Let's face it: gyms offer amenities that your house simply does not, like expensive exercise machines, indoor pools, and group fitness classes that allow you to show off all those cute workout clothes you bought. But gym memberships can also be pricey, and if you're looking for ways to save, you might be curious if there are certain times of the year — or even times during the month! — when you're likely to get the best deal. To find out, POPSUGAR went straight to the experts.
When Is the Best Time to Join a Gym?
We'll get to the deals, because we understand if you're on a budget — but the experts POPSUGAR spoke with overwhelmingly agreed that the best time to join a gym is actually right now. "The longer you wait to make a decision, especially when making a lifestyle change, it just leaves more time to come up with excuses and talk yourself out of it," said Kate Meier, a certified USA Weightlifting Level 1 Coach and CrossFit Level 1 coach, who previously owned a CrossFit affiliate gym. "If it is a decision that you know will be best for you in the long run, then it is best to commit to it right away."
Dave Karraker, co-owner of MX3 Fitness in San Francisco, added that spending as little as possible on a gym membership may actually undermine your efforts in the long run. (Assuming, of course, that you're saving just to save, and not out of necessity.) "Typically the folks who are looking for a screaming deal are also the folks who are most likely to drop off and stop working out," Karraker told POPSUGAR. You know those big box gyms that tout bare-minimum membership fees? They may also have some of the lowest attendance and highest drop-off rates. "If it is that cheap, people don't mind not using it," Karraker explained.
So, while you want to make sure you're living within your means, think of a gym membership as an investment. Just like investing in the stock market, the longer you invest in your health and wellbeing, the more you'll gain.
When Can You Get the Best Discounts on a Gym Membership?
If you're ready to commit to the gym, but you need to stick to a budget, there are times that you can score better deals. "Every gym has sales quotas to hit each month. The slowest times of the year are then the hardest months to hit quotas," Meier told POPSUGAR. "The slowest times are usually the summer months and during the winter holidays because many people are traveling and can't make it to the gym. Sales associates at these times will be the most willing to give good rates and throw in extras in order to hit their numbers."
So, if you're looking to join the gym at one of the most popular times of the year — in January — you might actually consider signing up, and even squeezing in a few workouts, just before or during the winter holidays. "This is when gyms are going to be the least crowded, and it gives you a chance to really explore and get into a comfortable rhythm," Karraker explained. "This is also the time that staff, including personal trainers, are least busy so they are more open to providing free advice on how to use equipment or perform certain exercises."
Regardless of the time of year, you may also have better luck scoring a discount if you sign up during the last few days of the month. "The end of the month is when sales associates really need to close as many sales as possible, so if you had to pick the best time, it would be in that last three to five days of the month," Meier said.
She added that most gyms have some sort of deal going all the time, but gyms that haven't yet opened typically offer the deepest discounts. "The absolute best time to join any gym is if you can find a new gym that is going to open up soon and is in presale," Meier said. "This is when you will find the lowest membership rates and deals. At this time, they are trying to get as many members signed up before they open the doors. If it is a really good gym, then once they have been open a year, the rates will start to go up for new members, but you may be able to stay locked in at that original low rate."