Getting in shape is a common resolution that often comes with a decision to join a gym. To help you out with that last part, I went on a secret shopper mission for all of you.

As you are on the hunt for the best gym in the Rochester area, here are a few tips based on my secret mission:

  • Before you buy, take a tour. Most gyms will let you just walk in and take a tour of the facility. You can try to schedule a tour but I found this to not be very successful in most places. Try to go on a tour at the time you will most likely be using the facility so you can see how the place operates when you will be there.
  • Match your goals. Every gym has their own “feeling”, in other words, they are not all the same.  Some gyms are great for bodybuilders. Others are great for the Zumba crew or specific types of workout. A few places like having kids around and even design classes for families too. Find the place that matches your goals best, even if that means driving 5 extra minutes.
  • Response Time. Send an e-mail to all places that you are interested in and see how long it takes for them to respond…because that is one way to see how the facility cares about their members (or potentially new members). I sent e-mails out to all the big places in town asking about their class schedules for group fitness and there is one that didn’t respond for almost three weeks.
  • Cleanliness.  Sparkpeople.com agrees with me on this one. There are several places in town where this seems to be lacking. Do your own due diligence and look at everything, showers, toilets, under the machines, treadmill belts and in the corners of the rooms. Check the cleaners and see what is being used to wipe off the equipment. Ask to see the cleaning schedule. Ask how staff are trained and what your responsibility is as a member.
  • Check the reviews.  A few weeks ago I had a horrible experience at a fast-food place in town.  I looked at the reviews the next day and guess what?  Many others had the same experience as me and if I would have just checked those reviews, I could have saved myself an hour of fast food horror.  As you are investing in your health, check out the reviews first.  People are generally pretty honest about their experience.  Check the date but also check to see if the company has responded recently to any of the latest reviews.  A great business that cares about all of their members will reach out to the individual that made the complaint...and sometimes the review is the first they have heard of the issue.

Now that you have the best info from my secret shopping trip, grab a friend to help keep you accountable and go do your research.

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