If you’re thinking about joining a gym, listen up! Here’s how to spot the signs of an unhealthy exercise environment, courtesy of Self magazine:
- Bad Sign #1 : The locker room’s a mess - with stained carpeting, dirty sinks, and wet towels tossed everywhere. Experts say the locker room is a reflection of the entire facility and just like a restaurant restroom, it shows whether it’s a clean, well-run establishment, or a germ-filled disaster area to be avoided at all costs.
- Bad Sign #2: The class schedule never changes. The American Council on Exercise says that class lineups should shift every 6 months or so, to reflect exercise advances, emerging trends, and the interests of the members. So if the club you’re considering has had kickboxing every Tuesday and Thursday at 5:30 for the past four years, move on.
- Also, beware of a constant push for new members. Like the weekly “join now!” party complete with fruit platters, balloons, and strong-arm promotional tactics. When a gym is overly-interested in drumming up new business, it means the current members are running for the hills.
- Bad Sign #4: Old equipment. Experts say that outdated machines are not only less effective at helping you get fit and lose weight, but machines that are more than seven years old could cause repetitive strain injuries. Why? Because some of them were designed with now-outdated research. Even worse, are gyms with broken or out-of-commission equipment. If the equipment’s always breaking down and being repaired, they should shell out for new machines. The experts say to look for gym equipment with vivid display panels, and smooth, silent movement.
- Bad Sign #5: The staffers are hawking nutritional supplements. The American Council on Exercise says that fitness pros who recommend supplements may put your heath at risk because many supplements contain ingredients that are known to cause heart attack, stroke, cancer, nerve damage, liver and kidney failure. So, unless your trainer happens to be a Registered Dietician or an M.D. – which is highly unlikely – say no to supplements, and find another gym.