Is Your Gym Working for You?

According to LiveStrong, 40 million Americans have gym memberships (about one eighth of the U.S. population), but only 20 percent use them every week. If you have a membership and can’t remember the last time you got to the gym, you can probably save money by making a change.

Try out new gyms for free.

If your current gym isn’t doing it for you, try asking some of the local gyms if you can do a one-week or one-class free trial before committing to a membership. Competition for new members is so high that most gyms will allow it – they want you to join! If you’re ready to commit or looking for a longer trial period, look for deals on websites like LivingSocial and Groupon. And if you still can’t find a new member discount for the gym you’re interested in, use the basics of bargaining – tell them you’ve heard about online deals at other gyms for the first month free  or waiving the new member fee and see what they can do for you.

Don’t commit just because they have a special.

Just because a gym is offering you an incredible new member rate doesn’t mean it’s necessarily worth it to join long-term. Make sure you test it out before you commit.  Meet the trainers, check out the class schedule, tour the facilities (especially the bathrooms and showers!) and time how long it takes you to get there. Can you make it there in time for the 6PM class you want to take after work? Be sure to ask questions about what membership includes, too. Will you have to pay extra to use a locker? To get water? To park your car? All of these things can affect whether you’ll get your money’s worth, regardless of the size of discount.

What if you like your gym?

If you’re part of the 20 percent of gym members who do get in every week, you can still save money this summer. Talk to your gym about getting a discounted rate this month for being a loyal customer or referring a friend. Again, tell them that you’ve heard about the deals going on at other gyms around town, and you’re thinking about trying one of them out because it would be so much cheaper. You should at least be able to get some free classes out of it!

Think about other ways to stay fit.

If you’re self-disciplined enough to work out on your own, or you know that getting to the gym on a regular basis just isn’t in the cards with your schedule, save money by just skipping the membership. Fitness videos can cost as little as $10, and you can find good quality videos for free online (we like Fitness Magazine) or on iTunes.

Happy exercising! And remember to share the fitness love in the comments if you find a good deal!