For a long time gyms are no longer the domain of "muscle men". More and more sport volunteers give as training goals physical fitness, figure training and health. Therefore, many studios have expanded their repertoire with versatile offers (eg aerobics, nutritional advice, relaxation procedures, massages, etc.) and target specific age groups with special programs.
What is good for me?
The staff and equipment standard of the studio should meet the provisions of the TÜV for health-oriented fitness facilities. If especially the treatment of health problems is in the foreground, you should pay attention to the DVSF seal (German Association of sports physicians in sports, fitness and leisure facilities eV).
What I want?
First of all, you should clarify for yourself which wishes and demands you have. The following questions are helpful:
- Is the studio easily accessible to me, is it eg on the way from work to home?
- Do I need childcare in the studio for the time of training?
- Should a good course and wellness program be available in addition to a equipment park?
- Should health problems be solved in addition to the fitness to be achieved? Then you have to make high demands on staff and equipment.
- Are there any offers in the area of health education and training, eg nutritional advice and diet programs?
- Do I want to relax after training, for example in the sauna, in the swimming pool or with a massage?
- Should I be able to eat a snack, buy drinks and possibly good sportswear in my studio?
- Do I value a family atmosphere? Then, for example, a smaller studio is the better choice.
Before the check?
As a preparation, the suitability of the exercises and the intensity of training should be checked in older people and people with acute or chronic complaints or known medical conditions in the context of a sports medical examination. In addition to blood pressure measurement, a resting and exercise ECG should also be performed. As a result, a statement about the performance and the limit of the resilience of a person is possible. If your own wishes are clarified, a good studio should offer a detailed consultation and a free and non-binding trial training under the guidance of a trainer. Particular attention should be paid to various points:
I only leave to my body ...
It is desirable that at least some of the trainers are certified sports teachers and have sports medicine knowledge or have completed specialized training, eg state-approved sports and gymnastics teacher, sports physiotherapist or licensed aerobics coach.
How fit are I?
As a rule, and this is especially important for untrained persons, a qualified fitness test should be performed at the beginning, which tests endurance, strength and flexibility and includes a medical risk questionnaire with body data (height, age, weight, body mass index, Blood pressure and resting heart rate). Some studios also offer a body fat measurement to determine if training should also be targeted for weight loss.
Not just for the muscles: the equipment park
It is important that the exercise equipment can be individually dosed, that there are sufficient (about 30%) cardio-devices (eg treadmill, rowing and cycle ergometer) and that the equipment is regularly maintained. The cardio machines should definitely allow for control of the heart rate.
Also suitable for men: fitness and gymnastics classes
The course program should be varied and offer both beginner and advanced versatile training opportunities. In addition to endurance-oriented courses such as aerobics, step aerobics and spinning, targeted strengthening exercises should also be offered, such as the so-called "abdominal-leg butt exercises" (problem zone training), spine gymnastics or pumping (barbell training). A special bonus can be offers in the area of relaxation methods (eg autogenic training), holistic techniques (eg yoga), martial arts (eg karate) or mixed forms, eg Tai Chi (elements of martial arts and meditation) or Tai Bo (martial arts derived movement exercises strengthening strength, stamina and coordination).
I'm feeling well?
Whether a gym is good, can be seen not only in the program and the professional care, the atmosphere is important. Is the interaction between the members easy and familiar? Is it easy to talk to the other trainers? Does the studio offer activities outside of opening hours, such as joint ventures, ski vacations, Christmas parties and the like? Pay attention to the tone in the studio and talk to those already there. Make sure that they are welcomed by the service staff. Ask them on which days and at what times the studio is very busy and if it is still possible to train in peace. Make sure that the opening hours are optimal for you.
Very important: prices and contracts
What applies to the services of the studio, also applies to the contributions: A comparison is worthwhile. Nevertheless, quality usually has its price, because the studio must be able to finance good staff. Before signing a contract, carefully read the terms and conditions. Pay special attention to the contract periods. Most gyms have lower monthly fees when completed over a longer period of time.
As far as the termination or renewal of a contract is concerned, since the beginning of 1997 it has been established that the clause is effective, whereby contracts are renewed for one year if they are not terminated in time. Many studios also have clauses in their contracts that are designed to encourage subscribers to pay the monthly fee even if they do not use the studio's services. If the customer does not want to exercise, that's fine. However, if he is prevented from training for health reasons or due to a change of residence, these clauses are invalid according to a judgment of the Federal Court of Justice.
Keep in mind that for gyms that halve your contribution and then deduct it biweekly, the full-year contribution is higher than for monthly payments, as 12 months equals 48 weeks and 52 weeks is paid for 2 weeks. Pay attention to additional costs as they can be levied eg by admission fees, trial training, running tests and for the creation of a training plan.