If it’s important to have a gym that has multiple branches to choose from, so you can workout close to home some days, close to work on others, or even when traveling out of town, a chain may be a better fit for you. Atlanta’s huge LGBT population means you will find plenty of gay folks at chains like LA Fitness, and not just at gayborhood branches like Ansley Mall.

2. 24/7 or something for everyone?

If your schedule makes it hard to work out during usual gym hours, the trend of small, 24-hour gyms might be best for you. Gyms like Snap Fitness and Workout Anytime are open literally all the time, with members free to come and go through a key system even when staffers aren’t on site.

Typically, however, these 24-hour gyms have fewer amenities like classes or even on-site showers. If you prefer a wider variety of fitness classes, smoothie bars, childcare and other options, a more traditional gym will be a better fit.

3. Work and your work-out

Before you decide on a gym, check with your employer. Some larger companies and health insurance providers now recognize that better health improves employee attendance and performance, and offer discounts on gym memberships.

Even if you don’t get a discount, you may also want to consider a gym that is located in your building or very close by. The convenience of being able to squeeze in a quick workout during the day may help you maintain your motivation.

4. Outside options

Sometimes the right gym isn’t a gym at all. If you have joined gyms in the past and not followed through, it may be that gyms aren’t your thing.

If you want something more structured than simply working out at home, consider boot camps or other fitness classes that meet in local parks. Many offer a free trial class, and you may find that you actually like running or working out, you just prefer the great outdoors to the treadmill.

5. Peer pressure

Whether you choose an independently owned gym, join a chain with many locations, or pick an alternative like boot camps and fitness programs that meet in local parks, you’re more likely to go if you have someone to go with you.

Knowing that a friend is expecting you can make the difference between putting on the workout gear or curling up on the couch on a rainy night, or any time your motivation lags. Before making a final decision, survey your fitness-minded friends (or those who are looking to get in shape) to find out where they work out.

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