How to Select a Gym?

A few days ago a very good friend of mine, suddenly got an awakening call from his annual medical check up. All his pathology reports showed some kind of deviation from the normal. His BMI, blood pressure, weight,  blood sugars and cholesterol levels were all next to breaking the boundaries of normalcy.

Needless to say, his first reaction was that of shock. Naturally like most non-medicos, the second reaction is to rationalize and find absurd explanations for the same. His belief, that this was just a “slight weight gain” induced by recurrent office stress, which would be rectified in the next set of tests. Unlucky for him, he had a friend like me, who showed him the true picture of his unhealthy body.

I soon realized that educating him on the concepts of “healthy living” was like dancing in front of a raging bull... He would just not listen to a single word of Wisdom given to him.

He naturally used his own logic and initially thought of battling the situation by going on a diet (a.k.a starving himself) and taking long morning walks. His endeavour lasted 5days. After which he started procrastinating on the same, and by the end of the 1st month he had gained another 3kgs.

Finally after the constant emotional push and pull of his wife, he decided to join a gym. To motivate him further, his wife decided to join along with him.

The next big roadblock was to find a gym apt for both. After their initial attempts failed, they asked me to join the search.
We all took a Saturday off, and went gym hunting. It was astonishing eye-opening  experience to see how irrelevantly people join Health Clubs and Gyms.

Selecting the perfect and right Gym or health club is as important as selecting the right doctor. One false move and you could be regretting with lifelong injuries.

Few observations I made analysing the “gym selecting” behaviour of my friends, the front-desk management of most gyms and facilities provided by most gyms are as following:

1.      Research - Most people just walk into the next door gym. Before you decide to go gym-hunting, first prepare a list of all the gyms that are within your reach. Make sure you not only add all those near you, but also add some gyms which are little far but still accessible to you.
Use the Internet or Just Dial or the Yellow Pages for references.

2.  Targets – Know your body. At least know your body weight, blood pressure. Also prepare mental targets of what body weight you want to achieve. For example, if you are 70kg.  A target of 60kgs within 4-6months time is very achievable.

3.    Don’t Hesitate – Many people hesitate entering into a gym. They feel it’s so big, so plush or vice-versa it’s so small, so cheap. Never judge a book by its cover.
Remember Gym’s are just like your local grocery store. They want patrons to come and buy their offers.
So while you go into a gym, remember you are the king/queen not them!!

4.   Money – annual subscription cost is a major determinant in the final decision making. So be sure that you search at least 5 different gyms, before committing to pay.

5.     Sales –Most front-desk gym managers are very pushy salesman. They will try to load you with extreme Bull Shit!!!.. They will talk in terms which go beyond your understanding. Upper Body, Lower Body, biceps, triceps, metabolisms... Believe you me, 90% time they have no idea what they are speaking.
In a few gyms that I visited with my friends, I didn’t introduce myself as a qualified health and wellness professional. So most of the managers tried to “hypnotize” me with their big and grand talk. Which was utterly baseless non-scientific idiocy. It's only when I told them who I am, that they got defensive and like a turtle who quickly hides into his nutshell, they kept their mouth shut from there on.
Remember, a gym is there to do business, so they will try to pressurise you to buy their membership. Never commit at once.

6.    The best time to join a gym is either the end of month or end of financial quarter. As most gyms have targets to meet. (yes! Gyms have target on how many new subscriptions they have to achieve within a month, quarter or year)

At this time they are on the back foot, if you pressurize them, they will give you better offers.

7.    Gimmicks – All gyms have major gimmicks. The gym-trainers who are taking you for a tour of the place, are programmed to talk in certain ways. At the first look they will understand which part of your body needs to be worked upon. So if you are fat at the tummy, they will emphasize on exercises for the tummy. They might also ask you to do a few of them, just to feel the “pressure” on the tummy.... All GIMICKS!!!

The BIGGEST Con is when they ask you to place your hands and feet on machines that will give away your fat percentage, your bone density, etc etc.
These machines are completely useless. They just make a good show. DONT FALL FOR THE SHOW.

8.    Trainers and Training Sessions – The back bone of any gym is the quality of trainers it has. The moment you visit a gym for membership, everyone is trying to sell your Personal Training, Massage, Sauna, Kick Boxing, Aerobics Packages... No one talks about the most important the Trainer.

Trainer – Make sure that a gym has govt. certified trainers. Ask the gym to show you the certificates of the same.
Do you want to trust your body into the hands of someone who has a scientific understands how body, muscles, bones functions or into the hand of someone who just believes working out means sweating it out till you drop dead.

In my private practice I see high number of cases of people who have suffered back, knee and hip injuries due to “extreme” workout plans devised by illiterate trainers.
I also get to see many cases of “steroid”, “protein” and “creatinine” abuse leading incurable to physical, psychological and sexual problems. Just because the trainer was not qualified enough to understand what he was prescribing.

Training Sessions - Ask them why do you need a Personal trainer. Ask them why do you need 2 massages a week package. Ask why you need 2 sauna sessions a week... will all these help you achieve the desired weight... Do a small internet search on the same... You will find how much these people lie to you.
Chose a training program you are comfortable with. You are motivated to do. It's your body, not theirs.!!!

9.    Walk Out – If your queries are not satisfied, just get up and get out of the door. Don’t feel of hurting anyones feelings. IF a place doesn’t instil confidence in you, just let it go and move to the next.

For any further discussion on the above contact me 

Dr.Hemantt Mittall  
(MBBS, PG.DPM, M.D.(Mind Mantra Wellness Concepts - Mumbai))
Website -         
WELLNESS CLINIC Address- 15, shreeji plaza, Next to Seawood Station (east), Navi Mumbai, Mumbai (India)
Facebook Group -


  1. nice article sir but most gyms have uncertfied instructors in india

  2. Awesome sir.So many people and unqualified trainers try to manipulate us.if once we got caught to them unaware ,we will be finished.and I have seen the same treatment in the beauty parlours and weight reduction centers.they even published that they can reduce the fat through massage 6 inches in 60 mins.knowledge is a bliss.its better to inquire in 4 to 5 places and individuals who joined there.I have seen 90% people were disappointed and felt as they got booked in the beauty parlour offers.