Somebody somewhere is right now thinking of joining a gym. They may even be signing on the dotted line, committing to a (potentially high) monthly fee, certain that they’ll get the most out of the gym and that it is a great investment. But fast forward a few months (maybe even weeks) and things have changed. The good intentions have been used up and now there is just another direct debit coming out of bank as regular as clockwork, and the gym gets paid for none attendance. If that person might one day be you then there is hope, so don’t worry.
Here we look at the issue of gym membership and why you should use pay as you go gym passes, at least in the short term. So if you’re thinking of making this big commitment, make sure to read this before you do.
The purpose of joining a gym is to essentially burn off excess calories. What you have to be wary of is burning the wrong sort of pounds! Gyms are notoriously good at parting you from your hard earned money. They like you to visit, to view the premises (usually at a nice quiet time when it looks at its best) and then discuss your options – in other words sell you membership. You should always remember that these gyms are a business, and all businesses need to make money. The only source of income is from the subscriptions that their members pay to train. So numbers are key. Your priority has to be different, it is your own health and fitness that you should be concerned with, and spending money is no guarantee of attaining these goals.
Swimming pools are expensive to install, maintain and run. If you have no intention of incorporating swimming into your routine, then find a gym without one, otherwise part of your fees will be paying for services you’ll never use. If you do like to swim then that of course is different, but there are local pools available to the general public, at reasonable prices. The same can of course be said for spas etc. If you will never use the steam room, it’s time to look elsewhere.
Some gyms have opened themselves up to taster days when it is free, or discounted to attend. Those that don’t often offer pay as you go gym passes and these are ideal in the short term. Of course if you compare the price of membership, against an average of 3 visits a week, to pay as you go may look expensive. But how do you know whether you’ll make it 3 times a week over the course of a year? Also, surely you want to see and try out the gym before you commit long term. If you don’t then you’re potentially making a critical error. Like anything in life, you should always try before you buy wherever possible.
Go to the gym on a taster day or pay as you go gym pass, but when you do make sure it is at the time of day when you’ll usually be training. Do not sample a gym at 11am on a Monday if you’re going to train at 6.30pm every weeknight. You need to see how busy it is, and whether the numbers using the gym at “your” time, make it a suitable choice. The more you can learn using day passes or taster days the better, and moreover, try more than one gym, try as many as possible, then pick the most suitable and give it a slightly longer trial before any full-term commitment.
Oh the indignity. Why pay for the privilege to pay another sum monthly. If the gym insists on a fee, then that is an indication of their priorities, i.e. not you! Most wave their fees in January, and most will probably accept waving it after a little haggle – if you never ask, you’ll never get. You should also check about cancellation policies due to injury or a change in financial circumstances. This is something to find out before joining.
Never forget also that there are some local authority gyms and privately run gyms that can actually compete with the bigger chains, and might be more beneficial to you and your goals. The best way to find out is to look online and visit as many as possible, utilising day passes and tasters. Membership is a big commitment, and therefore you need to think long and hard about your decisions before they’re made, not come to regret them later. Happy hunting and good training!