It’s dead easy for gyms to be packed with new members on January, when everyone has resolved to lose some holiday bulge. By the time summer comes, only six percent of the new members show up. Of course, the gyms don’t tell you that. They hide secrets that can hurt your pockets and your health if you’re not aware of them.
It can’t Save your Life
You’re not likely to get sudden cardiac arrest while working out. But in the rare case you do, what happens next can spell the difference between life and death. If there’s an AED (automated external defibrillator) in the gym, your chance of survival is very high. But most gyms don’t have AED. And not all gyms with AEDs come with staffs who know how to use them. Check if the gym has AED and if the staff is trained with AED and CPR certification.
Monthly Contracts are Expensive
Gym rats get their money’s worth from monthly contracts. But if you drop by only once or twice a week at the most, don’t sign the contract first. Gym goers with monthly fees pay seventy percent more than those who pay per visit. Paying a drop-in rate is cheaper and saves you $150 over a period of six months.
Some Trainers Suck
Just because a trainer has toned muscles, six-pack abs, and a staff shirt doesn’t mean he’s the best one in the gym. There are so many ways of getting a personal trainer certification — home courses, open-book tests, or classes. Before spending extra money on a personal trainer, ask the gym what its personal criteria is for hiring trainers. Also, check how a particular trainer deals with clients. Don’t get a trainer who won’t ask about your fitness level, past and present injuries, and other medically relevant information. Good trainers won’t force you to do something beyond your capabilities.
They’ll do what it Takes to keep you
Summer is not just the best time to join the gym. It’s also the best time to get more perks out of a membership. The gym’s sales teams have monthly quotas to meet, and they need to keep cancellations down. They’d rather give you extra perks than lose you to competitors. Give them the cheaper rates of other clubs. Then check if they’ll give you these discounted rates. Or ask them what freebies they offer to new members and ask for the same — a few personal training sessions, a free month, or extra guess passes.
They may Charge you After your Membership Expires
It’s not just some sleazy voip providers that won’t let you go once you want to terminate your contract with them. Often the biggest complaints of consumers against gyms are related to billing. For example, if you move elsewhere, some gyms let you go only if you can give a good reason you can’t transfer to a gym branch in your new area. Others allow you to cancel only by mail or in person.
Electronic contracts worsen the situation. It’s always good to have a paper contract that clearly states the gym’s cancellation policy and billing, the length of time your membership is locked in, and membership renewal. Some states allow you up to a few days to review and cancel contracts that don’t feel right to you.