Sunday, February 22, 2009

Try Before You Buy: Gym Membership


Over the past month I have started training to run a half-marathon in April. I was very excited at the prospect, and I knew training for the event would be my biggest challenge. Staying committed to any type of program that requires discipline can be hard for anyone. Due to the cold weather that occurs during this time of year, I thought it would be too harsh for me to run outdoors having no real experience in running. Normally, I use our student recreation center, which provides free gym membership for all current students. However, on weekday nights, I found this place to be quite on my nerves. There are no fans on to ventilate the place properly, and it was incredibly crowded, which left me sometimes waiting in line to use a treadmill. In addition, I also have a minor phobia about crowded places, which got me to think of turning to a new place to continue training.

Looking at gyms for membership can be an overwhelming process, with a lot of information to consider. Now, obviously the most environmentally friendly route for exercise is to be out in mother nature herself, not on energy consuming exercise machines. Always consider that option first. In my case, I decided to take on gyms that would allow a one month membership, instead of committing myself to a year membership. Gym memberships can be so expensive, and they are hidden with loads of fees, even for just enrolling as a member. In addition, these rates can also increase every year. Although paying for membership on a per month basis will likely be more expensive than as an enrolled member, you are not committed to something that you risk not using every month. Hence, I enrolled for a month until the weather gets warm enough to run outside.

If you are thinking about enrolling in a gym membership, consider many options for information:
  • Talk to friends, family, or co-workers about where they go. What do they think? What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a member at their gym? Sometimes referrals from other members can also get you discounts.
  • Check out online resources like insiderpages.com that provide reviews on local businesses in your area.
  • By all means, take a tour! Take tours of multiple prospective gyms, especially if you are looking to train in a specific area. Do they have the equipment or the services you are looking for? Do not be afraid to ask questions about their gym, this is a big portion of your money that is going to them.
  • Many gyms will offer a trial membership, take advantage! Some are for a week, some a day, but either way it will give you an opportunity to feel what things are like in this environment. Often these trial memberships will be posted on the gym's website or a sign on the in or outside.
  • Beware of clauses in your membership contract. Someone I know enrolled in a gym for a specific group fitness class, which was later canceled after she had enrolled. She was not allowed for a refund or to cancel or transfer her membership.
  • BE SURE this is something that can fit into your monthly budget and will be worth the use! Gym membership is not getting any cheaper these days, so be sure it is worth the money up front.
  • If you are looking to use a single piece of equipment the entire time during your membership, like in my case, a treadmill, consider the advantages of purchasing this item. Generally the use of this item over its lifespan will be paid off much sooner than your gym membership, and you will still have something tangible after all is said and done.

2 comments:

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Viagra said...

That is a great way to to see if the gym membership would be worth it!