I liked Frenchfit's post...
I have been belonged to a gym for 35 years and use it several times per week. I have belonged to European Health Spa, Jack LaLaine, Nautilas Clubs, the Sports Club in Irvine, Sports Club LA, DC, Irvine, San Francisco and Beverly Hills and recently Equinox. Not all clubs are created equal. Location is a key factor in maintaining attendance. If it is not convenient, then it is much harder to go. The best club for women was Sports Club LA. LA has some of the most beautiful women on the planet and working out with starlets and hopefuls is, and I am looking for a word to describe it, totally amazing. However, like most views, as nice as that is, it will not keep you motivated.
Equinox is 1 mile from my house so I can walk there but I never do for other reasons. The facility is spotless and the employees are very friendly but execute the business very well. They have a complete gym with cardio, machines, free weights, Olympic lifting, spin classes, yoga, pilates studio, aerobics room, a large selection of balls, bands, balance equipment, Olympic rings, TRX straps and TRX classes, kettle bells, a large tractor tire with a sledge hammer (yep, you slam the tire with the hammer) and a great cadre of trainers for hire and to help. And there is a lap pool, massage / spa and steam room all which are spotless and impeccably maintained.
I go there everyday and do a full range of activities from strength training and core work to just use it as a recovery gym after a long bike ride. And I know many of the regulars at the gym and sometimes we chat but most of the time we all prefer to focus on our workouts.
Having music at the gym is like Goldilocks porridge. It has to be just the right type and volume. I listen to the Lady Gaga station on Pandora on my iPhone. I use my iPhone for timing certain exercises. Talking on cell phones is not allowed in the workout areas or locker rooms.
They have a clothing boutique and I buy my workout clothes from there so I have the technology that is designed for the gym. Obviously, people show up dressed in most anything but there is a dress code and one must wear shoes where the toes are covered.
I see people come and go. Generally, we get a lot of new people at the start of the year and then they stop. I am sure that people show up and see the regulars working out and come to all kinds of ridiculous conclusions about us and most importantly themselves. We all start the same...out of shape. But it is really bad idea for new people to compare themselves to me when I have been doing this for 35 years. They want my results in a few weeks and it is not going to happen. However, I see some new people that come consistantly and soon they are losing weight, getting stronger and much more confident in themselves
That is the take away from working out at a gym. It builds self confidence since it is so goal oriented with instant feedback - today I could do 3 pushups. In the next session, I could do 4. That builds self image. What one has to do is forget about/ignore the guys that can do 100 pushups. They have been at that for years and do not compare oneself to them. If you want to make a comparison, the guy who does 3 pushups one day and 4 on the next session made a 25% improvement. The guy that does 100 usually does that all the time and has plateaued. Who is better? YMMV.
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, writer