Smart Shopping for a Gym Membership

But Studio 5 Health and Fitness Contributor is quick to add, it will only do that if you use it.

A few years ago, one of my favorite quotes went something like this: “Spent $496.00 on a gym membership. Haven’t lost a pound… apparently you have to show up” (unknown). It’s a silly quote — but makes a good point: you have to find a gym you’ll actually use. And that’s the gym that fits with your unique financial needs, your time (locative) needs, and that has the services you need to achieve your health and fitness goals.

Here are 3 easy steps to finding the right gym for you:

1. Start with location.

This doesn’t mean you should join the gym closest to you. It means that you start looking to see what services are offered – and for what price – by the gyms closest to you.

2. At each gym location, ask about and take note of:

– Customer service. Does the club have front desk staff? Do they greet you? Offer towels? Seem knowledgeable of hours, class schedules, and other club basics? This is a tricky one… people mistakenly assume they won’t care much about customer service in a health club. But turns out, you are investing valuable time and money in a sometimes unenjoyable service and good customer service can greatly affect whether or not you return, or use the club on a regular basis.

– Cleanliness. A clean club is inviting. It makes you want to spend time there (hey, sometimes it’s nice to get away from the mess at home!) A clean club is also a sign of a club that really cares about it’s members… if they are willing to spend the extra time and money on housekeeping services, they are more willing to do whatever they can to meet your needs.

– Prices. Obviously, price matters. Find the club you want first, and then see if you can afford it. Don’t over-extend yourself… but be realistic about your priorities. Often times people say they can’t spend $30 a month on a club membership, then hit a drive-thru and spend $25 on one junkie family meal — that’s gone within minutes. Remember to ask the club about their cancellation policy. If it’s flexible, or contract-based, but works with your financial needs, then sign up and give the membership a try… and pledge to get your money’s worth!

– Services. This is what leads to your personal results. What are your goals? What activities do you enjoy? Tennis? Racquetball? Aerobics? Swimming? Cardio? Weights? Every good gym should have a solid “weight” room and “cardio” room with a large variety of equipment so you always have lots of workout options. Take a tour of the club and make sure they offer other services that motivate and intrigue you. In fact, if a club offers some cutting-edge workout, training program, or personal training incentive that you’ve never heard of before… that’s a great sign! It means the club is willing to try new things to help you get results. And change is always, always, always good when it comes to exercise.

3. Get a Guest Pass.

Before you join a club, ask them to let you try out the club on a guess pass, for a least one day. Be sure to visit the club at the time you expect to workout so you can see how busy it is at that time. Additionally, remember that we all feel a bit insecure when we try new things, so if you find yourself feeling unsure at first, don’t worry! It’s normal. You are stepping out of your comfort zone and that’s exactly what you need to be doing to stimulate change and get the results you desire. I worked in a club for years before I actually set foot in the “weight” room — and I still felt totally insecure during those first weight-room workouts. But a few uncertain workouts turned into a training program that changed my life… and I believe it can change yours too.

Here are links to some great clubs in Utah:

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