5 steps to take when considering joining a gym

It’s January and you might have already muttered those infamous words – ‘New year, new me!’

After an indulgent few weeks of food and drink, for many it’s time to get stuck into a new fitness routine. And with gyms and fitness fads popping up all over the place it can be difficult to know which one’s right for you.

To help, we’ve put together 5 steps we recommend you consider…

1. Decide what you can comfortably afford & what payment method is best

There are a lot of different types of gyms around now and they can vary massively in cost. If you’re after one with a pool and sauna, you could be looking at around £80 a month1, which equates to £960 a year. Many will ask you to sign up for a 12 month membership too, so you need to consider whether you’re going to get your money’s worth. After all, imagine shelling out £960 to just use the gym six times?!

Have a look at the different gyms in your area and get some costs. Then you can have a good look at all your current outgoings and see what you can afford to pay.

If you’re confident you’re going to use the gym, you may be able to reduce your monthly payments if you sign up to a longer membership term. But, if you’re not sure you can commit to going regularly, see if there are any gyms nearby with a pay-as-you-go option. If you’re new to the gym, this is also a good way for you to try it out before committing to a monthly outgoing.

Consider somewhere more no-frills too if you’re looking to cut costs. You might not get the fluffy towels and swimming pool, but you could have a large gym and access to fitness classes for around £20 a month from one of the discount gyms that are around. You might even want to have a look at what council run facilities there are in your area, as this can be a cheaper option.

2. See what offers or discounts they have

At this time of the year, many gyms will have offers/discounts available to entice new members in, so it’s worth asking when you’re looking around. It’s a competitive market out there, meaning you might be able to avoid paying any joining fees or get some perks if you’re able to recommend a friend or family member.

Have a look to see if you can get any discounts through work too, as many employers partner up with gyms to offer discounts on subscriptions.

3. Try before you buy

Once you’ve found a couple of places that seem to suit cost wise, it’s always worth seeing if you can try them out. This is especially important if you are considering a 12 month subscription, as you want to make sure you like it before signing up.

Most gyms will let you have a free trial, so it’s definitely worth asking.

4. Check their policy on pausing or cancelling the subscription

This is a really important one as policies can vary across different gyms. Subscriptions can be easy to sign up for, but harder to get out of.

The contract should detail how much it would cost if you do wish to cancel early and if there are any circumstances in which you can avoid these costs, for example if there’s a change in circumstances like losing your job, which means you can no longer afford the monthly payments.

If you are needing to cancel, you’ll have to give notice, and the Citizens Advice Bureau advise that you do this in writing and keep a copy of the letter.

If anything’s unclear in the cancellation policy, always check before you sign.

5. Thoroughly read all their terms and conditions

It can seem like a lengthy task but it’s a good idea to read through all the terms and conditions before signing up for a gym. Check exactly what you’re paying for and how long you’re agreeing to pay for, so you’re clear about exactly what you’ll be getting for your subscription fee.

Again, if anything’s unclear, always check with the gym before signing on the dotted line.

We hope that you find these steps helpful in your quest for a gym this New Year.  Remember to not over stretch yourself financially and find somewhere that you can comfortably afford.

1 This is an estimated cost, based on Noddle’s research into current subscriptions available