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10 Things Your Gym Won’t Tell You

This article was written by in Health. 12 comments.

gym membershipJust when I’m considering becoming a member at a gym to help myself stay in shape, SmartMoney publishes 10 Things Your Gym Won’t Tell You. If you’re looking for a demotivator to keep you from spending money for a membership that many find a waste of money, this article has what you’re looking for. Here are ten things about gyms that will help keep you away.

1. Most new memberships in January will cancel by April. That’s a lot of New Year’s Resolutions gone bad.
2. There is bacteria everywhere, including on the equipment and in the locker room towels.
3. Gyms aren’t equipped to handle health emergencies.
4. People don’t need any type of certification to become trainers, and they may not know much more than you.
5. They make it very difficult to quit membership. If you don’t pay, they may report you to credit reporting agencies even if you claim you canceled your membership.
6. There are catches in the fine print of the membership contract.
7. Gyms aren’t required to maintain their equipment, so there can be a danger in operating the equipment.
8. You can negotiate your membership rates by paying attention to specials offered throughout the year.
9. The lockers in which you leave your personal belongings can be robbed, and the gym is not held liable.
10. By joining or even entering a gym, you generally sign a waiver that relieves the company of any liability.

Still want to join a gym? I think I’ll work on exercising with my own equipment at home this year.

Updated September 4, 2016 and originally published January 3, 2007.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 Anonymous


Check out

It’s a free website/blog based in Santa Cruz, CA. They post workouts on their website that promote functional fitness by combining gymnastics, weightlifting, bodyweight exercises, etc.

Their schedule is 3 days on and 1 day off.

It’s a very supportive community and several of their “affiliate” gyms are popping up all over the place for those who do better working out with others.

And you can spend days on their site/msg boards reading all kinds of info about their approach and why it works.

Thought you might enjoy it. I’m a big fan and supporter of their methodology. And for someone like me with a very short attention span, it sure beats doing the same workout 3-4 times a week indefinitely.

Oh, and did I mention, it’s free?

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avatar 2 Anonymous

On the other hand, when you work out at a gym, you’re around people working towards a goal, and that can be motivational. If you’re worried about the trainers, you can ask about their certifications, or find a studio which specializes in training. If you’re just starting out, that would be the path I’d take. Most of the other things seem to be buyer-beware to me. The biggest challenge is the fundamental life change needed to improve your health.

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avatar 3 Anonymous

I agree, working out in a gym can prove to be more motivational than working out at home. But I guess that depends on who you are. Also, it can get pretty expensive purchasing the heavier dumbells for home use.


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avatar 4 Anonymous

Regarding #5; when a relative passed away a couple years ago we tried to cancel his gym membership. The gym refused to cancel the membership unless we brought an original death certificate directly to the gym to give to a “membership associate”.

Unbelievable. We were able to cancel household utilities and credit cards with less hassle.

Fortunately after we canceled the credit card to which the gym membership was auto-billed, they seemed to get the idea.

If the motivational thing works for some folks, great. Personally, I find it somewhat ironic to deal with rush hour traffic driving to a gym, just to sit on a stationary bike for an hour.

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avatar 5 Anonymous

I considered joining a health club last year, but didn’t feel like dealing with the hassles of driving 15 minutes to the gym, waiting my turn to use the equipment I wanted, and then driving another 15 minutes back home. I bought a treadmill last Summer and have been using it every day. I get up every morning at 5 am and walk for 40 minutes while watching my favorite cooking shows that I taped the day prior. Now if I could only figure out how to check my email and read blogs while walking on the treadmill….


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avatar 6 Anonymous

Years ago when we were first married we made the decision to buy a treadmill on sale instead of signing up for a gym membership

My wife is still using it today, I figure by now we’ve probably saved at least $1500 on gym fees even after factoring in the purchase price.

It’s the best approach for us, conveniently located and we just use each other for motivation.

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avatar 7 Anonymous

Gold’s Gym tried to cheat me on the membership. They cleared listed a $125 deal for 3 months, yet asked for $150 when I got there. I made them extended the contract for an extra month to make up for the added cost.

Why do gyms always pay tricks on us customers?

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avatar 8 Anonymous

While on a month to month membership with Gold’s Gym 2 years ago I had to cancel because I was moving across the country. Because it was month to month I shouldn’t have needed a reason, but like all my other bills I was canceling I casually mentioned I was moving, and needed to cancel. From that point on they said they couldn’t cancel until I provided them with proof I was moving, and my new address. On top of that it would take six weeks.

I absolutely refused to give them my new address because I saw it only as a marketing scheme on their part, and to wait six weeks was just a scam to get more of my money. So I filled out as much of the cancellation form as I thought legit, and handed it back to the guy. Then I called the billing company of Golds and had them cancel the membership that day. There was no problem after that, but I couldn’t BELIEVE what a jerk the local employees were. If I didn’t have the number of the billing company from a previous credit card fiasco then I would’ve been in a world of hurt.

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avatar 9 Anonymous

That list looks like a bunch of excuses for being a lazy dough bag. My gym lets me pay month to month, and that is after I signed up for a year membership. Read the fine print or don’t sign. As for germs, I’ve never been sick a day in the 2 years I’ve been a member, but I know how to wash my hands. You aren’t going to get in shape by running on a treadmill ladies. You have to run, lift weights, and then lift and run some more. Who cares if it has a clean shower stall? I shower at home. Oh, and you don’t need a trainer more than once or twice to get started. It ain’t rocket science, it’s just lifting heavy stuff and sweating. You folks sound like a bunch of whiners. But you enjoy that solitary treadmill session in your guest room sweet-cheeks.

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avatar 10 Anonymous

A good Olympic bar costs around $250
300 pounds of plates (enough for most people for general fitness) would be less than $300
A decent power rack can be purchased for under $500
A decent flat bench can be purchased for under $150
Add a few miscellaneous items like spring collars, a dipping/chinning belt, chalk, etc. will only cost a little more.

Total: around $1200

This is less than the cost of two years at most gyms and is everything you need for a productive, safe, well-rounded program. If properly cared for this equipment will last the rest of your life, and probably more than long enough for your great, great grandchildren to use it.

You save on more than just memberships. You save time and money by not having to drive to and from a gym. Workouts at home are also more time efficient because you do not have to wait for equipment while other people loiter on benches or commit the greatest of gym faux pas – curling in the squat rack or power rack.

You don’t have to worry about hours of operation – you can work out whenever you want. No dress code, no cheesy pop music, no idiots blathering on their cell phones while you’re trying to concentrate on training, none of the hassles or distractions common in gyms.

The only downside, a minor one in my opinion, is that it will take up some square footage in your house.

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avatar 11 Anonymous

Your article is a load of bollocks. I’m a fitness instructor at a gym and to say that we don’t need any form of certification is wrong. When I started as a trainee I needed to go on loads of courses just to get my qualification and I need to go on more to further my skills. So that remark is wrong and maybe you should think about things before you write them. Wanker!!!!

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avatar 12 Anonymous

Actually, Rik, the article is correct. Not all gyms require their trainers to be certified, and many will hire anyone that looks like they know what they’re doing, regardless of their actual level of knowledge.

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