« Get noticed while you sleep: fitting self promotion into your work life balance | Main | Should women learn golf? »

Summer is here! Finding a gym that works with your life

Raise your hand if you are you dreading summer swimsuit season and wishing you had made more time in your schedule for working out? Ugh, my hand is up! Lured by "special deals" I now belong to two gyms and rarely go to either one. Whenever my work life balance gets thrown off kilter, exercise is the first to go.

BrettBrett Graff, author of The Home Economist, knows all about squeezing exercise into a busy day. Brett is a mother of two, a former US government economist who today writes about how economic forces affect real people. Her column - The Home Economist - runs in newspapers nationwide. Brett  provides great advice for saving  money and finding a gym that works with your life. If you're thinking of joining a gym to get into swimsuit shape fast before you head off on summer vacation, here are Brett's suggestions for what to ask:

1) Do you have to pay extra for classes? It’s hard enough putting on spandex and looking at yourself in the mirror for an hour. But force us to pay an extra $25 for the privilege and suddenly, breakfast sounds like a better idea. Make sure yoga or spinning or whatever is included.

2) What’s the number of members? Many gyms set no membership limits. It might not be crowded when you visit, but be packed during peak hours or after a membership drive. The most honest answer comes from yourself after you make a surprise visit at the time you plan to work out.

3) What are the hours of operation? Because you can’t burn calories if you get there when the place is closed.

4) What’s the cooling off or trial period? Because even if it costs a little more each month, if you’re not enjoying the membership or using it as much as you planned, you will have saved yourself years of payments.

5) When does the special introductory rate end? Make sure you know exactly when the discounted stops and the amount of the price hike taking it’s place.

6) Can I take the contract home? If someone’s pressuring you to sign on the spot, you may wonder why.


ExerciseAccording to Statisticbrain.com people spend an average of $55 a month on gym memberships. The average amount of gym membership money that goes to waste is $39 a month. Are you participating in that ugly trend?

If you really want to work out and think you might not stick with it, look for gyms that offer pay-as-you-go memberships or short-term passes. Of course, a walk around the block is a cheap way to get started and can fit into almost anyone's schedule. As Nike says, just do it!