Thinking of taking up a gym membership?
Gone are the days when your city only had a few gyms and fitness centres. Nowadays, there seems to be one popping up around the corner every other week – and that’s something good actually, for the fitness industry as well as society as a whole.
More people in the gyms and health clubs mean more healthy and fit people ready to contribute positively and eagerly in building up a healthy society.
However, it’s not that simple either; there’s more to the story. According to the results of a survey published in The Daily Mail:
Although 23 per cent of Britons are gym members, only 12 per cent go often, and as many as 22 per cent of UK citizens avoid the gym as they feel intimidated.
And, with average gym membership cost soaring to about £35 per month in UK, it is quite imperative to figure out which gym membership can be the most beneficial for you. That’s why we have come up with a list of 10 questions to help you pick up the right kind of gym membership.
1) What are your personal fitness goals?
This is where your fitness journey should start from. You should have a clear mind about what you want from your workout and what are the exercises that can help you the most in actualising your fitness goals. Do you feel happy treading or jogging? Do you want to buff up? Inclined more to cardio? Want to enhance your strength and flexibility? Does yoga resonate more with your tendencies? You cannot expect to get the optimal results of your efforts without pinpointing your area of interest. For instance, if you are interested more in yoga, it’s better to join a yoga class rather than a training gym.
2) Do they have a sign-up fee?
First things first, sign-up fees! There can a host of factors determining this, ranging from the sales team’s targets to the time of the year you want to join in, but you shouldn’t hold back if asking a simple question may lead to a total or partial fee waiver. It’s not always that easy though, so be prepared to negotiate as well, because it will be worth it in the end. Why not use that saved up money to buy your favourite fitness apparel instead?
3) Is trying before buying an option?
Of course, trying before buying can be the wisest thing to do, especially if you’re thinking about getting into a twelve-month contract with a fitness centre. Talking of wisdom, you should also visit the gym at its peak-hours and factor in the time to reach the facility from your home (or workplace, if that’s the case). Remember, 80% of gym members not utilizing their memberships………. you don’t wanna end up on the other side of the stats rather than being another healthy and fit individual, do you?
4) Are there any discount offers that you can avail?
Again, you must ask about this. Better get aware of any discounts being offered on different things, such as joining fees, gym apparel, fee waivers for introducing a friend, family memberships, any type of corporate deals or even off-peak memberships. With the competition in fitness industry spiking like never before, chances are that most gyms would not only be interested in attracting you in the first place, but would also try to retain your business even if it takes offering certain rebates and deals.
5) What’s the gym’s membership cancelling/pausing policy?
A paused/cancelled membership – definitely one of the basic issues you need to sort out before signing up with a health and fitness club. What makes it even more important is the fact that different gyms have different cancelation/pausing policies, so you should have a clear understanding of what you’re stepping into. There’s no point getting charged with a hefty amount for cancelling your gym membership. The good news is that many larger chains offer flexible memberships nowadays for those looking to get into low-commitment working out routines. It’s always better to communicate with the authorities beforehand, especially when it’s going to help you save some of your hard-earned money.
6) Is the gym well equipped to cater to your specific health and fitness goals?
You cannot know about this with certainty unless you are clear about your own health and fitness goals (revisit 1st point). Everyone stepping into the gym cannot have the same objective. You may be interested in burning those extra calories and getting rid of love-handles while the guy standing next to you might be interested in bulking up. That’s why you should assess if a gym is equipped well enough to serve your particular needs. For instance, if you’re more into stair-climbing while your prospective gym only has elliptical machines, you may have a second thought about joining it. Or, if you are too serious about resistance training, but the gym you are exploring is packed more with different machines than dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells; you should reconsider your options. Compromising on anything capable of potentially affecting the quality and efficacy of your workout is certainly not the way to go.
7) Are the popular machines/workstations queued during peak-hours?
Yes, gyms do have peak-hours, if you didn’t know about that yet. Try to visit a gym during its rush-hours if you want to get a feel of how crowded and queued it can get over there. With hardly an hour at your disposal for working out, waiting for 10 – 15 minutes in a queue to finally step onto a treadmill or adjustable weight bench is by no means going to suit you. Make sure you get a membership at a place most compatible with your preferred training time.
8) Is this an “All-Inclusive Membership”?
This should also be a part of your fact-finding checklist. You won’t be happy to sign in on a long-term membership only to find out that it doesn’t cover aerobics, or let’s say, Pilates. You need to clearly raise this question with the gym administration beforehand, because most of the gyms don’t include some classes in off-peak (or otherwise rebated) memberships.
9) What about the class timetable?
This is relevant only if you want to join a gym for a particular class. Quite often, class timetables change in gyms depending upon various factors like the number of people in a class, time of the year you want to join in, availability of an instructor and so forth. You don’t know about how things go on in a gym, but the gym administration certainly does. So, don’t hesitate in inquiring them about this, because you won’t be happy paying for a class you are unable to attend down the line.
10) What are the gym’s weekend and bank-holiday timings?
Last but not least, opening and closing hours of the gym for weekends and bank holidays. If you want to schedule your weekend workouts early in the morning, choosing a gym that starts 10am on Sunday mornings would be pointless. Until you find the one that’s best suited to your timetable, it’s better you resort to home gym equipment than sitting idle altogether.
So, here you are with a simple but essential checklist that can help you make the most out of your gym membership. Follow it and thank us later, but don’t forget to share with us your personal experience securing a great membership to pursue your fitness goals.