How to save money on a gym membership
January is the month for resolutions, and getting in better shape is high on many revellers’ lists after the holidays.
If you’re looking to join a gym, here are some tips on how to break a sweat without breaking the bank:
• Find the right fit: Before you rush to sign up for a gym membership, consider what you’re looking for in a workout. Are you a cardio fiend? Do you prefer to be indoors or outdoors? Do you mind being around other people?
The biggest way to waste money on a gym membership is to not use it, so make sure you’re choosing the best workout option for you before signing up.
Some fitness studios offer free trials, which are a great way to test out a facility – just expect a sales pitch to follow shortly after.
• Membership matters: Just as important as knowing the type of workout you want to do is having a sense of how often you plan to go. Many gyms offer an array of options, such as single drop-ins, monthly passes, 10-pack punch cards and annual memberships — just pick the best option for your lifestyle to save big.
• Talk ‘em down: It may seem like behaviour best left to markets or garage sales, but don’t be afraid to negotiate a gym membership. Ask about January deals (most gyms have them), new member promotions, senior and student discounts, as well as a family membership rate if that applies. Or just straight out ask for a discount – you may be pleasantly surprised.
Once you become a gym member, keep checking in for new promotions you may be eligible for. And don’t be afraid to ask for a loyalty discount if you’re currently a gym member — bigger gyms often have a retention service that wants to keep your business.
• Think local: There are many different tips of gyms with various perks and styles, but my favourite (and the most economical) are fitness centres at universities and community centres. These tend to be less expensive, offer numerous facilities across the city, and are a great way to meet people in your neighbourhood. The City of Toronto, for example, operates more than 40 different gyms and has three types of memberships ranging from $243.50 to $643 a year, making this a great option.
• Check your benefits: Many organizations offer incentives for employees to get active. This can range from a health savings account with money to spend on exercise and health-related activities to an office gym to fitness studio discounts — so make sure you check all your options.
• Stay close to home: If by this point of the article you feel like a gym membership might not be best for you, consider creating your own fitness plan. Rent yoga and Pilates videos from your library and exercise at home, join a free running club for beginners, try rock climbing for the first time – January is the time to try new things and get active.
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