Archive for the tag - gym membership

Exercise Without a Gym Membership: 9 Tips.

Dear Davey,

I recently moved with my partner to a larger city. While eventually I plan on joining a gym, moving is expensive and it’s just not possible right now.

What would you suggest I do? I don’t want to lose the progress I’ve made, but I simply can’t afford a gym right now. Please help!

Sincerely,
Nic

Hey Nic,

Thanks for your email and I understand your situation. While living in New York City during university and working an unpaid internship, I found myself in the same situation. Fortunately, the City of New York offers fitness recreation center memberships through it’s Parks & Recreation department. For about a hundred bucks, the facility wasn’t fancy – but it got the job done.

If you city or town doesn’t offer a fitness recreational centers, there are plenty of other inexpensive or free options to stay fit and active. Here are a few ideas.

  1. Use your bodyweight. Bodyweight exercises like push-ups and pull-ups don’t require fancy equipment or gym memberships. Unfortunately, your results may eventually plateau as it’s difficult to progressively increase the amount of resistance your working against; your bodyweight is your bodyweight. Nonetheless, it’s a great way to stay active and it can produce great results – especially for beginner exercisers.
  2. Go outside! I love working out in parks and public spaces. Playgrounds – in particular – can present a wide range of exercise activities. Moreover, you don’t need a treadmill when you have sidewalks or running trails. Make the most of the great outdoors!
  3. Join a sports league. Not only are sports leagues a lot of fun and a great way to meet people, they’re inexpensive and can provide a fantastic workout. Most cities have sports leagues and they’re welcoming of all fitness and ability levels. It’s a win-win situation.
  4. Use a workout video. I created a line of Davey Wavey exercise videos to show that it’s possible to get a phenomenal workout without leaving your home, office or hotel room. Guided by trainers and fitness professionals, exercise videos can help get your heart pumping and your muscles moving. And, they’re much cheaper than a gym membership.
  5. Build a home gym – using Craigslist. While home gym equipment tends to be expensive, there’s no shame in buying second-hand. Craigslist is often chuck-full of used and dusty gym equipment that needs a little love – and it tends to sell for pennies on the dollar. If you have the space, build a small home gym of your own.
  6. YouTube it. Search YouTube for some at-home exercise ideas. My Davey Wavey Fitness channel has a bunch of at-home workouts that you can try – and there’s a lot of great, free material out there. Just make sure you trust the source.
  7. Make use of promos. Many gyms offer free trial periods. Though it’s not necessarily a sustainable or reliable way to get fit, it can certainly buy you some time while you prioritize your finances. Be careful to read the fine print.
  8. Public courts. Your city or town almost certainly has public courts for basketball, etc. Take up tennis as a new sport this summer. While reserving a court is free, you’ll probably need to provide your own equipment.
  9. Ask your healthcare provider. Many health insurance programs offer reimbursements or discounts for gym memberships. It might not be a huge discount – but it will certainly help!

While joining a gym can seem expensive, it’s worth noting that it’s more of an investment than an expense. The upfront cost of a gym membership is certainly less than what you’ll pay in healthcare expenses related to a sedentary lifestyle, decreases in longevity or a deteriorating quality of life. Indeed, there’s a hidden cost of not investing in your health – and it’s one that has a way of catching up with people. I’d suggest that most people can’t afford not to workout.

Having said that, getting in shape doesn’t need to break the bank. And, as you know, not having a lot of extra cash isn’t an excuse for doing nothing. If you have any additional ideas for an inexpensive or free workout, then please share them in the comments below!

Love,
Davey

6 Important Questions to Ask Before Joining a Gym.

Earlier in the year, I shared 6 helpful tips for finding the right gym. But even once you’ve found a gym that feels like a good fit, there are still a handful of questions that you should ask before signing the dotted line:

  1. What are the terms of the contract? Often times, gyms offer an introductory price or special promotion. It’s important to know how long the promotional price will last, and what the price will be thereafter. Ask how long the contract will last (some are month-to-month, and others require full year commitments). Moreover, ask if the price of membership can be increased without notice and if monthly membership can be frozen (i.e., if you take an extended trip).
  2. What exactly does my contract include? Many gyms charge separate fees for their different services – including a towel fee, laundry fee, group class fee, etc. In addition, some gyms charge different rates for memberships that are restricted to just one club vs. all the clubs in their network. Does your contact include access to other facilities or is that extra? The monthly contract rate may not take these fees into consideration, so know what you are getting in advance.
  3. Does the contract renew automatically? It happens with cell phone companies, and it happens with gyms, too. If you sign up for a full year commitment, what happens when that year is over? For some gyms, membership automatically renews for another 12 months. Obviously, it’s important to know if your gym is one of them.
  4. How can the contract be broken? Gyms – also like cell phone companies – don’t make it easy to break a contract. Some require early termination fees. Other gyms will dissolve the contract if you relocate to an area in which they don’t have a facility, but they’re probably require proof of your new address.
  5. What happens if I move? Speaking of relocating, ask about the gym’s relocation policies. I, for example, had a hard time getting out of a contract because I relocated to an apartment 45 miles from one of the gym’s facilities. They had a 50-mile relocation policy. As if anyone would drive 45 miles to use a gym! Know it before you sign it!
  6. What happens if the gym goes out of business? It happens. And if you’ve signed a full-year contract (especially one that is pre-paid), know what will happen to your money. Will you get any back? To that end, you may want to stick with an established gym rather than one that’s newer.

Those are my top 6 questions to ask before signing a gym contract. If you have any additional tips or questions that should be asked, please share them in the comments below!

Best Tips for Joining a Gym!

Need a spot, sir?

Hundreds of thousands of Americans – and people all around the world – will be joining gyms this week to help uphold health and fitness-centered New Year’s resolutions. As someone who has joined 6 different gyms in 3 different countries in the last year alone, I’ve become something of an expert.

Here are a few tips that I use when joining a gym:

  1. Location, location, location. I spend 90 minutes at the gym, 6 days a week. That’s a lot of time. The last thing I want is to extend my time commitment with a long commute to the gym. Even a 15 minute drive translates to 30 minutes of commuting a day, or 3 extra hours a week. Creating time for exercising is challenge enough – spare yourself the pain of an even larger time commitment by finding a facility near your home, or near your office.
  2. Take your gym for a spin – during the time you’ll usually exercise. You’d test drive a car before buying it, and there’s no reason you can’t do the same with a gym. Ask for a free day pass, and then use it during the time when you’d typically workout. You may discover that the gym is overcrowded at your ideal exercise time. Overcrowded gyms mean longer waits for equipment, and thus longer or incomplete workouts. Trying a gym out will also give you the chance to review the equipment and its condition. Is the gym clean? Are the machines functioning or out of order?
  3. Bargain. Despite what the salesperson tells you, gym rates are usually not set in stone. And know that the person behind the counter is probably working on commission – they are motivated to sell you the most expensive gym membership possible. You can negotiate discounts in monthly rates, and waive sign-up fees. If you’re looking at a few gyms, leverage their rates against each other. Don’t be afraid to bargain. Expect to pay anywhere from $10 – $250/month depending on the facility and the terms of your contract.
  4. Consider a bulk purchase. Along the lines of bargaining, consider buying a full year’s membership at once. Many gyms offer discounts if you pay it all upfront. It could be a great idea – or a terrible idea if you relocate or stop using your membership.
  5. Review the gym hours and holiday closings. Is the gym even open when you need it to be? When I was living in Buenos Aires, my gym didn’t open until 8AM! As a morning person, I had to bend my schedule considerably to get my workout in. Check on the holiday closings. My current gym is closed during every holiday – even January 1st and 2nd! If you get the various annual holidays off of work, you might want a gym that’s open.
  6. Ask for a class schedule. Maybe you’re interested in trying out yoga, pilates or spinning. Most gyms include free classes in their schedules – it’s all built into your membership, so see what your gym offers!

Use these tips to help find a gym that works for you. And if you have any tips of your own to offer, feel free to share in the comments below!

Happy 2011, and good luck in your gym search!