Where You Lift Matters: How to Know It’s Time to Switch Gyms

The gym is an athlete’s playground. It’s where you go day in and day out to put in serious work on your way toward achieving your goals. At the start of your fitness journey, when you were excited to buy the best workout clothes for women and take fitness seriously, a great gym inspired you to keep coming back until the habit stuck. Now it’s hard to imagine not showing up nearly every day. If this sounds like you, congratulations—you’ve found an awesome gym to help support your goals.

At the same time, a mediocre gym can severely hurt your progress in various ways. From emotional letdowns to a lack of resources, there’s no reason you should deal with a subpar gym when you have other options. Here are seven signs that your gym isn’t cutting it and reasons to switch to a new facility.

The Staff Is Nonexistent

Even if the only exchanges you have with staff are “good morning” and “have a good one,” the people who work at your gym are still crucial. What would you do if you were accidentally locked out of your locker? Or if there’s a problem with the cable machine? Gym staff members are there to ensure that day-to-day operations run smoothly with everything from maintaining the equipment to keeping facilities clean and safe. If you can’t remember the last time you saw a staff member, that might be a red flag.

Besides general maintenance, trainers and coaches are a part of gym staff too. Even if you’re a pro and go at it alone in the weight room, it’s nice to have the option to sign up for a personal training session or sign up for a class. Without that option, you could end up stagnating or feel uninspired, both of which are terrible in the long run.

You’re Spending Too Long Commuting There

Commuting is just a part of life, but when it comes to the gym, you shouldn’t have to drive more than 15 minutes. There are just so many gyms scattered across the country not to have one closer to you. There’s only so much time in a day, and even just an extra 60 minutes spent commuting to and from the gym can be a major deterrent. Plus, you might find yourself cutting workouts short because you need to jet to work or back home. Don’t settle for inconvenience in your gym routine and find something close by that fits your schedule and location.

The Culture Is Lacking

While weightlifting can very much be a solitary activity, it doesn’t hurt to work out in a welcoming, positive environment. There’s a gym culture for everyone. From the iron addicts who prefer blasting speed metal and rusty plates to more wellness-focused people who are all about giving compliments and creating a positive environment. There isn’t one right or wrong community, but it’s crucial the gym’s atmosphere and culture align with your values and goals. If you feel like you’ve always been out of place at your gym, seek out your tribe and community at another one.

Equipment Is Always Breaking Down

Just like we invest in premium workout clothes for women or men, when we sign up for a gym membership, we’re investing in their facilities and equipment. This commitment is a two-way street. When you sign the contract, your gym owner is also committing to offer you reliable, fully operational equipment too. If a leg extension machine is down for a day or two, that’s totally understandable, but if that “out of order” sign becomes a seemingly permanent feature, that’s a huge downer and your quads deserve better.

Many of us develop our routines around the same select pieces of equipment, so when specific machines go down, it’s a massive disruption to our consistent routine. Especially if vital gym equipment, such as the squat rack, bench or lat pulldown machine, are down regularly, it’s time to go to a facility that takes their investment in their members and equipment seriously.

Fees Keep Going Up Without Any Improvement to Facilities

On that same note, if you notice that your costs are continuing to rise, but you don’t see any noticeable improvement in the equipment or facilities, that’s a red flag. Your member dues go toward a lot, including maintenance, new equipment, new services and staff. While a price bump here and there is fine when you see they upgraded the sauna or added more treadmills, if you don’t see any changes, it could be time to switch.

Membership rates will vary from gym to gym, with more exclusive gyms typically demanding more than nationwide chains due to personnel, upkeep and organization. Even so, if your monthly investment just doesn’t seem to make financial sense anymore, find a place that does. There’s a gym for every budget, from a few dollars a month to a couple hundred, so there’s no reason to settle.

The Fitness Classes Are Getting Stale

If you prefer working out with a group, you know how empowering and fun group fitness classes can be. They can push you further than you would have imagined and show you new routines and exercises you’d never even heard of. But all of these benefits can start to fade after you’ve been to a month’s worth of classes, and you might find that the instructors are just doing the same old song and burpee.

Or, there’s the other downside where the fitness classes just never did it for you in the first place. They were incredibly elementary compared to your current skills or maybe they were way too hardcore for a HIIT beginner such as yourself. The bottom line is your gym should offer an assortment of classes that push you to your limits and keep you coming back for more. While exercise classes aren’t for everyone, if that’s a quality you seek, join a gym that fulfills that need.

Your Goals Have Changed or Gotten More Specific

Finally, gyms are meant to be the canvas where our transformations are made. As a whole, they should support our goals. Throughout our fitness careers, our goals are going to change. For some of us, we slowly transition into different sports and training splits over the years. Others might change their goals as often as they buy new gym shorts or athletic leggings—and that’s okay too.

Regardless, if you’ve found that your goals have changed, like deciding to participate in a strongman competition or marathon, you need the right space and equipment to train. While you can try and make do with your current gym, there are countless dedicated gyms out there for specific training styles. Join one and you’ll see how much easier it is to reach your goals with the right atmosphere, equipment, instruction and community to support you.

Finding Your New Space and Final Thoughts

Although it’s the work that you put in the gym that leads to ultimate success, an inadequate workout space can impact your results. Change is hard, there’s no denying that, but settling for a subpar gym could be costing you results and happiness when there are better options out there. Explore your area and find a gym that allows trial weeks or drop-in classes to try them out; you just might find the fitness hub you’ve been searching for.

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