Learn about the different type of gym memberships available
Gym memberships, health club memberships, athletic club memberships, call it what you will – signing up with any fitness center means you're taking a step toward improving your fitness and staying healthy. Many people find joining a gym to be a great motivator in losing weight because you're surrounded by people who are looking to do the same thing. The group setting adds a social element that you won't get from a home gym that can go a long way to keeping you on track.
What to Look for in a Gym Membership
Aside from access to a huge variety of fitness machines and equipment, gym memberships also typically include entry into fitness classes. From aerobics class to water exercise, these group fitness programs are a great way to keep you motivated at the gym. You may also find your gym offers nutritional classes or free measurement tracking as part of their membership program.
Depending on your level of membership, you may also have access to "luxury" features at your gym, such as:
- Towel service
- Sauna and whirlpool access
- Massage therapy
- Child care
Often, these features come at a cost that can send your membership rate up pretty high, but you may find that the convenience and the extra pampering are worth the price.
Canceling Gym Memberships
Let's face it – even if you've bought the sneakers and signed your name on the gym contract line, there is still a chance things won't work out between you and your gym. It could be you find it difficult to find the time, the location is too far out of your way, you're moving or you're simply displeased with the service. Whatever the reason, there may come a time when you need to cancel your athletic club membership.
The key to successfully ending your gym relationship is to read the contract before you sign. Most gyms require you to sign up for a year, and if you want to cancel your membership before then, you have to pay, at worst, the remaining balance and, at best, a penalty fee.
If you're really worried about making a year-long commitment, talk to employees from a variety of facilities to see who can accommodate you on a month-to-month basis. If you're leery of signing up because you think you might be moving in the near future, look into chain gyms that offer travel memberships – meaning your local gym membership is actually good at any of the chain's locations in different cities.
If you really decide it's time to pack it in and part ways with your gym, remember you don't have to completely forgo your workout regime. Take the money you would have spent on a membership over time and invest it in a few pieces of fitness equipment. Home gyms are often a great alternative to gym memberships.