With so many of us focusing on getting healthier in 2017, it’s no wonder that the average annual number of gym members in the United States hovers around 58,000,000.
What is startling, though, is the number of individuals who abandon their fitness focus in just a few short weeks. Around 12 percent of gym members start in January and quit in 24 weeks or less.
It’s easy to assume that people who stop attending the gym are giving up on their health journeys, but that is not always the case. The sheer cost of a gym membership may bear some of the blame for this mass exodus.
The average cost of a gym membership is around $58 per month. This amount does not include any perks, such as personal training or after-hours access, and many members are hit with additional fees as well.
Because finding the best price for a gym membership isn’t always easy, it’s important to do your research before signing a contract. If you are curious about how you might save money, check out our 10 tips for getting a cheaper gym membership, and check out this table outlining fees, start up costs, and extra benefits from some of the most accessible gyms around.
10 Tips on Getting a Cheaper Gym Membership
#1 – Go for a Trial Run
One surefire way to save money on a gym membership is to sign up for a trial membership. These memberships last anywhere from one week to one month, depending on the gym, and they allow you an opportunity to try out the equipment, meet the staff, and get in a groove before you sign a contract.
If you aren’t sure what gyms to approach for a trial run, visit gymticket.com to find gyms in your area that offer this option.
#2 – Be Ready to Negotiate
It may make you a bit uncomfortable, but you always have the option of negotiating your monthly membership costs at any gym. The catch is that no one who works at a gym is going to tell you this.
Your best bet for negotiating a membership cost is to make sure every gym knows that they have some competition. Don’t be shy about letting them know you always have other options. If that doesn’t work, be willing to walk away without joining. In a few days, you may get a call offering you a better deal.
#3 – Join at the End of the Month
It’s shocking to know that to make a profit, many gyms need far more members to join than can actually fit in their facility. But gyms know this will work because around 67 percent of members don’t actually attend the gym they’ve joined.
By the end of each month, gyms are often looking to meet their quotas of new members and are thus more willing to offer discounts or incentives.
#4 – Check with Your Health Insurance
Some health insurance providers offer incentives for gym members.
For example, Blue Cross Blue Shield covers up to 60 percent of gym memberships, depending on the type of gym you join.
Additionally, some United Healthcare members are reimbursed $240 for belonging to a listed fitness center.
It’s always wise to check with your healthcare company to see if they will help you out with the cost of a gym membership.
#5 – Forgo the Extras
Many gym memberships are offered in packages. These packages highlight all of the things you can do and use for “free.” But we all know that not everyone uses everything available at the gym.
Ask if you can forgo some of these extra amenities for a lower monthly bill. For example, if your gym has a pool or a yoga studio you know you will not use, ask if you can give up your right to these spaces and have the opportunity to pay less.
#6 – Ask about Off-Peak Discounts
Because a majority of people go to the gym around the same time, gyms become overcrowded and look for ways to encourage members to come at off-peak times.
One of the ways they do this is by offering lower monthly rates to members who come at certain times, on certain days, or a certain number of times a week. While this information is not highly publicized, it never hurts to ask a manager if this discount could apply to you.
#7 – Check if Your Employer Offers Discounts
The company you work for may also help you out when it comes to gym fees.
Many companies offer health and wellness incentives, including a discount on gym memberships or reimbursement for them. Additionally, many gyms will offer lower rates to groups. If your employer is part of a group health plan at a local gym, you may be able to join and save money.
#8 – Check out the AHFA Passbook (if You Live in a Big City)
The American Health and Fitness Alliance (AHFA) offers a book for $85. This book includes vouchers for access to specific gyms and studios.
If you live in New York, Los Angeles, Houston, or Chicago, check out this passbook to see if you would like to visit any of the local gyms it includes. If so, consider purchasing the book to save on a membership to multiple locations.
#9 – Get a ClassPass for Studios
ClassPass is a company that offers the opportunity for you to join multiple gyms and fitness centers for one cost.
Memberships for the ClassPass start at $79 a month and give you access to several different types of fitness classes and studios. You can check to see if ClassPass exists in your area and if you’d be interested in visiting any of the locations it includes.
#10 – Consider Community Recreation Centers
Many communities have recreation centers that they use for neighborhood events, parties, and gatherings throughout the year. Some of these community centers also have fitness classes that meet at certain times on certain days.
Do some research to see if a community recreation center exists in your area. If it does, check if it offers any fitness classes. Even if no classes are currently offered, you could gain enough interest by talking to people in your community about starting some for free.