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!

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6 thoughts on “What Your Gym is Hiding From You

  1. Also, if you do not need certain options or amenities you can look for cheaper alternatives. Where I live, there are gyms that have no spa type facilities, heck they don’t even have showers, and limited exercise equipment. They cost 10 monthly compared to my club which can be way more than that. But, training for a triathlon, I require the pool and spa type facilities and classes and variety of machines. So think.

    • Absolutely – different people have different priorities and cost points, and luckily, there are a lot of different options out there! It really comes down to what you require vs. what you’re willing to settle for – and what you’re willing to pay for it. Not everyone needs 80 classes a week, or a spa, or a 24-hours club. And it’s not worth paying for those things if you aren’t going to use them (I would pay and have paid for all of those things, but luckily, since I’m an instructor, my membership is free)!

    • Chatter has a good point. I used to go to a gym that offered a bunch of things I didn’t need. When I switched over to a basic gym I saved myself 20 dollars a month. It adds up.

      One of the other great things about my new gym is how NOT busy it is during the time I go. Since I do a lot of circuit training the extra room is great for me. So I agree with tip # 1.

      • Absolutely- $20/month may not seem like a big deal, but when you realize you’re saving $240/year … that’s a big chunk of change (and a couple new pairs of running shoes)! It’s not worth paying for the extras if you aren’t going to use them.
        I wish I could work out at a time that’s not so busy! Unfortunately, after work tends to work best for me, like so many people. It’s usually this time of year I start telling myself to enjoy the lesser than normal crowds, because we’re a few short months from 2-3 months of post-New Years insanity. But I LOVE my gym, so I do what I have to do!

      • It all comes down to how much you love it. The more you love it, the more you will go. Period. Everyone has different things that work for them. That’s what makes us all unique!

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