You’ve decided you want (or need) to get work out more and get fit. You’re thinking about joining a health club, but you’ve heard too many stories about people who sign up, go one or two times, and never go back. You’re not really sure which type of club to join: a low-cost chain, a more expensive, exclusive fitness center, or a club that caters to only women or men.
Buying and maintaining a health club membership can be pretty complicated, but if you follow these 10 tips, you’ll save money and be on your way to greater fitness.
1. Make a list of your specific fitness needs and wants. Will you be comfortable working out in a large club with both men and women? Will you need access to more than one club? Are you looking for one-on-one personal training services? How often do you think you’ll work out each month? Do you think you’ll be able to keep up your fitness regimen? How much can you afford to pay for a membership each month?
2. Once you’ve identified your requirements, visit health clubs that meet your needs. Get a free pass for each club (at least a one week’s pass) and workout at each club as often as possible during the free periods.
3. Don’t sign up for a membership at any of the health clubs while you’re using free passes. You’ll be under a lot of pressure from salespeople and managers, and they will tell you that you need to sign up today in order to get discount pricing. Don’t. Health clubs offer discount pricing all the time.
4. When you’ve decided a health club, go back and speak with a salesperson about membership choices. Don’t feel pressured to sign a long-term contract at any health club. Remember that long-term contracts are really installment loans with high-interest payments. If you don’t think that you’re going to keep up your workouts, don’t even think about signing one of these contracts. Gather all of the written information about each type of membership, then go home and review it at your leisure. Don’t feel pressured to sign up for any membership at the club.
5. When you’re speaking with the salesperson, ask all of the questions you want. Don’t feel rushed or pressured. Never forget that any contract you sign supersedes any promises a salesperson gives you. Even if the salesperson writes it into the contract, it probably isn’t legally enforceable. The contract is king. Read it carefully before signing.
6. Compare the costs of each membership type, and remember that you should make the ultimate decision based on your own needs, not on short-term discounts that may sound like you’re saving money, but will end up costing you more money in the end.
7. Make sure you fully understand the cancellation requirements of each membership type. Many long-term health club contracts are almost impossible to cancel. A month-to-month contract may be a better solution.
8. Don’t sign up for automatic payments via credit card. If you no longer want a membership, and you’re able to cancel, you may find it difficult to get payments stopped.
9. Keep track of all your payments in case there are any disputes with your health club.
10. If you do cancel your membership, make sure you get the cancellation in writing from your health club.
By following these 10 tips, you will certainly set yourself up for fitness success.