What Your Gym is Hiding From You

Think you know everything about a good gym? You may be surprised. I came across this article, What Your Gym is Hiding From You | Women’s Health Magazine, which spells out a few things you may not know … and can keep you healthier, safer … and maybe even a little richer.

So, what can you do to make sure you’re getting the best deal, and keeping yourself free of injury? Keep a few of these things in mind when you’re joining a gym, hiring a trainer or signing a contract:

  • Visit the club when you anticipate working out. Crowds vary significantly throughout the day, with crowds usually peaking in the early morning (before work) and evening (after work) hours. Make sure you’ll be able to do what you want to do, when you want to do it.
  • Check your trainer’s credentials. Fact: there is no national standard for cetifiying fitness trainers. While most clubs do require trainers hold a current, accredited certification, the educational requirements do differ. Bottom line: make sure your trainer is experienced, and willing to help you achieve your personal goals – what you want to achieve should always be the trainer’s first priority. Training isn’t cheap, so make sure you get out of it what you want to, not what the trainer thinks you should.
  • Know what’s in your contract. Many clubs have auto-renewal built right into the contract – and it can’t be stopped unless certain steps are taken to end the auto-renewal or cancel your contract. It’s your money, so make sure you know where it’s going, and when, as well as any changes or additonal fees that may be incurred over time.
  • Make sure the club is clean. Gyms can be a petri dish for germs and disease. Check that there is a cleaning staff, and cleaning supplies readily available to wipe down equipment before and after use. With the weather getting cooler, there is even better chance of picking up an illness, so the cleaner your surroundings, the better.

One final tip – the right time to invest in a gym membership is now! Prices will go up following the new year, once the crowd builds as a result of New Year’s resolutions (“the resolutioners,” as I refer to them as), and many clubs will offer special deals in the slower months of the year. And see if you can get a better deal on your contract depending on how long you sign up for – if you know you’ll be committed, an extention on your contract can be worth your while (I’ve actually heard my gym advertise six months free if you renew for another year – at my club, this could save you close to $350 a year)!

Bottom line: be smart and do your homework before you buy!