Joining a gym can be one of the first steps towards accomplishing your health and fitness goals, whether this includes losing weight, having more energy or getting stronger. There are, however, lots of gyms and fitness centers competing for your membership. When you start visiting gyms and checking out the terms, you may be surprised at how expensive memberships can be. Some will set you back several hundred dollars per month, which comes to thousands per year. While you want to get in better shape, you don’t want to go broke in the process. Fortunately, there are some ways to save money and still choose a good gym.
Choose a Gym that Meets Your Needs
Regardless of the cost, it’s essential to choose a gym where you’ll feel comfortable and that’s convenient for you. Even if membership is reasonable, it’s only a bargain if you actually go regularly and get something out of it. Studies show that the majority of people who join gyms seldom use their memberships. There are a few factors that will make it more likely you will actually make good use of the gym.
- Location -If it takes you much more than 15 minutes to get to the gym, there’s a good chance you won’t be consistent about going. Find a gym that’s close to your home or workplace.
- Hours -Some gyms are open 24/7 while others have very limited hours. If you have a tight schedule, make sure the gym you choose is open when you have time to work out.
- Type of classes or equipment. Some people prefer working out with weights or machines. Others find it more motivating to take classes with enthusiastic instructors. When browsing gyms, consider if it’s a place you can realistically see yourself going several times per week.
Calculating the Real Cost
Joining a gym should be a simple and straightforward process, but this isn’t always the case. Many gyms deliberately complicate matters by having all sorts of extra fees, contracts and small print. When you read an ad, for example, that advertises a low monthly cost, make sure you understand all the conditions. Is there a signup fee? Are you locked into a contract? Are you compelled to have the fee taken out of your bank account each month?
If you are serious about joining a gym and attending consistently, it’s often a better deal to sign up for a whole year. If there’s a choice between monthly and annual rates, do the math and see if there’s a significant difference. If the gym charges $50 per month, for example, that comes to $600 per year. If they offer an annual rate of $500, you’d be saving a whole $100 by committing for a year.
Try It Out Before You Sign a Contract
Before you join any gym, make sure you take a good look around. Most gyms offer free or low cost trial memberships. In fact, if you can’t try it out for a week or month at a reasonable cost, you might want to find a place that does offer this option. This gives you a chance to sample the equipment or classes and find out how you feel about the place. You should also be clear about cancellation and refund policies.
An affordable gym membership is not only about the price. It’s about finding a place that’s convenient and consistent with your goals and personality.