Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gyms Deals In Genesee County Area Offer Healthy Options For Your Workout -- And Your Wallet

“Fitness centers and health clubs (including new ones that have recently opened) are advertising good deals, often with low monthly fees and without contracts, to entice us to get off the couch and onto the treadmill. So if you're ready to lace up your sneakers and grab that water bottle, how do you choose the right gym, the best gym for you? If you're cost conscious (and who isn't these days), you'll first probably want to consider the money you'll spend. Is there a joining fee (sometimes these can be pricey) or a cancellation fee and what about the monthly fee? What about contracts? Will you be locked into a year or more term or can you go month-to-month? Michigan-based Fitness USA, including its location on Miller Road in Flint Township, cut its pricing in half to $19 a month in July and did away with contracts. It charges a $49 initiation fee. ‘I think these are uncertain times,’ said Tom Vaught, Fitness USA's executive vice president. ‘I think it's important particularly in Michigan to not get involved in a contract.’ Vaught said he made the change to respond to the economy and make fitness affordable to more people. ‘Five dollars a week is less than it costs for a combo meal at McDonald's,’ he said. Once you've gotten the pricing points, what does your membership include? Are there classes and do they cost extra? What about personal trainers? Maybe your barrier to hitting the elliptical machine is no baby-sitter. A number of gyms, including some locally, offer child care services. A club's location also is important, experts and club members say. If the gym is a far drive from your house or work, you may skip it. And skip it. See the pattern? You also want to consider the hours of a facility and make sure they jive with your schedule and when you'd want to use the center. Rosemary Lavery, a spokesperson for the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, said figuring out what kind of facility you want such as a women's only or 24-hour facility will help in your decision making. ‘You want to make sure you have all the right information,’ Lavery said. ‘If you're not comfortable, don't sign anything on the spot.’”

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