If you are thinking about availing a gym membership but have never been before, you could easily find out that it is not worth the money that you pay for it. Here a guide on what to look out for before you sign up.
Are gyms worth it?
Gyms can be worth the money if you regularly use them and if you have a strict routine and fitness goal. However, what you expect and what happens when you join one can be very different.
Here are some general misconceptions about signing up to a gym:
- You will go several times a week: Yes, you will have the option, but you need to motivate yourself to go. Each time you skip going to the gym, your motivation drops. Do not become the person who avails a 12-month membership and only goes three times (it actually happens).
- You will go only when it suits you: You will choose a convenient time to go to the gym, like before or after work, but guess what? You would not be the only one with the same idea. Be prepared to line up for equipment or go much earlier or much later to avoid congestion at the gym.
- Buff people and posers will surround you: You may see the Snapchat artist or the odd beefcake, but almost all the people at the gym are the same as you. They desire to get fit, and they are happy to assist you if you need help with heavy weights.
- You will get to make use of the best gym equipment: If brand new equipment and cleanliness is what you want, you will need to pay for it at a higher end gym. But even gyms that have old equipment could be safe enough to help you get fit.
- You will attend fitness classes: Most classes get oversubscribed, especially for classes that require lots of room, like circuit training or yoga. If you can comfortably exercise in a small space, this would not be a problem for you.
Tips and tricks
You could save yourself from a lot of trouble by trying one of these first:
- Pay only for individual sessions: You do not need a contract, and although it will cost you more over time compared to a 12-month membership, if you stop going to the gym you could save a ton of money.
- Look for a 24-hour gym: These gyms let you work out whenever you want. A lot of people go to the gym before or after work, so if you would want a quieter gym experience try going beyond these hours.
- Make use of a no-contract gym: These will usually cost more monthly compared to a 12-month membership. However, you do not need to sign a contract which means that you can stop paying for it if you stop going to the gym. This is a good way to try a gym before committing long term.
- Look for free inductions: Most gyms grant a free induction to show new members how to use their equipment. If it is possible, ask for your induction to be at a time that is convenient for you to go, so you get a to experience how busy it will be if you sign up.
- Completely replace the gym: This will depend on what you use the gym for, but you could substitute most activities with a version that is free. For example, you could go running at any time, and almost anywhere for free, rather than making use of a treadmill.
If you value time over your fitness, then gyms that are too busy will be a nightmare for you. You could always make use some of these alternatives instead:
- Fitness apps: The app store of your mobile offers a lot of fitness apps, from workout apps, that require no weights, to running apps. Most of these offer a free version, so give a few a go and see what you think.
- Start a slimmers club: Make the most of your work setting and initiate a slimming club with your workmates. You can help support each other to stick to specific diets, which could actually mean that you do not need to go to the gym at all.
- Start a running club: You could set up a run around your working hours, with parks and roads offering enough space so you can stretch your legs. It will not only cost you hardly anything, but you will also get to know some of your co-workers better at the same time.
- Create your own gym: Yes, this will cost you a lot of money, but you could begin small and buy a set of dumbbells and start from there. There are usually deals on home gym equipment, so look around and get yourself a bargain.