When I first started working as a trainer at one of the major clubs in New York City, my goal was to learn as much about the fitness club world as possible, not simply the personal training and group fitness side but every aspect of the operations of a fitness club. One day, when I was a very wet-behind-the-ears personal trainer, I stopped to talk with the general manager, who was standing at the front desk running reports.
Gyms Hope You Sign Up but Never Show Up
t’s absolutely true. Most gyms are actually selling you a membership, asking you to come and join the club, welcoming you with open arms and big smiles, you to come and join the club, welcoming you with open arms and big smiles, yet they really don’t ever want to ever see you again. You would be shocked to find out how many total members there are in your gym. There are hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people at every fitness club who literally join, go a handful of times, then never step through the doors again. Ever. A huge percentage continue to have their credit cards billed month after month, often year after year.
Gym owners love those members.
Of the fraction who do use the gym, there exists an even smaller fraction who are referred to by management as heavy users. You know who these people are. You may even be one of them. The so-called hard-core members. They are the ones who do use the gym four, five, six days a week. Sometimes twice a day. They are getting the most for their money. If you are already one of those people, great. This book will help you take your workout to an even higher level.
Chances are, however, if you are reading this book, you are not one of these regular users. You are sporadic. You are like the majority of gym members: after New Year’s, just before summer, those are the times you go to the gym. Then, inevitably, you fall off. Days, weeks, maybe even months go by without a single visit.
Listen to the Pitch, Then Walk Away
Remember that most salespeople, no matter what they say as they schmooze you around the facility, couldn’t care less about whether you lose weight, bulk up, slim down, whatever. All they really care about is closing the deal. They have monthly goals to hit. They are also on commission. You represent dollar signs, not much else. Such is life.
So during your initial visit to the gym, sign nothing, no matter how great the deal seems to be. They’ll throw in free personal training, massages or free months, offer to wash your car, anything to get you to join right away. Don’t. The fact remains that when you walk out the door that offer will still be good, regardless of what the salesperson says. More importantly, the offer will quite often be made even better after you leave. That person knows you are interested. He or she wants your money. The first pitch is just the starting point.
Do Not Sign the Contract in the Gym
Take the contract home with you and read it carefully, word for word. There’s lots of small print. Trust me.
Once You Do Sign Up, It’s Really Hard to Break Up
Ever try to get out of your gym membership? It can be much worse than trying to end a bad relationship. Many gyms require things like a doctor’s note or proof that you have moved hundreds of miles away before they will even consider terminating your membership. And when you do end your contract, you often have to pay for a few months more before you are truly free. Have the salesperson explain what the exact terms of ending the contract are.