What Makes a Great Gym

These thoughts are purely my own, however over the past 10 years I've attended a number of different gyms for my own training, some of which were good, some were average and some I didn't even complete the 7-day free trial with!

I wanted to write something that was aimed not only towards fellow gym-goers, but also with Gym Managers in mind so that they'll get a deeper perspective of what I think a typical gym should contain/not contain.

These thoughts are purely my own, however over the past 10 years I've attended a number of different gyms for my own training, some of which were good, some were average and some I didn't even complete the 7-day free trial with!

The Layout

There's nothing worse than when you walk into a gym and there's no structure whatsoever. The 'Weights' area is amongst the treadmills and you just wonder what thought, if any, has gone into this.

The other important factor for the layout is when the gym is spread across three or four floors. The last thing I want to be doing is having to walk up three flights of stairs to get onto a treadmill, especially if it's Legs day! Sometimes less is more.

The Staff

Usually the gyms I've attended over the years have always had friendly, approachable staff, which is the way it should be. Those that weren't usually didn't last long. The staff should be friendly because they genuinely want to help their members, not for an ulterior motive.

What I mean by this is when you ask a simple training question and they think they've got you as a lead and end up pitching you to become their next client for PT sessions (usually with the first one free!). In my opinion, if members want a Personal Trainer they'll ask for one.


This may sound rather superficial but in my opinion all gyms should have mirrors, particularly around the Weights area. It's crucial that I can see my form and make the necessary corrections to ensure I'm lifting properly to help avoid any potential injuries.

Some gyms actually take pride in saying they don't have mirrors because 'they're for people who want to look at themselves and have rather large egos'. Well if they want to look, let them look! For the rest of us, we'll use the mirrors appropriately.

The Music

I've said this numerous times as feedback to my local gyms, 'turn the music down!' Not only is the gym not a nightclub, but having this music on so high is a potential hazard for your members' future hearing.

Think about it, if you turn your music up, your members who have headphones in will do the same to hear their own. If they come to the gym 3-4 times a week over a period of 5-10 years, they will have future problems.

I understand creating an atmosphere is important but be subtle about it and let your members enjoy their own playlists.

The Locker Room

The best layout I have come across for locker rooms is to have a number of benches in the centre of the room with the lockers surrounding. Whatever the layout is, please give us enough room to get changed, particularly during peak hours.

There's nothing worse than getting up-close and personal with the sweaty guy pre-shower or even post-shower when he's getting changed and a little too close for comfort!


Some gyms offer 24-hour service, which on the one hand is great because you can train at 2am in the morning, although I certainly have no desire to. The problem with these gyms is the 'self-service/no staff' facility, which means being reliant on automated entrances and exits.

This is fine for the 2am guy who I'm guessing doesn't have to share much of the equipment at this time, but for those going during peak hours i.e. 6pm-8pm weekdays, it can be a nightmare queuing up to get in or even worse, trying to exit one at a time.

So in these cases please ensure you have enough entrances/exits for your members, even us Brits don't like queuing to get out of the gym!


Generally the gyms I've attended have been at a high-enough standard for me to stay as a loyal member for some time. These were some issues that I've been dealing with over the years that I wanted to share with you.

I'd love to hear what you'd like to change and improve at your local gym, so feel free to comment below. Hopefully more gym managers will listen to our feedback and take it on-board, resulting in an even better experience for all.

I would still encourage you to share your feelings and feedback with your own Gym Managers locally, as well as leave written feedback if there are cards to do so. After all, when you're happy at your gym it's one of the best places to be!

For more food & fitness articles (as well as great recipes) feel free to visit my personal blog by clicking here. When I first published this article onto my blog, I decided to go straight to my gym and there was a power cut and was unable to train. Oh the irony!