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Gym Pet Peeve

It drives me mad that none of the major fitness chains post any exact information about their membership rates. I really want to be able to comparison shop to decide what is the best choice for me. Can you share your experiences about gym rates at some of the bigger chains (I live in CT so we have things like Curves, Ballys, LA Fitness, etc). How did you comparison shop without knowing a good price?

Tue. Dec 19, 7:28pm

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OP here. By the way, I mean I have tried to comparison shop online with no success.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006, 7:29 PM

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That is the way big chains like it. You have to call for a price and then they get you to come in because they have "so many packages to choose from" starting at $_____ then you get in there and they don't even have a package at that price. That is the experience I have had with World, Gold, and 24 hour fitness. I think they should have their prices advertised then you can make a decision before you walk in. Oh and beware of the VERY expensive personal training big companies try to talk you into.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006, 9:40 PM

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I've been able to negotiate most gyms (Golds, Ballys, 24 Hour Fitness, etc) to the same price or less ($20-40 per month).

The trick is the sales people want a membership fee (sometimes as much as $200 to join!). Usually if you wait them out they will drop that fee.

When I was deciding which gym to join I used all the free trials--when they know you are serious about joining they will usually give you as many free trials as you want. Golds gave me over a month's worth of free trials.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006, 10:02 AM

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yes - their entire goal is to get you in the door where their sales staff can work on you. I'm a member of LA Fitness who was very upfront about their memberships and costs - however I'm not sure if they're like that all the time. They were just opening in this area and knew very well that their introductory prices were more than competative with local gyms.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006, 10:09 AM

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I go to bally's, and I pay $200 for the year. Don't let them get you with $200 extra of personal training...unless that's something you really want.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006, 1:46 PM

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oops - 10:09 poster again. I didn't give you the actual pricing info. I paid $150 for the sign-up fee and $34.99/mo with monthly fees to increase by no more than $3/mo in any year as long as I do not cancel and re-activate my membership. Memberships may be canceled at any time, but will not take effect in the current billing cycle. Also, I'm in Seattle, which is a pretty pricey place to live sometimes, so this is quite reasonable for the area.

Good luck finding a gym!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006, 2:23 PM

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does anyone know if gym fees are deductable as medical expenses?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006, 2:34 PM

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I don't think that gym membership is deductable, although if you got a doctor to prescribe it, I wonder. However, some companies and/or health plans sometimes pay a portion of the cost of gym membership.

As for cost of membership, I belong to a small chain that is pretty upfront about the cost. It is a little pricey, but I really appreciate the friendliness of the members.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006, 2:58 PM

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Our insurance offers a rebate on gym membership - I think it's $100/ year.

Also, I was annoyed that I couldn't get a straight answer over the phone when I called about gym membership, but I am so glad I went in. I was able to negotiate quite a deal:
2-year contract
$150 one-time joining fee
and FREE babysitting (normally $2/hour)

For most people this wouldn't be a big deal, but I have FOUR kids. I am saving a TON of money!!
It pays to go to the big places because they're authorized to negotiate just about any deal!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006, 3:33 PM

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I'm the last poster...
My real pet peeve is STINKY people at the gym who feel the need to pick the machine right next to yours even though there are 30 other available machines!!!
Get some deodorant or pick a different machine, for crying out loud!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006, 3:35 PM

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I've belonged to Bally's, Gold's, Club Fitness and other gyms over the last 15 years and I've never paid the $150 sign up fee, or membership fee.

They will drop it if you wait them out. At least once a year each of those companies drop the sign up fee.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006, 3:51 PM

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Re: stinky sweat

personally i'd rather have a stinky sweaty person working the machine next to mine that have a stinky perfumey smell emitting from a neighbor. i know i sweat a lot, but i cannot tell if i am stinky to other people's noses...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006, 3:59 PM

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I don't care about a little BO> I hate the perfume! haha.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006, 4:03 PM

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OP here. Thank you to everyone who contributed, although I didn't expect the BO tangent! Anyway, I was able to find a local gym that advertised a 99 dollar one year membership plus 20 dollar "processing fee." I took the tour and it fit my needs, and they did stick to that offer but also added two more options. One was no money down with 20 dollars a month including tanning which didn't thrill me (grad student, I need a low monthly price and don't tan!) The second was 45 dollars down plus 20 dollar fee, with 10 dollars a month with no contract at all and no cancelling fee. I took one of the earlier posters advice and was indecisive and the woman brought the 45 dollars down to 25 plus the 20 dollar fee so it went from 65 down to 45 down. Your advice saved me 20 bucks! I'm happy that I didn't commit to a year since it is my first membership, and hopefully seeing the 10 dollars come out of my account every month will remind me to go. Keep posting, I'm sure it will help a lot more people trying to shop around. They can't hide the costs if we all tell each other!!! Thanks again!

Thursday, December 21, 2006, 12:02 AM

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i agree with the first poster-look for coupons and newspaper inserts for the best deals and go to each faciliy and ask for a tour and negotiate with the one you like best. most of the big gyms want your business so badly (many of the desk people get commision) that they can check with a "manager" and have some fees "waived" a.k.a dropping some of the b.s.!!!

i got a membership to gold's for $29.99 a month w/ no sign up fee, no enrollment fee NOTHING but $29.99 a month-don't let them fool you with these fees-you DON't have to pay them!

Thursday, December 21, 2006, 2:44 AM

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free babysitting poster

I agreed to the $150 fee because it equaled less than what one month of babysitting would have cost me. I thought it was fair.

Thursday, December 21, 2006, 9:01 AM

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