Archive for the tag - membership

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!