As someone who has worked out in more than a hundred different gyms, I’ve learned a thing or two about how they operate. While the majority of gym employees are good, trustworthy people, gyms are still looking to make a profit – sometimes, at your expense.
- The initiation fee can almost always be waived. When you join a new gym, many will try to charge a one-time initiation fee. It could range anywhere from fifty to a few hundred bucks. In most cases, this fee isn’t actually required; it’s just a way for gyms to make more money from you. Remember, the gym wants your business. You’re the one with the power. Tell the gym that you won’t pay the initiation fee, and that you won’t join unless they waive it. At the very least, they should be able to lower the fee significantly.
- The monthly membership fees are usually flexible. For some gyms, the monthly membership fee is set in stone. But for most, there’s room to negotiate. Joining a gym is a lot like buying a car. They’ll tell you a high number. You can come back with a lower number. And perhaps you’ll meet somewhere in the middle.
- Many gyms offer discounts. Sometimes, this discounts occur through your insurance plan or place of employment. Other times, gyms offer discounts for students, elderly individuals, models or even people listed on IMDB (yup, my gym gave me an IMDB discount!). But you need to ask.
- The “fitness assessment” is really a sales pitch for personal training. After joining, many gyms require some sort of fitness assessment wherein they’ll ask you about your goals, make you do a few push-ups and show you the equipment. In reality, this is almost always a way to up-sell you on personal training. Sometimes, trainers will you show particularly complicated exercises or question your workout plan so that you feel like you need their help. Personal training, of course, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But know that the fitness assessment is merely marketing.
- Many gyms skimp on cleaning. Check out the rug at the front door. Is it covered in hair, dirt and crap from outside? That’s a good indication that the gym doesn’t prioritize cleanliness and is cutting corners to save money. In actuality, gyms are breeding grounds for nasty germs, so you’ll want a gym that’s clean and tidy. If the front door rug is clean, that’s a great start.
Do you have any other gym secrets? Share them in the comments below.
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