Over the last two decades, I have found myself training in a variety of gyms. In the past I would be forced to train anywhere I could, and for myself, it often does not make the perfect training environment but it has to do.
Now my life is a bit more stable, my job does not require me to travel at all so I can pretty much pick one gym and stick with.
When I mention making your gym your second home, I mean it in the sense of being comfortable with the people, the setting and the way the weights and machines are laid out, if your primary focus is cardio and some light weights or machines you may not demand as much.
Depending on what kind of routine you have planned, the layout in the gym can make or break your workout, I tend to vary my workouts from one month to the next.
One month I might train one specific body part per day, other months I will perform supersets, training two body parts such as back and chest or maybe shoulders and arms can be tricky, especially if the equipment is widely spread out over the gym or at times when the gym is really busy.
Time of day is important
I am not a huge people person in the gym, don’t get me wrong I am very social and outgoing but in the gym, I want to be able to focus 100% on my workout.
I am always thinking ahead about my next set or exercise is going to be, certain times of the day can be impossible, too many people can blow the whole training experience, especially in gyms where people want to be social.
A decade ago I used to love those 24-hour gyms where I could go in at 4:00 am and train intensely with no interruptions. My current gym is packed both in the morning and evening so for me, mid-afternoon is the best time to go.
Does the gym have enough weight?
I am by no means a powerlifter, but there are days when I want to be able to train as heavy as I can, however, some gyms are limited on how heavy their dumbbells go.
If you want to build muscle your goal should be to increase your weight every week when possible, maybe 5-10 pounds, obviously working out back and training legs can require a decent amount of weight, granted your not going to lift like a powerlifter everyday, however, if the strength is there the weight should also be available to accommodate those days when you can train like a beast.
Listen to the music
One of my biggest pet peeves in any gym is the music, I know most people carry around their phone, MP3 player, iPod etc. I am kind of old school when it comes to carrying something around strapped to my hip or in my pocket, plus sweating does not help those earbuds.
I don’t expect the gym to be playing Mozart every day, but a normal mix of some classic rock, metal or even occasional some rap is tolerable but once the techno plays I am out, my current gym allows me to put in a memory stick into their system when there are not a lot of people around which makes the training experience much better.
I am sure we all experience certain things in our local gym that annoy us but the better the overall environment is the better or workouts will be.