After a long pandemic pause from the gym, this might be the summer to get back into it. Many gyms and fitness studios are offering great deals during the hot weather.
But some things have changed, and you need to know what to expect.
Jeff Bovard showed us all the equipment that awaits if people return to the gym this year at his gym Vine Fitness.
"It's time to get back in the gym," Bovard said. "You can look and whether it's this gym or the gym down the road, a lot of gyms are pushing for memberships in the summertime."
Bovard says most people don't think of joining until fall and winter when the weather cools, but says you'll get a much better deal in the heat of the summer.
"You might not use it now. You say we are outdoors or doing this, but this is really the time to get the best price," he said.
Kevin Brasler of Consumers' Checkbook says some of the beneficial changes during the pandemic have stuck around.
"Some are offering outdoor activities, and some are still streaming their classes to make it more convenient for people," he said.
In addition, Bovard says gyms are cleaner than before the pandemic, with new cleaning protocols remaining in place.
Caution before you sign up
But what hasn't changed - in some cases - are memberships that are hard to cancel if you're not paying close attention.
"If they tell you, 'Here's a two-year membership, but you can cancel whenever you want,' make sure you see that language in the contract," Brasler cautioned.
When considering a gym or fitness center, he says:
- Ask for a free week or month-long trial.
- Visit during peak hours to see how busy it gets.
- Pay attention to broken-down machines and overall cleanliness.
- Consider amenities like child care and classes.
And remember, Brasler says, "They count on people signing up who don't use the gym."
So really consider if a membership is worth it and will you use it weekly? Or will paying for a class now and then be a better investment for you?
Phyllis Hiams, who still works out at Vine Fitness in retirement, says it's never too late to get into shape.
"It helps you keep going," she said. "I'll be 81 in a week and half, and the gym is my life. I love it!"
That way you stay healthy and you don't waste your money.
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