Every January, the phones ring off the hook in almost every gym and fitness studio in the country. What are your rates? What are your New Year’s specials? What kind of “deal” are you offering. This may go against your instincts as someone trying to be prudent with your money, but you would be better served to run away from any facility offering any of those.
Why should you not look for the best “deal”? First, your health and fitness are much too important to make a choice on the sole basis of cost. Let me provide an example. Let’s say you are not currently healthy, you want to make positive changes, but really don’t know what to do, where to start, how to stay safe, what to eat, etc. There is a gym close by that has a special for $15 per month. There is another one that is $30 per month. The $15 facility has staff with little or no experience in training and fitness, while the second facility has a team of seasoned, professional instructors who have a passion to help you accomplish your goals. They also provide seminars for proper technique, nutritional guidance, etc., while the first facility does none of the above. For something as important as your health, doesn’t the higher cost option seem to be the more prudent one?
Secondly, does offering a “deal” to new members that is a lower cost than your existing members may be paying show a company that values its customers? Imagine how you would feel if you had been a loyal member of a gym for quite a while and saw them reaching out to prospective new members with an offer that was a fraction of what you pay. How would you feel?
Another consideration is that many of these “deals” are short term in duration, designed to lead you into becoming a full price member in the near term, so the “deal” doesn’t last long. Beware of the 21 Day Fat Loss specials and the like.
Why do gyms have January specials? Quite simply, money. Let’s say a gym signs up 100 new members in January to one-year contracts. If 80% of them stop coming by March, which is an industry average, then that gym then has a revenue stream of 80 members paying a monthly membership while costing zero in overhead. Members that pay and don’t come are the most profitable segment for a fitness facility. Gyms like Planet Fitness may have as few as 10% of their paying members that check in even once in a particular month. That makes the low monthly rate that they charge 100% profit to them but doesn’t serve the mission of helping people lead healthier lives. There are quite a few other national franchises that have the same philosophy.
Compare those to a facility that has a qualified, professional staff, experienced team members with a solid track record of helping their members reach their goals, current members that will attest to that, and ownership/management team that believes in those same principles, and you may have found your ideal fitness home, even if the tab may be a bit higher. In the right facility, the team there takes your success personally, and will put in the extra effort to help you reach your goals. If you realize those fitness goals and find yourself leading a healthier, happier life, that small difference in money will look like a very wise investment. A gym focused on helping you succeed will be your partner. Planet Fitness has sugary Tootsie Rolls at their front desk, and once each month provides unhealthy pizza and bagels for its members. A facility concerned about your health would never do that, while one only concerned about your money sure would.
Keep on mind that there is a reason that the most expensive trainers may have a waiting list for new clients while the least expensive are constantly searching for new clients. At the end of the day, you are pursuing results. Spending a bit extra and accomplishing your goals is a much more prudent return than spending less and falling short, getting hurt or not even continuing.