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I’m sorry for not being around until today. Sadly, my truck died so I’ve had to completely rearrange all of my plans and writing just fell through the cracks.

I’m sure you’re all tired of seeing pictures of us at the zoo, but I’m going to share just a few…

I always bring a ton of snacks with us because my kids can always put away food like they haven’t been fed in a month. It’s one of those nice things about having the stroller — I can fill a cooler with ice, meat, cheese, and fruit, bread, and stuff it in the bucket so I don’t have to carry it! 🙂

Sometimes eating makes you so tired you need to pretend to nap mid bite…

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Orangutans love silly faces lol!

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Splash pads are literally the BEST invention ever!

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Jonah has different ideas about how one can best enjoy the splash pad…

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Although he eventually relented and got his feet wet.

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Micah and Kinsey were completely soaked by the time we left…

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So we walked around to see more animals while they dried off. They took turns spilling bubbles everywhere blowing bubbles while we walked.

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And as usual they all passed out on the way home. The zoo really tires them out!

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I think I mentioned that I’m going to be joining a crossfit gym next month, so I thought I would talk about what makes a gym the perfect fit for you.

What to consider when trying to find the right gym for you:

  1. Cost  Realistically, cost is one of the main barriers to joining a gym, particularly if you have children. Even if membership costs are reasonable, childcare costs can easily put the total cost out of reach. If there is a gym you really love but can’t afford, see if you can arrange a barter membership. I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to work in the childcare center of a crossfit gym just a few hours a week in exchange for an unlimited membership, which would normally be well outside my budget.
  2. Childcare — In addition to cost, it’s important to look at the quality of the daycare. Does the gym do background checks on the providers? Do they appear to handle the chaos of a large group of children well? Are there opportunities for children to be creative or active, or is there just a TV?
  3. Hours of operation — Do you need to workout at odd hours because of kids or work schedule? Do you prefer to have your workout done before the sun rises, or at midnight when the gym is deserted? The best deal on a membership isn’t really the best deal if you realistically won’t go while it’s open.
  4. Amenities — What kind of workouts do you prefer? Do you just need free weights and a treadmill, or do you love to lap swim? Are there classes that are non-negotiable to you, and if so are they available frequently enough with enough spots open to meet demand? Do you want a good personal trainer to guide you towards your goals? Do you need to hit the sauna after an intense sweat fest? Be realistic about what you’ll enjoy doing, because workouts that make you miserable just aren’t sustainable longterm.
  5. Location — This may seem like a no-brainer, but make sure you’re really willing to travel to whatever location you pick. Consider facilities near work, home, or any other place you find yourself frequently. This has been one of the main barriers to me joining a gym since moving away from the city, because the closest gym with childcare is far enough that I’ll probably never go. If the membership will really just be a waste of money, use that cash to set up a good home gym! (My home gym must-haves)
  6. Reputation — Have you ever had an experience where you were completely impressed with the staff and facility during the tour, but once the contract was signed all of the super helpful staff just disappeared? It helps to ask around about a gym you’re considering to make sure the facility isn’t too good to be true. Talking to members is a good options, or you can search online for BBB complaints, reviews, social media pages, and tons of other helpful information. If the gym offers a free guest pass, taking advantage of that is an ideal way to talk with other members and get a better feel for what the gym is really like.
  7. Rules — You’d be surprised at some of the rules gyms have in place, and it’s important to know them before you sign a contract. Certain gyms don’t allow certain exercises (deadlifts are a commonly banned exercise), certain types of athletic attire, and some even limit how much water you can carry. Despite being in Arizona, there is a particular chain of gyms here that don’t allow gallons of water on the gym floor! That was a deal breaker for me even though they had the best deal by far, because as a non-native I still put down over half a gallon of water during an intense workout in the summer.
  8. Atmosphere — Does the feeling in the gym make you feel pumped up and ready to workout? Are the people there cordial or irritable? Does the overall culture make you feel comfortable or like you don’t belong there? This is an often overlooked component of choosing the right gym, but it’s surprisingly important. For example, if you prefer to throw your headphones on and ignore the world while you workout, a gym where people like to stop and talk to each other will interrupt your workout and probably drive you crazy. If you don’t prefer heavy lifting and you’re surrounded by enormous guys deadlifting a truck, you might feel too uncomfortable to push yourself. Choosing a gym atmosphere that suits you can help you workout harder and more effectively, and it makes you want to head to the gym instead of giving you another excuse to skip this workout.

These are the most important things I considered when choosing the gym I work for, and I’m excited that it seems to be a really good fit for me on all levels.

What were the most important factors for you when choosing a gym?

Do you prefer working out at the gym, at home, or outdoors?

What is your favorite way to workout?