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This is the time of the year when we are renewing our commitments and memberships to our local gyms.

If you are one of the millions of Americans strolling into the gym for the first time in months, you might want to ask yourself, is this the best gym for me?

For decades, the ‘gym’ was defined as the biggest and shiniest storefront that had hundreds of pieces of workout equipment all lined up just so – with huge TVs over the cardio area, loudspeakers blasting through the spin room, and hyped up instructors shouting directions in the mirrored aerobics room. If you have been able to find a home and community in this environment, then it might be the best place for you.

But increasingly, people haven’t been able to and as a result a new trend has been slowly creeping into the ‘gym’ space. That trend is smaller, more personal, ‘boutique,’ gyms.

Whether it is your local spin or personal training studio; smaller, more personal workout spaces have become increasingly popular because of the personalized attention and family feel that a smaller space more easily cultivates. The trainers and instructors get to know you, and you get to know your fellow athletes as you work together and motivate each other without the anonymity that 10,000 square feet of treadmills affords.

This means no wandering into the gym to sit on a stationary bike for 60 minutes at a comfortable pace – which is a good thing – because that is essentially a waste of time. You can do much more in a smaller space with a fraction of the equipment in half the time. That is what smaller boutique gyms are focusing on and having tremendous success with in terms of business and results for their clients.

So before you walk into the most recognizable space out of ease and convenience, invest some time into trying out some of the smaller gyms around town. Not every small gym is better than the neighborhood ‘globo gym,’ but here are some things to look for:

  1. A fun and friendly feel that you connect with – spaces like this are naturally addictive and will keep you coming back for more
  2. Educated and informed instruction – talk to the trainers and owners to get a sense of their philosophy with respect to health and fitness. You want to find someone who is both educated and inspirational to ensure you stay safe and motivated
  3. Cleanliness – no matter where you go, you should expect a clean environment with well maintained equipment. You will pay more for a smaller gym, so be sure you get what you pay for
  4. Community – Ultimately, it is the relationships that you form that will exert the most influence on whether you keep coming back. It doesn’t take long to get a feel for a place – make sure it is a good fit for you and make some friends

Learn more about movement, fitness and health in this space each week or by visiting, or calling 478-5833.

If you have any questions about this article, or want to find out more about scheduling a nutritional consultation, contact Dr. Chris Telesmanic, PT, DPT, OCS at

Dr. Maria Fermoile is a doctor of physical therapy at Alliance Health in Fresno. She will be happy to answer questions submitted to

Lance Hairabedian EdM, PTA is a physical therapist assistant at Alliance Health. He will be happy to answer questions submitted to

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