Regardless of what the reason is, whether it’s to look a bit tighter in the midsection with summer coming up, to get in shape for that dream tropical vacation, or just to lose a few pounds for health reasons, this spring, many are considering joining a gym. For many of us who already have a gym membership but have not been there in so long, we don’t remember exactly where it is located, getting back at the gym is a matter of actually getting use out of the membership fee that gets deducted from our bank accounts every month.

Regardless of whether you’ve never been to the gym, or have not been to the gym in a long time, getting in and coming back consistently is tough. After all, the gym can be a pretty intimidating place.

Getting In

If you are joining a gym for the first time, be sure to do your research and shop around. Gym membership fees vary greatly from gym to gym, sometimes based on the equipment and amenities, and sometimes, based on absolutely no reason at all. Make sure that the gym is in a convenient location to you, either next to your home, next to work, or somewhere along the way. If a gym is too out of the way, you’ll be much less likely to go there consistently. Be sure to ask your friends and coworkers — you could get the inside scoop on which gym is better, and get a workout buddy at the same time (more on that later).

Signing Your Life Away

Most gyms require an upfront fee plus a 100-billion-year contract assuring that you will be getting charged a membership fee for eternity, regardless of whether you go or not. Be sure to negotiate! Most gyms will be running some kind of special where they’ll waive some fees, or maybe shorten the length of the contract. Always ask about the procedure for terminating the membership contract — if it seems unnecessarily or unreasonably complex, think twice before signing. Be sure to ask about a personal training session: most gyms will offer a complimentary session with a personal trainer upon signing — take advantage of it. A personal trainer can help you figure out a workout routine based on your fitness goals, and you’ll look very cool working out with a trainer!

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