Finding the “Right” Gym

Since moving to a new town, I’ve been on a mission.

I’m in the market for a new gym. Yes, my building has one (that’s one perk of living in an apartment). But sometimes it’s not enough (since I work from home, I need an excuse to actually leave the building otherwise I fear I’d never breathe any fresh air or see the outside world. Besides, staring out the window into a courtyard while you’re trying to get to mile 2 on the treadmill can be a bit tedious).

But so far my search has been anything but fruitful. It turns out that finding a good gym – or the right gym – can be as tough and challenging as finding the right jeans, the perfect foundation/mascara/blush/night cream, the perfect bathing suit, or a comfortable pair of heels.

In other words, finding the right gym is a highly personal (and frustrating) thing. 

Matchmaker, matchmaker, find me a Gym... (

Matchmaker, matchmaker, find me a Gym…


Crown me Goldilocks. Every gym I’ve visited has been either:

  1. Too hot. Nothing is as uncomfortable as sweating before you even start to work out.
  2. Too cold. Shivering through a workout is not a good idea, either. And I don’t like having to wear a heavy sweatshirt while I work out; in fact, I like to be as unencumbered as possible.
  3. Too crowded. Getting psyched to work out can sometimes be tough enough; waiting to use the stairclimber or elliptical can be just the excuse I need to say “oh, just forget it,” or lose any desire I came in with.
  4. Too empty. When there are only a few other people working out, it’s boring. The vibe just isn’t there. I like to look around and get inspired. Show me someone who is sweating and panting, and I’ll push myself into the sweating  and panting zone, too.
  5. Too dirty. Ew, germs. Especially this time of year. It’s too easy to pick up a virus (or worse) if the machines aren’t wiped down. There are few things more gross than seeing someone’s sweat adorning the machine you’re about to step onto. C’mon, people, mop up your own sweat.
  6. Too much of a “scene.” Who needs a full face of makeup to work out? Not me. And  some gyms I’ve visited look like an ad for Lululemon (although personally, I’m boycotting the company). Never mind the pick-up scene (or is it that I don’t like that they’re no longer looking at me, but at the hot bodies of the 20 and 30-somethings?)
  7. Too full of muscle-heads. Sorry, guys, your grunting and bulging muscles (got steroids?) are not a turn-on. In fact, they make me want to turn the other way.
  8. Too far. Life is stressful and packed enough without having to add time spent in traffic just to get to the gym – and back.
  9. Too devoid of qualified staff. I used to be a personal trainer. And when I see people around me exercising the wrong way, all I can think is that they’re injuring themselves – maybe permanently – and I wish one of the staff members would be kind enough to notice and help.
  10. Too expensive. $150 a month to work out? Really? That’s a bit…steep.
  11. Too cheap. $15 a month might be affordable to just about everyone. And therein lies the problem (see numbers 3,5,7 & 9).

Need I go on?

Is it my age?

I’ll admit, I’m not the person I used to be where I could walk into just about any gym and find a way to get in a good workout. Those days are gone, just like the days of being able to sleep anywhere, go to the bathroom anywhere, find a decent meal anywhere and live anywhere are behind me.

Now, it’s all about the atmosphere, the vibe, the comfort, the conditions, the right fit.

Or pretty close to it, anyway.





  1. I prefer walking, but I do go to the gym for the treadmill when it’s raining. Good luck in your pursuit.

  2. I think you’ll just have to open your own. Where do I sign up?

    Seriously, maybe you don’t need a gym. You can find a yoga studio or sign up for dance classes or something else you enjoy. Mix and match it up. You can get out and meet new and interesting people.

    Great post, Sheryl. I love how honest you are! xo
    Cathy Chester recently posted..The Best Gifts Of All Are Passed Down From One Generation To The NextMy Profile

    • Well, I have tried to find a dance class…that’s a whole other story…and yoga is out for me since I hurt my neck and had 2 surgeries. And I do love a good gym. But thanks for trying and your sweet comment!

  3. Have you tried the rec gym? Is there one nearby? I found that while the gym is ho-hum at our local rec the classes are so good it keeps me coming back. I gotta say though I like the gym cold….

  4. Wow, I didn’t know you used to be a personal trainer. That’s pretty cool. I’m lucky…I actually work in a building that has a small gym in it.. I used to work out at lunch a few times a week, but I’ve been slacking….just when I need it the most–the holidays! Thanks for reminding me to get cracking again. Hope you find something you like…I know, I can be picky too. LOL.
    Lisa Froman recently posted..Women As TeachersMy Profile

    • Hope this helps you get cracking, Lisa. I’m sure you will when you get tired of not doing your workouts. Somehow, I’m not surprised that you can be picky, too. Hehe.

  5. I have never found a gym that actually made me feel comfortable. Jazzercise has been the only fitness studio that has been truly welcoming and has met all the criteria you mention in your post. Too bad we don’t live closer to each other so we could go together!
    Lois Alter Mark recently posted..let’s rock the blogger idol vote!My Profile

  6. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    I seem to have zero motivation these days to go to the gym. I know that must change. New Year’s resolution #1. Great post, Sheryl.

  7. Love this post! You should start a service for others:
    Irene S. Levine recently posted..How do you handle a friend who is self-harming?My Profile

  8. Great article Sheryl! You’re a wonderful writer and definitely capture so many truths about so many things.

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