6 Things You Need to Do Before Buying a Gym Membership

So, you’re motivated, you’re eager, and you’ve decided that you want to get a gym membership.  Luckily, in this economy people are dropping like flies from gyms so most places will pretty much do anything to get you to join their club.  Did you hear that Cinderella?  You’re practically the prettiest girl at the ball! Now, here are six things to consider before giving it up (your money).

Now, let’s be honest…most gyms suck, and the managers that run them are only after your money.  Family Guy explains this perfectly in this short clip below.  It’s important you do your research so you don’t get suckered into a crappy commitment with a crappy gym.

1) Do your research - If you live in a big city, there are probably dozens and dozens of gyms within a 15 mile radius.  Type in “gym” or “health club” and your address into Google and see what pops up.  Start making some phone calls and find out what their membership rates are, if there is a initiation fee, what their hours are, etc.  Interested in playing basketball, taking classes, swimming, etc.?  Check out different options.  One gym might be $50 a month compared to another at $25, but check to see what you get for that money: if you’re going to be doing things other than just lifting weights and hitting a treadmill, might not be a bad idea to splurge for the more expensive gym with all the bells and whistles.  Your choice.

2) Chain gym or local gym? Both have their advantages and disadvantages.  Local gyms often have better trainers, more reasonable management (who aren’t solely after getting your money), while chain gyms often allow you to work out at any of their gyms in the country.  Big traveler? Might be good to get a nationwide membership.  Want to support local businesses? Find a good gym and get to know the owner…he might be more lenient on your membership rates.  Big chains have rates that generally set in stone, and many of them are only after your wallet.  It all comes down to what you want out of your gym.

3) What time of day will you usually go the gym? Decide if you want to work out before work, after work, late at night before bed, etc.  Obviously if you want to go straight from work every day, you’ll want to pick a gym by your office, and if you want to work out at home…go look at gyms there.  Timing is everything, and location.  If it’s really close to where you are, you’re far more likely to make the trip than if you have to drive half an hour.  Location, location, location.

4) Get a guest pass. Most gyms offer guest passes, which allow you to work out at their gym free for a week.  Make sure you go to the gym at the same time that you’ll usually be working out once you get a membership.  A gym could be great on a weekend when you go into to look at it, but right after work it could be more packed than Old Country Buffet on half-priced Tuesdays.  If they give you a free week, make sure you use it multiple times.  You might get a bad impression of a gym on one day simply because they were having a free open house or something.

5) Talk to other members. Find somebody at the gym you’re testing it out and ask them what they like and dislike about it.  They could tell you that there’s always a weird funk in the locker room, the trainers are a bunch of creeps, or the equipment is always busted.  They could also tell you it’s fantastic and they’ve had a nothing but great experiences there!  You won’t know unless you ask.  I’d recommend catching people after their workout or before…I wouldn’t really bring it up in the shower or when somebody is halfway through a set.

6) Find a good gym?  Good! Now try out two other ones. After you decide on a gym, sit down with their management and find out what kind of deals they can offer.  Do they have a family discount?  A lot of gyms will have specials if you can sign up with a friend.  Another thing you want to decide is if you want to do a short term month-to-month deal, or pay a discounted price but get locked into a contract.  Tell them you want to think about it, and then find another gym and use their free week membership.  You can probably get at least a good month worth of fitness in without paying a dime if you play your cards right.

-Steve

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