights and equipment to use at home here are a couple:

  1. High cost required to purchase enough equipment for a good full body program
  2. Gym equipment takes up  a lot of floor space
  3. A home environment offers little motivation for working out
  4. There is no guidance or instruction available at home

Home gyms take a lot of cash and a lot of floor space

 

The flip side argument for going to a gym to lift weights is:

  1. Cost effective, you only pay a usage fee not the purchase cost of gym equipment.  There are a lot of great gyms available these days,  and they are  generally reasonably priced
  2. A well equipment gym has wide range of free weights and equipment available
  3. A gym environment is generally motivational, with other people working out around you
  4. Instruction is available, either as ad hoc advice which is usually free, or a comprehensive guidance with Personal Trainer at extra cost
  5. No need to sell off equipment if you decide lifting weights is not for you

 

Finding a gym that is a good fit for the middle aged man can be hard work.  But it is also important to find the right gym, one that feels right for you, and is convenient to access, otherwise you won’t use it.

Suggested criteria for a good gym to suit an individual’s needs are as follows:

  • Make it easy for gym training to fit in with your life.  Choose a gym close to home, or on the home-work route, so you can work out on your way to, or from work
  • Avoid hard core bodybuilding gyms.  They won’t have the atmosphere to suit a middle aged man
  •  Look for gyms that are “older clientele” friendly.  Words to this effect may be stated in the gym promotional literature or on their web site, or in discussions with the gym manager.
  • Visit a prospective gym a couple of times just for a look-see, and do so on the days and at the time of day you intend to train.  The objective is not only to check out the facilities, but also the clientele and how crowded the gym is.  There is nothing more frustrating and demotivating than waiting your turn to use equipment.  Don’t get me wrong, during most workouts you may need to wait on equipment, or work in with someone, but you don’t want to do this for every machine or weight. 
  • Make sure the gym will be open on the days and times you want to train.
  • If you can train at off peak times, e.g. mornings before work, lunch time, or if your employer offers flex time then knock off work a little early on gym days to beat the rush, and make the hours up at other times.
  • Ask about membership options, you should not sign up for a 12 month membership if you are not sure the gym will work for you.  Never sign up on your first visit.  Most gyms offer a reasonably priced 1 week or 1 month pass as a “try before you buy” arrangement.  Really your trial period should be longer than a week.  If a gym can’t offer a short term trial membership then go somewhere else.
  • Multiple gym locations.  Major chains have gyms in several locations around a city, in other cities or overseas.  This which may be beneficial if you travel a lot, but may not be a consideration for most people
  • Look at Personal Trainer and advisory resources available at the gym.  Most gyms will provide an initial program for the beginner to follow, with basic one-on-one instruction on how to perform the exercises when you start. This is particularly important for a beginner, irrespective of age.  Read The Midlife Man article Why You Should Hire a Personal Trainer for Weight Training .   Check to see if Personal Trainers are available, and there may be several options here:
    • Some gyms have Personal Trainers on their staff (limited choice)
    • Some gyms have contracted Personal Trainers who work thru the gym (more choice).
    • Often gyms will let freelance trainers work with clients in the gym (widest choice)

 

I hope these pointers help in your quest to improve your health and well being

 

Disclaimer: The content of this article and other articles on this website are for informational purposes only and do not constitute professional advice. Please seek advice from a professional in the relevant field, in relation to any specific matter. Refer to the website Terms and Conditions. 

 

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