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4 Things To Know When Looking For a Gym Membership

cardio equipment treadmillsI’ve been through my fair share of gym memberships in my life. I’ve been a member of many gyms, and have learned a few things from the experiences. Here are the things you need to know before you join a gym.

Gym Will Be Packed Before and After Work Hours

This should come as no surprise. If you work a typical 9-5 job, you more than likely either work out before or after you go to work. Between the hours of 6-9am and 5-8pm, the gym is going to be packed. How flexible is your job? Do you have the time to work out on your lunch break? Sometimes there’s nothing you can do about this. The earlier in the morning you work out, and the closer to 5pm you get to the gym in the evening, the fewer the people there will be.

If you can’t stand crowds, you could always do what I did and build your own home gym. Unfortunately, that isn’t ideal for most people. If you go to the gym 3 days a week, maybe you could arrange your workout days so that one of the days falls on the weekend. Go to the gym in the morning on a weekend, and you’ll notice a whole different atmosphere.

Gym Membership Prices are Usually Negotiable

How much are you paying for your gym membership? Are you locked into a 1 or 2 year commitment? Are you paying over $100 per month, or $1000 per year? If you are, you more than likely were taken advantage of. Gym memberships are negotiable. Those people you talk to are salespeople trying to get you to join their gym for the highest price possible. They see those New Year’s resolution people as big dollar sign targets.

When I go to join a gym, they try to start with the same sales tactics as all the other gyms. Fortunately, I know what the price of a gym membership should be, and I don’t accept anything less than that. The gyms want people. You’d be surprised how little they will accept to have you there.

You don’t need to lock yourself into multi-year commitments. The sales people know that odds are, you won’t be around a few months from now. They want to lock you in for as long as possible so that you are paying for an unused membership. Go month to month, or at most, sign up for 6 months to get a discount – as long as you’re certain you’ll still be going there.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’ve never paid more than $35 per month for my gym membership. I didn’t have to sign up for several years or pay a huge upfront fee for that either. Will you only be using the gym a few days a week? Many gyms have a plan where you use it on particular days of the week. If you’ll only use the gym on M/W/F – tell them that. Don’t be afraid to ask!

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Gyms are Busiest in January

I used to hate it when January would come around. The number of people in the gym would literally be 10 times the norm. Why did this happen? If you haven’t figured it out yet, this is when all the New Year’s resolution people would join the gym. Don’t get me wrong – it makes me happy to see all those people take a step in the right direction towards improving their health and getting fit. However, all these new people cause there to be a wait on the workout equipment.

Here’s the thing though. All those people that join on January 1st start quitting one by one until March rolls around. By then, the gym population is back to normal. If you don’t want to be part of that statistic, then perhaps you should take these 5 tips to keep your New Year’s resolution into consideration. The moral of the story? Don’t be intimidated by all those people if you’re a New Year’s resolutioner. 90% of the people there are new just like you, and more than likely, they haven’t the faintest clue what they’re doing there. Hang in there, and you’ll soon become one of the regulars who hates it when January rolls around too.

Every Gym Has Their Own Rules

Proper gym etiquette differs from gym to gym. If you plan on joining the mega-corporation gyms, be ready for strict rules. If you are a hardcore gym-goer, these are not going to be for you. These gyms cater to a particular clientele. You aren’t going to find any chalk on the bars, and you should forget about bringing in your own workout equipment to use. However, if you like big open spaces and flexible hours, these gyms are probably for you.

The smaller gyms tend to be more free with what you can do, and they usually bring a higher level of comradery with them. You can bring in your own workout equipment like boards, bands, and chains, and people won’t sit and stare at you like you’re from another planet. Unfortunately, these gyms are usually smaller because they are owned by individuals. If you get claustrophobic easily (I do), these gyms probably aren’t for you. Every gym is different though, so be sure to go and check them out. Regardless of where you join, here are 10 things I better not see you doing at the gym.

Before you go out and join a new gym this year, be sure you understand the fitness culture. Not only will it save you money, but understanding the behavior of other gym members can help diminish the intimidation factor, and keep you consistent in the gym. Do you have any tips you can share for first time gym-goers?

  • Carl Mason-Liebenberg

    Great simple and truthful guide to finding a new gym. I especially love the candor about memebership costs!

  • Donna B.

    These are all common sense, but they bear repeating. I’m already regretting signing up at the gym I did, based on a couple of these items.