10 things to consider when choosing a health club

There are so many factors to consider when trying to choose a health club, including price, location, equipment, and amenities. We'll teach you the 10 things you should consider before committing to a membership.

10 things to consider when choosing a health club

Consider the following

  1. Health clubs can always waive the "enrollment fee." This fee is just a way for them to get more money out of you. If you don't want to pay it, just tell the sales rep that you're going to join somewhere else. You're pretty much guaranteed to have the fee waived.
  2. Make sure that you can cancel at any time. You may even need to write on your contract that "per [salesperson's name], I can cancel this membership at any time with no fees." Have the salesperson sign and date it. Even better, have the manager sign and date it in case there's turnover and your salesperson no longer works there.
  3. Find out when the gym is busiest, and make sure that that time works with your preferences. For instance, if you prefer to work out during a quiet time but the only time you can get to the gym is after work when the machines are mobbed, this might not be the best gym for you.
  4. Ask for a one-week trial and bring a friend. Your friend might be able to spot problems that you didn't see.
  5. Insist on a free personal training session if you join. If they already provide one, ask for two.
  6. Ask how often the equipment is serviced and cleaned. Cleaning should be done daily and equipment should be serviced at least once a month.
  7. When you get a tour of the facility, check for torn benches, antiquated-looking cardio equipment, and inspect the cleanliness of the locker area.
  8. If the sales rep is wooing you with visions of Pilates and yoga classes, ask about additional fees. Many clubs make you pay more to participate in classes.
  9. Fitness clubs oversell memberships in the hope that people won't go. If just 20 percent of the members showed up at one time, most clubs would not have enough space or equipment to support them. Find out when the busiest times are and show up then to see if the place is too crowded for your taste.
  10. Personal trainers at gyms make a small hourly rate and earn most of their income through commission.  Beware of trainers who hound you to sign up for sessions, as they're most likely under pressure to meet a sales goal. Instead, get a sense of the trainer's genuine passion for fitness. If he or she doesn't pressure you, that's a good sign.

The point of joining a health club is to improve your health and reduce stress. Don't let the process of choosing a club be stressful in itself. Use these tips to make an informed decision and choose a club where you'll feel excited and encouraged to achieve your fitness goals.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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