There are many ways to start an exercise routine, and As we indicated hereIt’s not always worth sweating the details. But does it matter what kind of gym you join? Gyms with barbell and squat racks give you plenty of options for getting strong, but it’s rare to find one so cheap. Meanwhile, boutique fitness studios, Crossfit boxes, and yoga studios tend to be ridiculously expensive. How much are you really sacrificing by using something like Crunch or 24 Hour Fitness?
You won’t get great extras, but you probably don’t need them
If you purchase a Barebones gym membership, it may come with access to equipment during certain hours, and nothing else. If that’s all you need, you’re good to go.
Luxurious gyms and upgraded memberships to cheap gyms will include more perks. These may include towels and laundry service, 24/7 gym access, ability to go to multiple chain locations, ability to bring a guest with you, access to group classes, free sessions with a personal trainer, sauna or use of Swimming pool. Expensive gyms may also have fancier equipment. If there is something specific that is important to you, be sure to ask about it before you sign up for membership.
But if your main reason for going to the gym is to carry some weights, or jump on a machine, you can do without the rest. It’s not the end of the world if you need to bring your own towel, or even if you need to take a shower at home because you’ve chosen a very basic place, as it doesn’t have real locker rooms. I’ve trained for years in a gym like this, and I’ve done really well. You can too.
Iron is not everything
As someone who mainly trains in barbells, I understand wanting to make fun of a place that has nothing in it. Old readers may remember it I’ve put together a workout program for our chief foodie and editor Claire Laure, when she needed to get stronger to be able to hunt elk. Her gym at the time was Planet Fitness. Ah, I thought. But she actually joined in, so that’s what we had to work with.
What was available? Cardio machines, strength machines, cable machines, Smith machines (the ones that look like a squat stand except the bar is permanently attached), and a ton of dumbbells. yesI believed, We can work with this. This choice is very typical for cheap gyms; You may also find a few water bells, resistance bands, and other miscellaneous items.
Here’s the good news: This is good. If your goal is to become stronger and/or healthier, you can do so with this device. You don’t need an iron. Now, if your goal is to compete in a powerlifting sport like powerlifting, or if you want to use a barbell because you just think it looks cool, then yes, you’ll need to find a gym that does. Otherwise, you can stay where you are.
Machines can make you strong
Cheap gyms tend to have machines rather than barbells because it is much easier for a beginner to walk into a machine and learn how to use it without hurting themselves. It’s also easy for gym staff to keep tidy: Don’t chase plates and hoops that end across the room.
Let these things be useful to you, too. You can spot the machines just by looking at the pictures on them, and if you’re really confused, you can search for them on YouTube. (we also have Tutorial videos collected for 10 of the most popular gym equipmentif you’re curious.) It’s totally normal to do a workout The machines are fully usedWithout any free weights.
Smith machines, in particular, get a bad reputation from people who don’t know how to use them properly. If you try to sit in the Smith machine as if it were a squat rack, you would feel very uncomfortable. But if you know that you need to put your feet in front of and back at the bar, you will be able to exercise your legs easily and effectively. There is a similar trick to doing the bench press in a Smith machine. You may like to read Our Smith machine manual is here.
Don’t sleep on dumbbells either
Another important advantage of cheap gyms is that they tend to choose good dumbbells. If you are very big and strong, you may find that the dumbbells are not heavy enough; They may weigh up to 75 or 100 pounds each. If you are a large person, and you become very strong, you may outgrow the equipment provided by your gym. But if you are a beginner or just a younger person, you may be happy with this choice for a long time.
There are plenty of lifts you can do with dumbbells, and yes, there are Dumbbell workout programs only. Besides push-ups, twists, and rows, you can also perform dumbbell lunges, step-ups, roman deadlifts, and more. Lifting a pair of dumbbells tends to be more difficult than lifting a bar of the same weight, so don’t let the numbers fool you.
Watch the pricing structure
Because cheap gyms are so cheap, they often get their income from other places on top of the $10 monthly fee (or whatever). There may be additional levels of membership or additional services that provide perks that are not in the basic membership, so be prepared to resist overselling.
They may also try to lure you into a personal training contract. While it’s great to pay for personal training if that appeals to you, read the details written in your contract and make sure you’ll have reasonable options to cancel if it doesn’t work out.
And don’t forget about hidden fees. Some gyms charge an initiation fee or annual renewal fee. But if you price everything up and feel like you’re getting your money’s worth, enjoy! Even a basic membership will give you a lot to work with.