The start of the year is typically a time when everyone decides to whip themselves into shape. And that means flocking to gyms or renewing long-expired memberships.
But with the holidays recently over, it’s also a time to watch the pennies. Therefore, expensive gym membership fees can be extremely off putting.
But getting fit shouldn’t need to cost a lot of money. So how can you get back into an exercise regimen without breaking the bank?
Here are some excellent tips on saving on your gym membership.
1. Take Advantage of Free Trials, Coupons or Guest Passes
Before you sign up for a full-time gym membership shop around and do your research.
There are usually a variety of offers and coupons out there at this time of year. With the growing trend of exercising outside, meaning many are heading away from the gyms, plenty of clubs are looking for new business. This means gyms are offering deals to bring in new members.
Most gyms will offer you a free trial, which means you can use the facilities for maybe a few sessions and decide whether you want to take on a new full time gym membership.
There will also be coupons for cheaper classes, sessions or consultations which will save you some money.
Many gyms also give existing members the option to bring a friend for a trial, for free, on their guest pass.
2. Studio Sessions and Individual Classes
Gym membership typically means you have access to everything the gym offers. This might be weights, machines, use of the pool, access to the spa, and a choice of exercise classes.
But if you’re only interested in a certain aspect of fitness, forking out for a full gym membership could be unnecessarily excessive.
You might be able to attend a gym without signing up for the full membership and still attend classes or one-off sessions in the weight room or at the pool.
If you can calculate precisely how much time you’ll need per week using these facilities, it’s often more economical to pay as and when you attend.
If classes are what you enjoy, think about schemes like ClearPass which offers a monthly fee. This can range from as little as $30 to $135. You can pay for whatever level of classes and smaller studio sessions you want to attend.
The American Health and Fitness Alliance also offers PassBook. This scheme offers up an array of passes to certain gyms in various cities. This is all covered in a $95 fee.
It’s also worth looking into smaller boutique studios. These will offer up classes and specialize in a particular form of exercise. A smaller venue such as this might be more appealing to a newbie to fitness.
3. Low-Commitment Gym Membership
Gyms understand that schedules can be hectic and require flexibility. If you have this kind of life, seek out a low-commitment gym membership that best suits your needs.
Gyms like this tend to let their patrons join on a per month basis, rather than getting you to sign up for a whole year at a time.
If, for example, you know you’re going to be too busy for a particular month of the year or are going away on vacation, you can opt out of your membership during that time period.
4. Split the Cost
Investigate whether your gym offers a gym membership for families or partners.
If they do, you might be able to land a much more attractive and economical deal that will save you a lot of money.
If you and your spouse are able to split the cost of one gym membership, you’re essentially paying half of what a full membership might cost you.
The same applies for family rates. If you have teenage children who use the gym, get them on your membership as well. This saves you shelling out more money on extra memberships for them.
5. Work or Insurance Benefits
Check with your employer or on your insurance policies to see whether there are any keep fit benefits included in your contract.
Health insurance plans often offer discounts on exercise schemes and gym membership. Some schemes even give the policyholder cashback if they join a gym.
Check online or call your insurers if you need more information on this. And ensure you know all the details. To be eligible, you may be required to visit a gym a specific number of times a month, and so it’s important to be completely clued up.
6. Be Savvy
Negotiate a deal with the gym you want to join. Remember that you are a paying customer and they want your business.
Visit the gym in person and ask if you can speak to a manager or membership coordinator. Don’t be afraid to do a bit of bartering with them. There’s every possibility that you can knock them down in price. This is especially true if you’re not a hardcore 24/7 gym user and only want to go there a few times a week.
Tips known to work here include asking if you can have a trial month. Or asking if they can waiver any upfront initiation costs. Perhaps you can pay upfront for the whole year, and consequently bring down the overall price.
If you offer to do this, it might very well work in your favor to have certain other fees waived, so think about what else you can ask them to bring down the fees.
If you’ve started to negotiate, you might as well carry on. What else can you get out of it? You’ve got the manager’s ear, ask if there are discounts if you introduce others to the gym. Ask whether you can get some extra perks in the deal for free. Perhaps a complimentary session with a personal trainer for example.
Consider if the gym membership cost includes access to things you won’t use. If it does, mention this. It’s another reason for them to potentially help you out and knock down the cost.
And if the membership doesn’t include services you actually will use, argue this as a point to get a reduced rate.
Another way of being savvy here is to tell them you’re flexible with when you use the gym. You may be able to get a lower membership fee if you point out that you’ll be attending in off-peak hours.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
7. Read the Small Print
If you’re signing a gym contract, make sure you scrutinize it for any additional fees or charges.
For example, if you choose to cancel the membership, you may be eligible to pay a cancellation fee. Many gyms have caught people out this way.
There are also instances where you have to give a notice period if you want to leave. Make sure you’re aware of this if it applies to the gym membership you want to take out. This way, you won’t find yourself stuck paying for that notice period when you won’t actually be using the facilities.
A red flag often comes up when membership fees are already quite low. Be sure to read the terms and conditions and ensure that you’re fully clued up on the small print.
8. Work Out at Home
There is an increasing trend today of opting out of gym membership altogether and working out at home instead.
With the busy lives we lead, fitness plans are being devised left, right, and center in order to coach people through self-taught, at-home workouts.
For the price of a book, for example, or a program you can purchase online, it’s more than possible to have a ready-made fitness schedule that you can do for free on your own turf.
Some of these require particular equipment, such as dumbbells or a yoga mat, but buying these one-offs will still work out cheaper.
Research the right program for you online and give it a try. There are also many fitness apps out there as well, often with dietary and nutritional tips featured.
It may not be that any of these suit you, but it’s worth looking into as a money saving scheme. You could even combine home workouts with one or two trips to the gym a week, meaning you can avoid a membership and just attend whenever you like.
Saving Money on Fitness
It’s possible to dedicate yourself to a new fitness regime and not break the bank.
The important thing is not to let expensive gym membership fees daunt you and scare you off. Gyms should be encouraging people to get fit, not frightening them away from doing it.
Do your research and employ these tips and you’re guaranteed to work out a convenient way to get fit while keeping firmly within the constraints of your personal budget.
Do you have any tips about keeping costs low when it comes to joining a gym? If so, let us know in the comments below.