You're much more likely to actually use a gym you enjoy. Choose wisely: your new year's resolution depends on it.
- Step 1: If the gym has a sales associate to handle new memberships, try to haggle over the terms of the contract. Shoot for a 30-day trial membership with no long-term commitments.
- Step 2: Get in shape. If you fail, at least you won't be able to blame the gym.
- FACT: January is the busiest—and most profitable—month for gyms, so it's usually a better deal to join in the spring in time for swimsuit season.
- TIP: Visit the gym at the time of day you'll most likely be using it so you can check out the crowd.
- Step 3: Found a gym? Check it out with a free tour. Be sure to see the bathrooms and locker room—they're a good measure of overall maintenance.
- TIP: Convenience should carry more weight than cost when it comes to joining a gym—you'll never visit an inconvenient gym, no matter how inexpensive.
- Step 4: Determine what your goals and the equipment you'll need to reach them—then narrow your list to places that offer what you want.
- TIP: If you're into cardio, you want lots of cardio machines; if you're bulking up, look for extensive free weights; if you want classes, see that there are plenty that fit your schedule.
- Step 5: Locate the gyms nearest to where you'll be when you want to exercise—close to home for morning, night, and weekend workouts, or near the office for lunchtime workouts.