Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pump Up Your Pecs Without Bruising Your Budget

“It's the time of year when gym memberships swell like Hanz's and Franz's pecs. To attract more of the people vowing to get in shape in the new year, most gyms will offer bargains. But getting sucked in to what seems like a good deal can be as painful as dropping a barbell on your toe. To get the most for your money, start by giving your brain muscle a workout, says Karsten Jensen, a strength and conditioning coach based in Mississauga, Ont. For starters, he says, make sure any gym you might join fits your schedule. Of course, it's important to pay attention to money matters, starting with membership fees. Guidelines created by, a program of the Canada Safety Council, include making sure dues can be paid monthly, as opposed to an annual lump sum. The Canadian Fitness Matters guidelines also recommend joining a gym that has been open for at least one year. But David Patchell-Evans, founder of GoodLife and chair of the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, says the number should be at least six years. ‘That tells you if they re-invest in their equipment,’ he says. Paying bottom dollar for a membership at a gym that only has one elliptical machine from the 1970s with a left pedal missing is not much of a deal. You can easily get a membership to a decent gym for about $40 a month, Mr. Patchell-Evans says. High-end clubs can charge as much as $200 a month, but if you have that kind of cash to spend, why waste it on gym fees when you can stay at home lifting piles of money?”

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