With new year's resolutions on the top of everyone's lists, gym membership sales are at their highest. But, before you join a gym to get in shape, there are a few things you should know before walking in the door.
1. Know before you go
Before walking into a health club, you should do some homework about yourself. It's important to know exactly what amenities you think will want. This will determine price, location and even what times you attend. Ask yourself these questions about yourself and the gym.
- What types of equipment do they have? Do you like cardio, free weights, tubing, etc. and do they have enough of the kind you like?
- What types of group classes interest you? Will you take classes? Are they included in your membership?
- Will you need a swimming pool? Are there therapy classes, swim lane restrictions, children in the pool?
- Do they provide or offer personal trainers? Does this cost extra?
- Can you bring guests to the club? If so, how much is each guest per visit?
- What are the locker room amenities? Do you need to bring towels, shampoo, soap, etc? Do you need a lock?
- What is the "Culture" of the club? Does everyone have a trainer? Are there people your age there? Is this a dating scene?
2. Start online
Once you've determined what and how you will use a gym membership, the location, hours and price are the next things to consider. Many gyms will not show membership rates or give pricing over the phone, but, if you push hard enough, you may get some answers so that an in-person visit isn't necessary. And, if you call the facility, always ask for a membership representative and write down their name. The more you establish a relationship with the sales agent, the more likely you will be to get a better deal than reaching out to different people each time.
3. Try before you buy
Once you've determined a few gyms to join, you should try before you buy. Although January is notorious for crowded spaces, even at this time, most gyms will provide a trial membership. Just make sure you read the fine print and perfectly understand what they will give you back (initiation fees are usually non-refundable but transferable) if the membership isn't a good fit for you.
4. The price is right
Remember that price is negotiable even with your gym membership. Check on how long your contract runs (many will give a discount if signing up for a year plan rather than month to month and some will offer a pre-paid annual membership discount). If they won't budge on price, ask for things like personal training sessions or other amenities they might offer. You should be able to get somethings with added value for joining- especially this time of year.
5. Phone a friend!
Many places will offer a couples or family discount. For many clubs, couples can be two friends or two sisters (remember you can be related even on your mother's brother's second side so is long as you can agree on one mailing address) Plus keep in mind they would like to sell you a membership!
6. Last day rates
The best day to buy a gym membership is the last day of the month because sales representatives are trying to make quotas that are set for them. Call later in the day and ask for the same person you have been working with since the initial inquiry. Also check to see if they will offer you rewards or incentives for sticking with your program. Have your sales rep check with the membership director as well.
Last bit of advice, most people tend to stick to a healthy fitness regimen when they join a gym within six miles of their home or business. Get healthy!
For more healthy living tips, check out Andrea Metcalf's website!