So you decided to join a gym - congratulations! Before buying a gym membership though, there's actually a lot of factors to consider. Keep in mind this is a year-long commitment, so you want to make sure it's the best decision and fit for you before dropping money into a random place. Here's what you need to know.
Research Different Gyms
That's great if you know you want a gym membership, but have you decided where? Research is the first step of what you need to know before buying a gym membership. Research a few different gyms in your area and compare the equipment, classes offered, price, distance from your home, hours opened, and additional amenities. You can also look up reviews of each and ask advice from family, friends, or colleagues who currently have a gym membership.
Calculate Budget & Plans
Before buying a gym membership, you need to know how much of your budget you have AND are willing to spend. Some gyms are more affordable than others, so that's also why research is important. Just like paying rent and credit cards, your gym membership will be another bill you'll have to stay on top of and pay monthly. Then you need to consider the different plans the gyms offer based on your personal fitness goals and budget. Do you really need all those fitness classes you'll never go to? Are massages really necessary? Be smart with picking a plan that is best for you.
Get A Guest Pass
You wouldn't buy a car without driving it, right? Well you shouldn't buy a gym membership without trying it out for yourself as well. After you decided on a gym, either 1. visit it and ask how free passes work or 2. ask someone you know how goes there to get you a guest pass. This way you can test out your commute to the gym, feel their atmosphere, try out their equipment and machines, check out the classes, see the locker room, and basically experience what this gym would be like if you were a member. If you like it after a couple of times, then great! If not, it's time to go back to square one.
Look For Promos
Gym memberships can get expensive, so it's smart to look into promotions and deals before paying full price. For example, they may have a family plan or a friend referral program, so you get to bring someone with you. Additionally you should always keep an eye out for specials, especially during slow months and the busiest. There's a reason why so many people join the gym at the beginning of the year, because many gyms waive fees or offer discounts in January. Even if you don't see any deals, it honestly never hurts to ask.
Read The Contract
This one sounds obvious, but I know many people sign things without thoroughly reading what is entailed. Be sure you know what you are signing and you're okay with your gym's terms. For example, can you freeze your contract if you go out of town or are on vacation? What happens if the gym goes out of business? Does the membership renew automatically? If you don't see these things, definitely ask before signing as well. Additionally, on top of getting a copy of the contract for yourself, always get everything the salesperson promises you in writing. They may say this awesome deal or promise you one thing, and then deny it later if it isn't written or included. If they won’t let you do that, that’s a bad sign and you should go elsewhere.
Once you know and do all these steps, get your gym membership, and let the fun begin!
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