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!

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. happy new year davey! i stopped working out for 2 years already and have gained 80lbs. should i hit the gym or start with lessening my food intake first? hope you could recommend any package you have. thanks!

  2. Happy New Year Jonathan! ๐Ÿ˜€

    With the surge in people working on their New Year’s Resolutions, when would you recommend signing up to avoid that crowd?

    • You should do it now, while the iron is hot! Don’t put it off – and a lot of gyms are offering special discounts and packages right now because the Jan. 1st competition is fierce.

  3. Hmmm fresh meat …lol just can’t wait to see all the new faces in my gym. The surge would only last a couple of weeks. I call them the resolutioners…but hey that’s one way to start.

  4. My question is, where can I find a shirtless gym with patrons like that? That would definitely get me in the gym more often.

    • I have a full set of gym equipment and a treadmill at my house, and I don’t mind if you come over shirtless every day! *wink*

  5. You lived in Argentina? When? One of my parents is from there.

  6. Actually, the question of dress code is a pretty significant one. A lot of gyms don’t let guys take off their shirts like the guy in your picture. And a lot of guys like to workout shirtless, feeling it gives them some extra motivation and makes them more comfortable. It can be tough finding a gym that lets guys workout shirtless. Do you have any tips on that? I’ve often found that smaller gyms are more likely to be permissive about their dress codes, but there are advantages to having a larger gym with more and newer equipment, etc.

  7. if you’re spending 90 minutes at the gym six days a week you’re doing it wrong.


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