Summer Body Fitness Deals 101
We’re not even a month out from the Spring Solstice, but the talk of the town is summer. I’ve personally seen way too many references to bikinis, the beach, and getting your ‘summer body’ in the past few weeks. So, that means only one thing, you’re being sold into fitness. Gym memberships, group training offers, Pilates series, Barre fitness, you name it, and the deals are a-plenty. So how do you take advantage of the plethora of fitness bargains without wasting your hard-earned money on something you won’t follow through on? Here are some big no-nos and a few things to look out for in the “get my summer body” fitness deals cropping up all over.
The Introductory Offer
Marked by a trial period, usually the first month, introductory offers are made to get you to get over the hump of “is it for me?” That said, every fitness deal that has an introductory offer should allow for a reasonable time of use before you have to ante up the full amount of membership, classes, etc. Some require that after just one class you’re locked in to participate and have to pay for the entire series. If this is a new fitness class or trend you’ve never tried, make sure you’re comfortable with the length or the introductory offer before buying. Do you have to start within 7 days, but you’ll be on vacation then? Do you have to book a class well in advance and the time and date are far off? Find out beforehand just how long and arduous it will be to reap the benefits of the introductory offer.
No “Initiation” Fees
It’s cute that businesses tout not paying certain fees as an “offer” but it screams you have to pay something initially anyway. Many no contract, no registration, or no initiation fees simply mean you have to buy something before you try it and cancellation means losing it all. For example, I recently received an offer for no “initiation” fees from one very notable gym, but that meant paying first and last month membership dues immediately. Other deals call for paying for a certain number of classes before receiving the first class for free. Beware of these offers. If you haven’t tried it before, it may be worth it to pay full price for a real “initiation” before you actually pay for something you don’t even know if you’ll like.
The clock starts ticking on some of these fitness deals immediately. Some have 24-hour cancellation policies, two weeks from purchase, or after the first of say ten classes. While follow through is an important part of getting the most bang for your fitness deal buck, you shouldn’t be forced to do something you haven’t even tried yet. Be sure that you can at least try the first class and get a refund if you don’t like it. Opting out can be hard, especially with deals from online sites which require you notifying them and the actual company to process a refund. An easy way to save yourself from being taken advantage of is not mentioning the deal, calling the place directly, and asking to audit a class. In many instances you’ll get a pass of 3 to 7 days at most gyms, and most class-oriented fitness businesses allow at least one class for free. Just shop around. There are probably ten deals just like the one that initially caught your eye. Do a Google search and keep on moving!
Be An Educated Fitness Consumer: Three Important Considerations
Drive time is very important when it comes to getting the most out of a fitness deal. If the place you’ve chosen is 30 minutes from your job and an hour from your house, you have a problem. Be sure that you map out the location of where it will take place before purchasing. No matter how gung-ho you are about doing deadlifts at 6 o’clock in the morning, if it requires you to change up your entire schedule, it probably won’t last very long.
Speaking of 6 o’clock in the morning, when will you be able to do what you’re purchasing? Far too many fitness deals don’t outline the start-time, nor do they post their schedule to the deals. This usually means off-peak hours, or days may be chosen for your fitness deal. There’s a reason something’s on sale, and it’s because demand may be down during that period. On the other hand, calendar dates may be restrictive. One deal I read mentioned a redemption date that was 4-months away and then it said, "you must start the first available session after your purchase". Figuring out when you can start can be confusing, so be sure to call the business or search for their website before opting into a deal. If time constraints won’t allow you to take full advantage of the offer, don’t do it.
“Other” Restrictions Apply
Subject to availability is the scariest of the small print in fitness deals. Many well-known gyms have booked up schedules weeks down the road. With a deal being marketed to an entire group of fitness enthusiasts, getting into class, or having enough space and attention to do it properly, may be a huge hurdle. For example, if you buy 5 classes at a studio, you may have to separate each class by a week. However, if the schedule doesn’t allow for the time you’d like each week, you’re left with two weeks between a class you’d assumed would be at least once a week, and in some cases, consecutive days. There are other more stringent restrictions, including new clients only, must sign-up 30 days prior to start date, and additional road blacks to your using fitness deals the way you want to. Keep seeking out ways to shake up your fitness routine, but keep your eyes open. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Give your best or worst fitness deal experience? What did you learn?