Joining a gym?

Find the right exercise facility to fit your lifestyle, personality

By Pauline DiGiorgio

paulinesNew year, new you — am I right?

You’ve taken the right step forward with healthy new habits such as less take-out, more activity, less screen time and more green juices!

Joining a gym is probably something you’ve already accomplished, but is there a chance you’re at the wrong gym for your lifestyle?

Ever stopped and thought about what your priorities are when choosing a gym or did your mind go straight to the monthly cost, swaying your decision to the less-pricey option? What about the location, the variety of equipment or whether there are classes to keep you motivated?

I’ve been exploring and trying gyms in the area for years now. Here are some of my thoughts and suggestions to determine the best option for you to increase your success on your fitness journey.

— Best gym for optimal nutrition and personal training: Upstate Empire Fitness, Yorkville

The gym started off with a large fan base due to its online training and nutrition services, helping over 2,000 clients locally and abroad.

The owners, a husband-wife duo, had so much success training their clients remotely that they decided on opening their own gym in 2018.

They have found a way to take fitness and personal training to the next level offering their services, in person, for maximum results.

I vote this gym best for those who truly want to level up with their fitness game. If you’ve been exercising and want to really tune in with customized training programs, this is your place.

Upstate Empire’s nutritional consulting and macro customization has created its own arena, being responsible for chiseling some inspiring “before-and-afters.” (Check out its facebook page, UEF gym)
— Best gym for families (with kids!): Retro Fitness, Yorkville and Fitness Mill, New York Mills

“No sitter, so no workout” is no longer an excuse!

Childcare is a common add-on to gym packages. But these two gyms go above and beyond basic childcare.

Retro Fitness is the ultimate all-in-one gym. I’ve seen first-hand how top-notch they are, and noticed parents having a tough time getting the kids to leave due to all the fun they were having.

Fitness Mill has an interactive class for kids call “Kids Kamp,” which is a fantastic way to get the children up and moving, not just stuck in front of a screen.

— Best gym for the budget-conscious: Planet Fitness, Anywhere USA

Planet Fitness has the most attractive monthly payment. But I do think that because of the price, it has gotten a reputation of “you get what you pay for” type feel. Not anymore!

In 2018, Planet Fitness totally rejuvenated all the clubs. Club makeovers included all new machines, new “spa” areas with hydro chairs, new indoor tanning and massage chairs.

The interior is all new, clean and exciting. I think one of the most convenient traits of a Planet Fitness membership is being able to use your membership at any Planet Fitness in the U.S.

It is also staying very “on trend” with its new “Perkville” promotion. Planet Fitness members will get a discount at companies that include Headspace, Kohl’s and Blue Apron.

— Best “gym community”: Prime Gym, Washington Mills

This gym was formally called Utica Crossfit. In 2019, by popular demand, it grew out of its Utica location and moved into a larger space to accommodate a growing membership.

If you are looking for not only superb trainers and instructors, but fellow members that support, encourage and make you feel empowered, Prime will leave you impressed.

It offers a free trial week. I tried it and was blown away. Everyone that goes to Prime is excited, positive and cheering each other on.

It’s a family and you can feel the difference. Check out its website — they spotlight a new member every month. Talk about membership appreciation!

• Pauline DiGiorgio is a fitness ambassador and Group X instructor at Retro Fitness gyms. Questions? Email her at