It's important that you not just take into account the nuts and bolts of the gym, but what else it can offer for you and your family. "Be sure you like the gym and have a good feeling about it. Looking forward to hitting the gym is critical toward long-term results," says Michael Bronco, who has been a gym owner for 20 years.
What moms look for
The gym experience can be a personal one, but moms are looking for some important things to make the experience worthwhile. "I chose my gym, Fitmix Studio in LA, because I love the owners/trainers, the classes are both fat-blasting and strengthening in one, are 55 minutes long so I can squeeze them into a lunch break. They have many classes scheduled each day so I can usually find one to fit into my schedule, their studio is located in an area that has plenty of parking, and it's close to both my office and my son's preschool," says Samantha Slaven-Bick of Samantha Slaven Publicity.
Audra Murray, owner of Get In Shape For Women in Framingham, Massachusetts, says that busy moms should consider these factors:
- Location - if it's not convenient, it won't happen
- Cleanliness - women won't go if the gym smells or equipment isn't cleaned
- Comfort - do women feel intimidated in the weights area?
- Accessibility - is the gym overcrowded or are there long waits for equipment?
- Trainers - the best results are achieved with professional guidance and trainers you feel comfortable with
Indeed, location matters. It will be harder to fit in a gym trip if the gym is 20 minutes away than if it's right down the street. Look for one that is convenient to your home, work and/or your kids' school.
Ease of use is another factor. For Slaven-Bick, being able to schedule classes easily was a big thing too. "They also have a convenient online reservation system, so I can sign up for classes online a month in advance at any time of day or night, so I can plan my classes around meetings, travel, preschool events, etc.," says Slaven-Bick.
For Michelle Posey of Michelle Posey Photography, there were some great bonuses to joining her gym. "I found lots of added bonuses with my gym! It has 25m and 50m pools (plus a kids' pool), one of the best swim teams in the area, an amazing staff of young people teaching swimming lessons at all levels, and a lot of other wonderful family programs. Those include Parents' Night Out programs every month, family-oriented parties, and summer camps that are a great value," says Posey.
What about the kids?
As a mother, you want to work out... but where will the kids go? That's where gym childcare comes into play. "The most important features for me were simple: A fun daycare for my son when he was little and a young cut-off age when he could join and work out with me. My son has been at the gym practically since he was born and now trains with me at the age of 12," says Kristin Shaffer, founder of Figure & Bikini.
When checking out gyms, make sure you take a close look at the childcare facilities and learn about them. You'll want to ask about hours (they vary wildly!), costs and if there are any monthly plans available. Also find out what kids do while in childcare there.
More on being a fit mom
7 Simple tips to lose weight
5 Ways to ditch the baby weight without exercise
Celebrity weight loss tips for new moms