What to look for when choosing a new health club

March 5, 2010

Did you make a New Year’s resolution to improve your health? Does your plan include joining a fitness club and getting some exercise?

If so, you might want to think twice about which club you join. There’s more to think about than which is closest and which costs the least.

I know from my industry expertise, if you choose a club that is not careful about safety, sanitation, and service, there can be some unpleasant and dangerous, consequences.


Is your stuff safe? Locker rooms are a bad place to leave valuables. It’s just too easy for a thief to get into your locker. Don’t rely on the fitness center to safeguard your valuables.

Is the parking lot well lit? Especially for clubs that are open very early or very late. Daylight hours are shorter many months of the year and you could easily find yourself going to and from your car in the dark.


A good health club will have a clean locker room and restroom. If these areas look or smell bad, let that be a red flag to you.

The exercise equipment should be disinfected between users. The club should provide paper towels and disinfectant, along with posted instructions on how to sanitize the equipment after use.


Are first aid kits stocked and available at all times? Does the club have a portable defibrillator on hand? These defibrillators, commonly called AED’s (automated external defibrillator), can be the difference between life and death for someone who experiences a sudden heart attack. Over 250,000 people die of heart attacks in the U.S. each year and fitness clubs are one of the high-risk areas.

The American Heart Association urges all fitness centers, including those in schools, to have at least one AED. As of 2001, all 50 states have at least some kind of AED law, but only a few actually mandate them. For instance, Illinois requires every fitness club to have at least one AED and a trained user on the premises.

How can you be sure?

If you can’t tell, then ask! If you’re not sure about some of the above issues, be sure to ask. A quality health club will be happy to tell you where the first aid kits are, what their staff’s training is, and where they keep the defibrillator.

Consider all the factors when choosing a fitness club. If your gym does not have all of the above, you should demand it for your business you are giving them.  Stand up for your rights!