Do Some Heavy Lifting, Save On Gym Memberships

Some workout enthusiasts rationalize paying a lot of money for gym memberships by telling themselves that the financial commitment makes them work out more often to get their money’s worth. That’s just crazy talk. If you work at it, you can trim your monthly membership fees along with your waistline.

Yoga.Eat.Run suggests these ways to save:

* Sample the wares before you commit. It doesn’t make sense to commit to a long-term contract if you’re not convinced the gym is right for you. Ask to pay per visit until you’re locked into a routine and ready to sign.

* Prepay. Many gyms treat contracts like loans, determining your monthly fee by taking a principal and adding interest. If you pay off the balance upfront, you’ll cut your costs significantly.

* Wait until summer. Gyms typically offer better deals during slower, sunnier months, in which it’s tougher to draw people inside. Sign up in the middle of the year, rather than the end or the beginning, when everyone’s stumbling over themselves to get back into a workout routine.

How to Save Money on Gym Memberships [Yoga.Eat.Run]

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  1. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    It depends on what kind of workout you want. If you live in a city and aren’t ashamed of looking like a fool, there are probably free outdoor classes you can take. Or, you can pay for classes instead of a whole gym membership. If you’re truly disciplined or you just prefer one type of machine, it’s probably cheaper just to buy the treadmill or elliptical if you have the space for it.

    • Phil Keeps It Real [Consumerist] says:

      HEY! I work out, outdoors & look like da’ bomb…where did you get such ludicrous notions from ?

  2. TheRealDeal says:

    Why is that dude sitting on the other guy’s stomach while he’s lifting weights?

  3. Naked-Gord-Program says:

    I lost so much weight working in a factory. When that ended I put it back on. Perhaps those into weight loss should consider getting a manual labour job like picking fruit.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      Fruit is full of sugar, and as you know, sugar is sugar, your body doesn’t know the difference.

    • RandomHookup says:

      There’s a lot to be said for manual labor. We’ve rewired humans because of all the comforts and labor-saving devices we’ve brought into the workplace and our lives.

    • Yomiko says:

      And picking orders in a warehouse. When our order pickers get promoted to supervisor, they tend to pick up the “supervisor 50″.

      • Rachacha says:

        In college, I used to with at a large bakery working as an order picker as well as on the production line that supplied baked goods to about 60 grocery stores. I would snack on donuts and cookies and other fresh baked goods all day and actually lost weight. I left the job after graduating, stopped most of the snacking and gained 30 pounds the next year. Of course it was 110 all summer long so i was essentially spending my entire summer in a sauna.

  4. Necoras says:

    Alternatively… do some actual heavy lifting. Go repair your fence, or build a garden planter, or trim back your trees. These are all much cheaper than a gym membership, and you improve your home while you’re doing it.

  5. KCDebi says:

    Also, figure in the cost for your Health Savings Account and get a letter from your doctor if you have any condition (and there are a lot) that would benefit from a gym membership. Then you can use pre-tax dollars to pay the membership and save a few bucks there too.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      My employer’s HSA began excluding gym membership reimbursements last year. They also dropped the corporate YMCA discount program.

  6. donjumpsuit says:

    Costco = 24hour fitness = $299 for 2 years

    Say what you want about 24hr fitness, but there is typically multiple locations, new equipment, and free classes. 12.5 bucks a month ain’t bad for someone who used to pay $36.

  7. bhr says:

    $10 a month for Planet Fitness, can’t be beat unless you need all the bells and whistles.

    • Cat says:

      It depends on your local Planet Fitness – they do vary a lot. If you have a good franchise, $10 is a bargain.

    • ash says:

      My parents go to Planet Fitness and the $10 they pay is unbelievable considering the gym facilities they get. Their facility is very nice. Seems to me that PF is only outside major metropolitan areas though–I do not see how PF could survive at $10/mo for a place with higher cost for property

    • dolemite says:

      Our local one looks as good as any modern gym, and it’s only $10 a month. I’m still not sure how they pull it off, because it’s in our local mall, so the rent has to be through the roof.

    • scottydog says:

      But if you grunt while working out they will give you the boot.

    • crazydavythe1st says:

      PF is awesome. I used to go really early in the morning (2-3 am) and the guys never cared about “grunting” or if I wanted to deadlift.

  8. SecretShopper: pours out a lil' liquor for the homies Wasp & Otter says:

    those tips arent that great if you primarily lift weights, or live in a city apartment w/o much space

  9. GeTinThere007 says:

    Gym memberships are not that expensive these days. I’m in NYC and have seen some as low as 30$ monthly. For someone who just want’s the basics, these gyms offer more than enough.

  10. rockelscorcho says:

    push ups, sit ups, go up the stairs, park further away, walk your dog, go for a walk, jumping jacks, Burpees are great, running outside, polymeric lunges, jump rope, stretching, step ups on a side walk with steps, stay after work and go up and down the stairs. All free or cheap.

    • blogger X says:

      You mean the 7-11 kind right? Burpbees are the most intensive excerise you can you with your bodyweight.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Of course, weather can be a real killer for outside exercise unless you are really hardcore (or willing to sustain injuries from falling on ice).

    • Hi_Hello says:

      pull ups…. can’t find a small easy way to do pull up without damaging the door frame.

      although I wouldn’t pay for a gym membership just to do pull ups.

    • larissa_j says:

      Leave the car at home(providing you don’t have a long commute) and take the bus/take your bike and get the exercise walking. Of course this only works in nice weather/moderate weather but it’s amazing what just adding the additional walking will do especially if you live in a city with hills – like Seattle.

      The rest of your ideas are great. I do several of these every day.

  11. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    …Or you could just swing by the ranch here and help load a few thousand bales of hay into the loft.

    Or muck the stalls. Clean out the run-ins. Clear & trim some trails. Tend to the arenas. Mow a few acres of grass. Rake a few acres of leaves. Grade a mile of driveway…and then we’ll probably find some other “exercise” for you to do.

  12. ToddMU03 says:

    I pay $29 a month for a regional franchise here. Half mile from my apartment. Plus I get reimbursed by my place of employment if I go 12 times a month. Pretty good deal.

    As a side note, that woman is absolutely nuts about being in shape and working out. Seems like it might be an unhealthy complex.

  13. Portlandia says:

    Costco offers a 2 year prepay at 24 hour fitness for $300. This comes out to about $12.50 a month. I’ve done this twice now and it’s a great deal. I like even more because it pisses off the membership people at my local 24 hour location. I freaking hate dealing with gyms and refuse to give them access to any of my accounts.

    First time I brought it in they refused to accept it and tried to get me to upgrade to a more expensive membership and then upselling me on personal trainers etc. I called their district manager and complained and they eventually honored the voucher but the sales person got all indignant and said “We don’t make any money off these memberships” I just replied “You’ll understand if I have to do what’s right for me”

    • ChuckECheese says:

      It’s true that the local salespeople make no money, but corporate does. I looked into LA Fitness in Phoenix a few months ago, and felt so dirty interacting with the salespeople. They just can’t stop … selling, or whatever it is they do. I didn’t join.

    • Slatts says:

      Just looked on Costco’s website, it’s $349 now, plus a few restrictions. Otherwise, I was about to do this! Probably got too many complaints from indignant gym salesmen …er, excuse me, “membership consultants” …more like, “pushy meat-heads”

      24 Hour Fitness
      2-YR Adult Membership
      Limit Four Per Person
      Not Valid for Super Sport and Ultra Sport Locations
      $349.99

  14. lilacjive says:

    I save money by doing my own workouts at home! Ha!

    No really, I’m doing Insanity. Saves money and I get a way better workout than I ever would at the gym.

    Of course, then I also went out and bought a new treadmill for my gym for running, so I guess I should call it a wash :o

    • AgostoBehemoth says:

      What he said.

      I bought a few hundred pounds of iron about 25yrs ago. Dumbells, plates, racks – added a nice treadmill & bike over the years.

      The treadmill & bike were bought used – both are top of the line. As for the rest, as long as there’s gravity they’ll work like new.

  15. pythonspam says:

    “Many gyms treat contracts like loans, determining your monthly fee by taking a principal and adding interest.”

    If a gym tried to get me to sign a contract with this, I would tear it up and walk out. Same as if it had Mandatory Binding Arbitration.

  16. HoJu says:

    Best decision I ever made was ditching for-profit gyms and joining the Y. No pressure. The people there are awesome. No contracts. Low price (56 or so for me and as many kids as I want to put on my account). Tons of amenities- pool, tennis, basketball, everything. NO pressure. They have trainers that walk the floor NOT trying to accost you to sign up for a training contract. They’re there if you have a question and talk to you like a normal person. And I can use any Y anywhere.
    I’m the most vain person I know and even I realize that I don’t need to be surrounded by asshole ‘roid ragers carrying gallon jugs of water wearing their spaghetti strap shirts. You guys stay at Golds in your crippling contract so you can jerk each other off in the sauna.

    • bhr says:

      The local Y here is more money than pretty much every local gym.

      • HoJu says:

        Jeez, where is that?? Around here the big gyms charge like $80-90 for an individual. PF, obviously $20, and the Y is in the middle with WAY more than PF offers.

        • Autoexec.bat says:

          My wife and I belong to the Y in Alexandria, VA where a family membership is $120 per month.

          • HoJu says:

            Jeez, it varies WIDELY, doesn’t it?

            • Autoexec.bat says:

              Yes and our Y also reserves the right to make a yearly “assessment” in addition to monthly fees. This is the same type of assessment a condo association would make.

            • bhr says:

              Honestly, I think the Y, as a non profit, ironically gets more expensive with more competition. In areas where the Y has fewer competitors they have more members paying in, allowing them to offer lower rates. In my area (central MD) there are dozens of competitors from colleges to local chains to national chains so the Y needs to charge more to stay in business.

        • bhr says:

          I belong to PF ($10/month, though I had the $20 when I was traveling a lot since you can use other locations). The Y here is 50 with $100 up front. Brick Bodies, a local chain with similar facilities and more locations is $30-50 depending on what you sign up for. Heck, you can join the local CC gym for about the same.

          Now, if you are a family, or have kids, the YMCA might make sense as the deals with kid membership/facilities are significantly cheaper.

          Even then, in my town there is a community association with a health club/tennis club/pool plan that is only like $1k/yr for a family (well worth it when you see all the facilities)

    • pat_trick says:

      In addition, depending on the location of your Y, you can get a discount through a variety of means. The Y will match your income level and give you a membership at a discounted rate. If you have health insurance, the health insurance will give you a discounted rate (what I currently get). You also don’t have to pay extra to attend any of the classes; it’s included in the price of membership.

    • denros says:

      I pay $10 a month for golds here. There’s a sauna, but I’ve never used it, and probably won’t even go near it now.

    • larissa_j says:

      Your comment is why I won’t do gym memberships.

  17. dilbert69 says:

    Or buy two years at 24 Hour Fitness for $320 from Costco.