Whether your target is to lose that extra 10 pounds that’s amassed around your middle, or you’d like to be more active without wearing out in less than 5 minutes, you may already have taken the plunge to join one of your local gyms.
Well done! You’ve taken the first step to better health. There’s nothing wrong about that. At this point, we all know that exercise is one of the best ways to improve your health. But, a gym membership can be a bigger drain on your bank account than you may realize.
So, the question is, are you paying too much?
Below is the breakdown of your true gym membership cost:
Most gyms have some kind of initial registration fee, so that’s to be expected. The fees usually cover the admin cost of setting up your account and covering any tech that comes with it, like one of the key fob’s that let you sign in automatically and then keeps a record of your workout for you.
What many people don’t realize is that the gym membership themselves are often much higher than the cost of the admin. For most businesses, the purpose of the initial registration fee is:
1. To act as a commission to the salesperson.
2. To reduce the amount during a “promotion” as a way to hook more members.
3. To help boost the overall revenue the gym receives.
None of the reasons are particularly bad. Gyms, after all, are businesses.
Unlike initial registration fees that you only pay once, an annual fee comes up every year.
If you join a gym that has an annual fee, make sure you consider this when crunching your budget to fit in your health club memberships costs.
If you’ve joined a gym that only costs you $10-$15 per month but has an annual fee, be sure to double-check your totals. You may discover that the overall cost of your membership is more than it would be at another gym with a slightly higher monthly rate that doesn’t make you pay an annual fee on top of it.
If you’ve been a member of your gym for a while, make sure you watch for increases in annual fees as well. Over time, you may end up paying much more than you originally intended.
Additional fees for classes versus all-inclusive fees
If one of the reasons you are interested in a health club membership is for the group classes like yoga, spin, pilates, Zumba or more, you’ll want to find out ahead of time if your monthly fee includes them or if they are on an “a la carte” menu.
Maybe that cheaper and smaller gym across the street is all you need. Your ultimate goal should be finding the cheapest gym membership cost that meets your needs.
Start by looking at how many classes you want to take a week. If they cost additional fees per class, add that cost to the monthly fee you’ll be paying.
Once you have a monthly total of everything you are hoping to accomplish, compare them to other gym memberships whose fees include all classes.
You may be surprised to find that your $10/month + classes actually cost more than the $40-$50/month all-inclusive gym down the road.
The other benefit to all-inclusive gyms? When you don’t have to pay extra for classes, you can try something new to see if you like it. If you’re considering learning how to swim, check out if they offer adult swimming lessons?
You could even take multiple classes a week, or even once a day, without your monthly rates changing.
You’ll want to know what else your monthly fee includes. How about a locker? If you need somewhere to stow your stuff while you work out, is that included or is rental extra? Do they provide towels? All these little things can add up each time you use them.
Other things to consider before joining a gym membership
- How much is your budget?
- Check with your human resources if your company offers gym discounts or reimbursement through their employee wellness program.
- Make sure to ask if they can waive the registration fee.
- Gym location is also important.
- Ask if they offer a free workout.
- How many times do you plan on going so you can accurately calculate your cost?
Overall, joining a gym can be a great way to motivate yourself into getting healthier.
For many, knowing their paying for makes them actually do it.
Just make sure you know in advance everything you will want to do each month and then add up the costs and compare. See if you are actually getting the good deal they told you it is.
This way you’ll have a better chance of making your body leaner without making your bank account leaner at the same time.