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Choosing the right gym for you

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ROME, Ga. -

When you think about the gym, you may think about lots of perfect bodies in lots of lycra. It's not exactly a comfortable place to hang out if you're not in shape. So, how can you find a gym where you fit it?

At 300 pounds, Tracy Swann needed help. She found it in the one place she never imagined a size 28 would fit in: the gym.

"Self-doubt comes over you and you go, "ugh." It's intimidating, it's so intimidating," said Swann.

Swann's life changed when she walked into the Rome Athletic Club two years ago. They didn't judge her, but welcomed her with open arms.

"It was like, ‘Hey, how are you?'  And it wasn't someone my size," Swann said. "They didn't look at me on the outside, they looked at me on the inside, and said, ‘This is someone who cares.  This is someone who wants to change.'"

Swann started at square one, relying on the gym's classes and trainers to learn how to exercise.
    
Finding the right gym may take a little work:

  • Look for something close and convenient. If the gym is easy to get to and open at an hour that fits your schedule, you're much more likely to actually go to the gym.
  • Take a tour. Is it clean? Is the equipment in good shape? What about the staff and members?

     
Swann says don't be afraid to introduce yourself first while at the gym. She says friendships keep you in place at a gym.

If you feel comfortable, ask for a guest pass and drop in at the times you're most likely to use the gym to see how crowded it is.
     
If you don't feel at home, Swann says keep looking. Don't settle for a gym because you have a choice. If you walk in and you've been going there a week or two, and you don't know anybody's name and nobody knows yours -- that is not the gym for you.

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