Ready to join a gym? READ THIS FIRST. It will save you a lot of money, time and hassle.
First of all, congratulations on making up your mind to get healthier and stronger! Kudos for admitting that you can’t do it on your own, and need motivation and guidance from the experts.
Grab your wallet and let’s visit a gym!
A gym (or an athletic corporation, more aptly put) is first and foremost, a business. Yes, they have all the nice equipment and trainers to help get you in shape. Some have a steam room, dry sauna or pool. Very inviting, but don’t be fooled. As soon as you walk in, their main focus is getting you to sign a contract (or two). After that, they don’t actually care if you ever visit them again. In fact, it’s better for them if you don’t. Less wear and tear on the machines, less cleanup and less liability.
The gym employees may be friendly and caring
The personal trainers may be very encouraging. But those with whom you entered a business agreement are not your friends. As soon as you sign, your personal relationship with the corporation is over and it’s strictly business. And once you sign, it is nearly impossible to get out. It doesn’t matter if you signed with the “Manager”. Managers are often just glorified salespeople with very little ability to actually affect the terms of your contract once it’s been signed.
Joining a gym is easy. $30 a month, $9.95 a month, $75 a month … there’s a gym for every budget. But would you make a $400 – $4000 purchase without doing the research? Didn’t think so.
Here’s a little insight into some gym tricks, fees and tactics:
- THE ENROLLMENT FEE: I called a local athletic club and asked about their rates. They quoted me $19.95 a month, PLUS a one hundred dollar enrollment fee. When I told them that $100 was too much, the salesperson immediately reduced it to $50. I hung up. Enrollment fees are corporate bunk … an empty charge that most gyms will waive it if you JUST SAY NO. If they say they won’t, just wait it out. They will eventually back down.
- THE MAINTENANCE FEE: An little hidden charge which basically makes the member also responsible for the upkeep of the gym. In my opinion, if I don’t own the gym, I shouldn’t have to pay for the equipment maintenance. Sales people won’t mention the maintenance fee until just before you sign, when you’re raring to go. So be sure to ASK UP FRONT and JUST SAY NO.
- THE “FREE” CLASSES/CHILDCARE: There is a gym on town that advertises $19.95 a month, and sometimes has a $9.95 special. What they DON’T tell you is that those rates don’t include child care or ANY of the free classes they have to offer. Again, ASK UP FRONT and if they try and raise your “tier” level based on the benefits you wish to use, JUST SAY NO. It is false to advertise “Free Childcare” and classes as gym features, then run a special that doesn’t include access to those features.Vicki Morgan A.C.E. is a Strength & Conditioning Coach at Flex Gym. She also has a certification in Post Orthopedic Recovery. Reach her at victoryfitnessteam.com or 719-237-9020. No texts. Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise or nutrition program. If you experience pain or difficulty, stop and consult your healthcare provider. This article is not meant to take the place of any treatment your physician has deemed necessary.