Consumer Reports: Saving money when joining a gym

gym

It’s that time of year again; resolutions to get in shape mean health clubs sign up more new members in January than any other time of the year.

While joining a gym can be expensive, experts say they are all competing for your business.

Amanda Walker, Consumer Reports money adviser, said, “Don’t rush into anything. You might get the best deal if you sign up late in the month because health clubs often have monthly sales quotas.”

Also, ask for a free pass because many gyms will let you try it out before you buy.

Anthony Tarricone, with Equalize Health Club, said, “See if it fits for you because whether it’s $10 or $100, if you don’t use it, it’s a waste of money. So really, find a gym that’s most convenient for you and you feel most comfortable with, that meets your needs.”

Once you decide which club to join, make sure you negotiate.

Walker said, “Sometimes, they’ll cut the price if you pay yearly instead of month-to-month, or ask if they’ll throw in a free wellness assessment or a personal training session.”

Some gyms offer a discount if you sign up with a group, so you may try rallying friends or co-workers.

Before you lift a finger, check your insurance since some plans, like United Healthcare, reimburse members several hundred dollars a year if they join and use a participating fitness center.

You can also keep an eye out for gym deals on social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, and look for offers on saving sites, like Groupon, Living Social and Gilt.