What to look for in a Madison Gym.  There are a lot of great gyms in Madison, WI.  Living in Madison provides a lot of advantages when it comes to fitness choices.  We are consistently voted one of the healthiest cities to live in, we are lucky enough to host huge events like the CrossFit games and the Ironman.    Better yet, there are a large choice of healthy restaurants to dine at!  It’s a city filled with fitness!  So you definitely have your choice of where you can go.  For some, Price might be the determining factor.   Where as for some it might be personal attention or coaching.  Others might care about hours of operation.  Hopefully for most, a clean facility with well maintained equipment.

I believe there are some key things to look for when choosing the right facility.  Let’s go through the list and see what might be missing from your current Madison Gym.

  1.  Culture– In My opinion, this should be the number one thing that people look for in a gym.  The culture of a gym starts with the owner and goes right on down.  Is the owner present?  Do they take care of the facility they run?  What about their members, do the understand and help promote the proper culture.   The culture of a gym should be visible in every member who works out their.  Do they appreciate and take care of the facility, do they put their weights away, do they clean up after themselves.  Or is it a place where the equipment is as dirty as the floors.  Where between the clutter of gym bags and spilled protein shakes, there might be a place to actually work out!

  2.  Equipment– There is a myriad of equipment choices you can find in most gyms.  Most “neighborhood” gyms and 24 hour gyms will have a pretty specific group of equipment.  But the fitness industry has come a long way.   There are lots of new and unique pieces of equipment you may have never tried before.  And they may change the way you think about fitness.  One example we have in our facility, is the belt squat.  While still relatively unknown and not available in many gyms, this allows you all the benefits of the squat with out spinal compression.  Many studies have shown it may actually decompress the spine!  Tour the gyms you seek to join and ask about their equipment.

  3. Cleanliness– I’ve touched on it several times already.   I find this to be very important.   Again, I don’t believe that hard work and cleanliness need to be at odds with one another.  I’ve worked at both kinds of gyms.  Some gyms were kept clean.  They were well maintained.   I always found that more professional.   Then there places where nothing was kept up.  You would trip over gym bags and equipment constantly.  The latter always rubbed me the wrong way.  Gyms owe it to their members to have a clean facility, with well maintained equipment.  Their dues are paying for use of that equipment.  Both owner and gym member should be invested in keeping it nice.  Again, culture!!!!

  4. Members – Do you find the other members approachable?  Or do they yell at you for getting in their way during a set?  Maybe the don’t understand, they don’t own the place.  Perhaps you may be new and not understand gym etiquette?  Do they appear to care for the facility?  Are they willing to offer assistance to a lifter in need?  Nobody likes unsolicited advice, but sometimes you can clearly see someone struggling.   It is always polite to ask if they need help.  Do they smile?  These are people you are going to spend a lot of time around.  At the end of the day, we want to work hard.   That said, we want to try and enjoy it as much as we can.  Sometimes the people who move the most weight are also the biggest “teddy bears”.  If everyone has a great attitude, it makes a hard work out that much more enjoyable!

Hopefully this helps you find the Madison Gym that is right for you!

Mark Plavcan is Co-Owner of Twisted Fitness Gym, CrossFit Mata Leao, and Alliance BJJ Madison

He is a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Black Belt, a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, and has over 20 years of experience

in the Gym and Fitness industry.