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How to save money on gyms

Posted 29 September 2016

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Here’s how to do the gym, without breaking the bank.

If you’re looking to get or stay fit, you might think that joining a gym is the answer. But before you go ahead and sign up for the nearest one, it’s important to do some research. 

Finding the right gym for the right price can be a tricky business, and you definitely need to give it careful thought before you sign on the dotted line. You don’t want to end up tied into something that proves to be too expensive or that simply isn’t meeting your needs. 

In today’s blog, we’re going to explain how to avoid pricey contracts and make sure you get your money’s worth when it comes to the gym. 

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Sign up for a few free trials

Most gyms offer free trials. It’s a good idea to try before you buy to make sure you like the place, facilities and staff. Why not make sure you get your fair share when it comes to free trials and a few with the gyms in your area. This way you’ll get quite a long period of free workout time as well as make sure that you choose the very best gym for your needs. 


Make a deal at the right time

As with so many things in life, timing is important when it comes to signing up to a new gym. There are certain times of year when it’s likely to be cheaper than others because gyms are trying to meet their targets. 

Try joining just before the end of the month or just before the end of the year, if possible. They might be tempted to reduce your membership cost because they want hit their monthly or annual target. And don’t forget that you can haggle a little and try to get an even better price. 


Pay as you go rather than contract

Don’t forget that there are some gyms that don’t require you to sign a contract at all. Instead you pay month-to-month, with no obligation to keep coming back for the whole year. Even though you might start your gym membership with the best of intentions, you might find you lose your enthusiasm for the gym as time goes on, or that you simply don’t have as much time to devote to working out as you originally thought. 

What you don’t want to do is end up stuck in a long, expensive contract when you’re not even using the facilities you’re paying for. 

 Go for a smaller gym or one without a pool

Sometimes the price you’re quoted when you ask about membership takes into account the running costs of the gym as a whole. If you're enquiring at a huge gym with loads of equipment to run and a swimming pool to maintain, you’re going to get a higher price because they have to think about their overheads. And if you’re not going to actually use all those facilities, there really isn’t any point in paying that price, no matter how fancy the gym looks. 

Have a look a smaller local gyms and ones without pools to see whether you can get a more affordable price. 


Workout at home

Keeping active is really important for our mental and physical health. According to the NHS, if you’re an adult between the ages of 19-64, you need to do some aerobic and strength exercises each week to stay healthy. 

But don’t be fooled by your friends’ Instagram and Facebook feeds – going to the gym is not the only way to workout. You can get in great shape and not spend any money at all. Here are a few ideas to get you working out for free:


• Go for a walk/jog/run in your area.

• Use Youtube more. Honestly, when it comes to working out at home, Youtube is the way to go. You can find so many free classes on here that can show you yoga, pilates and even different dance styles if that's how you prefer to workout. 

• Use free facilities. Your council probably has more free facilities than you think. See if there are any tennis courts or football fields you can use for free. 


It's also a good idea to see if you can get a friend to work out with you. When it comes to getting fit without the gym membership, a workout buddy can really help you maintain your motivation. 



Don’t commit to a contract you won’t use

For some people, cancelling a gym contract can be a difficult and long-winded process. Signing a yearly contract can sometimes workout fine, if you know that you’re going to use that specific gym a lot. But a change in circumstances, like getting a new job might mean you can’t make it to a particular gym anymore. 

Contracts will normally allow you a cooling off period, which is a period of time within which you can cancel and it’ll be as if you never had the contract at all. But after the cooling off period, some contracts don’t allow you cancel unless the year is up or for very specific reasons, for instance if you fall ill or become unemployed. Always make sure you check the fine-print carefully, and understand how you can go about cancelling if you need to. 


So there you have it! Working out made easy. And once you’ve had enough exercise, you might want to look into how to relax for free. 


by Christine Walsh

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