A Fitness Consumer Checklist

With the wet and cold season upon us it’s time once again to take our fitness activities indoors. Unfortuately, people know little about how to select the health and fitness center that is right for them. The solution? Learn the important characteristics to be considered before joining a fitness program.

Based on research and experience in the health and fitness industry, a checklist was developed to help the public evaluate health and fitness centers in order to make informed decisions.

It should be noted that this checklist has not been standardized, and there is no set score that assured facility excellence. Rather, the checklist identifies program features available in the industry and allows individuals to rate each component themselves. Answering “yes” to the majority of the following questions about a particular health club should be one given the highest consideration. Though choosing a specific center is subjective, people who use the checklist should feel more confiedent in their decision and, as a result, experience greater program satisfaction.

In addition it is a good idea to discuss the health and fitness centers you are considering with current or past members, This may provide additional insight into whether the program is right for you.

FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT

  • Is a variety of equipment available (i.e. cardiovascular machines, strength machines)?
  • Are no “out of order” signs visibile on the equipment?
  • Are the facilities clean?
  • Are the facilities being only moderately used during the time you plan on exercising?
  • Are locker rooms available and clean?
  • Does the equipment appear to be well maintained?
  • Is the ambiance of the facilitiy comfortable?
  • Is adequate security provided for personal belongings?
  • Is the facility conveniently located?
  • Is the temparture of the facility comfortable?
  • Is the dress code acceptable to you?
  • Are there time limits on the equipment?

HOURS OF OPERATION?AVAILABILITY

  • Is the center open at convenient times (including weekends, evenings, mornings?)
  • Is the center open when you want to use it?

STAFF QUALIFICATIONS

  • Are floor instructors available to help with your programs?
  • Are floor instructors “experts” (denoted either by professional certifications or degrees)?
  • Are staff available to greet and assist entering clients?
  • Are all staff trained in CPR and is first aid available during all hours of operation?
  • Are staff enthusiastic fitness instructors rather than salespeople?
  • Was a physician’s clearance (in accordance with the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines) discussed by anyone on the staff?

COST

  • Were you offered a pass to try out the facilities before you joined?
  • Is the membership fee affordable?
  • Does the cost of dues include the classes, lockers, towels, membership cards, pool, etc?

SERVICES PROVIDED

  • Are daycare services provided? If so, do they offer programs to keep your kids entertained and fit?
  • Are periodic clinics or seminars provided?
  • Are fitness assessments conducted before you begin and periodically throughout your membership?
  • Does the club work with the community to endors the importance of fitness?
  • Are fitness assessments used for developing an individualized exercise program?
  • Are towels provided for wiping down the equipment between patrons?
  • Does the club provide nutritional services or guidelines?
  • Does the staff care enough to call you by your name?

I hope this questionnaire will help you in your search for a quality health club. Most importantly, I hope you will achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself and continue your exercise program. If you’re just getting started, please start slowly and stick to your program. Positive results don’t happen overnight.