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How to Make the Most of Your Gym Membership

A group of people running on treadmills at a busy gym.
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Everyone knows gym memberships aren’t cheap. If you’ve recently joined one, you want to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck! These suggestions will help you maximize your gym membership, meet your fitness goals, and never regret paying that sign-up fee.

If you recently added a gym membership to all of your other monthly expenses, it might have given you an instant case of buyer’s remorse—or a stress headache. But don’t give up before you even get started! Armed with these tips, you can make your gym work for you, and never regret spending that hard-earned cash.

Get Creative with the Equipment

Thanks to thousands of YouTube videos and blog posts, you can discover a million different ways to use the same piece of gym equipment. For example, squat racks are used for squatting and deadlifting, but did you know you can also use them for hip thrusts and lunges?

The Swiss ball might be awesome for your abs, but have you ever tried using it for hamstring curls or push-ups? A quick Google search will give you numerous ways to make your gym a playground and completely transform your workouts.

Then, all you have to do is come to your workout prepared, as you don’t want to waste valuable time setting up for every exercise more than it’s necessary.

Try Some New Classes

If you’re a fitness enthusiast, chances are, you’re also going to a yoga studio, attending cycling classes, and sweating it out with your F45 team. That’s a lot of different memberships and class fees.

So, why not check out the classes offered at your gym? Even if they don’t have exactly what you’re looking for, chances are something they offer can give you the same or similar results.

Take a month or two to sample each class. There are likely many different workout styles to choose from, and you might be surprised by the progress you can make when you try something new. In fact, you might just fall in love with a new workout and cancel those other memberships for good.

Check Out the Spa

Two women and two men in spa robes relaxing in massage chairs.
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Many high-end gyms also have a spa or wellness area, but not everyone takes advantage of it. If yours does, definitely check it out because members usually get discounts. Instead of paying $60 for a pedicure at the salon, you might be able to save some time and money by getting one after your workout.

The same goes for facials, massages, or even hairstyling! Also, luxury gyms usually have a very strict hiring policy, so you’ll most likely get better quality and service than you do at your regular salon, spa, or nail studio.

If your gym has a sauna, dedicate at least 15 minutes after each class or workout to a bit of self-care. Not only will this help with muscle fatigue and recovery, it’ll also feel incredible and give you a chance to relax before continuing your day.

Use Your Gym as a Co-Working Space

If you’re a freelancer, you might often work in a coffee shop, restaurant, or hotel lounge. But if your gym has an area where you can dock and charge your laptop, why not get some extra mileage out of your membership and get some work done there?

It’ll likely be much easier to fit your workout into your schedule if you go to the gym early and work a bit beforehand or complete some tasks after. You should also be able to save some time by not having to commute to and from your gym. So, put those earbuds back on after your exercise session and start answering some of those emails.

Grab a Nutritious Lunch After Your Workout

Three women drinking smoothies at a gym cafe.

Most gyms have a cafe or smoothie counter where you can get protein shakes and bars, or nutritious meals, like acai bowls, avocado toast, or low-carb chicken wraps. Most likely, they’ll also be far more affordable than anything at a restaurant, and definitely healthier.

So, after you finish all that cardio, instead of dropping $20 at Starbucks or a drive-thru, check out your gym’s offerings. Fill up on nutrients will not only keep you feeling good about al the work you just did, but it’ll also give you some much-needed fuel to finish the day.

Refer a Friend & Work Out Together

Two women planking and high-fiving each other at the gym.
NDAB Creativity/Shutterstock.com

Most of us lead such busy lives, we barely have the time to check in with the other people we live with, let alone grab a coffee with a friend. So, why not kill two birds with one stone and invite a friend to come work out with you?

Not only will you get a chance to spend some time together, but you’ll also be able to spot each other, or encourage each other to keep going in that bootcamp class. Afterward, you can both hit the cafe for a smoothie or healthy lunch before heading back to work.

Also, because every gym wants to grow its membership list, yours probably has some sort of a referral program. The way these usually work is if you refer a friend to your gym, you’ll both earn some sort of benefit or reward if he or she joins.

Ask an employee or your trainer if they have a program, and, if so, what the requirements and rewards are. You can usually earn things like a few free months, discounts on services, spa coupons, and more.

Gym memberships aren’t cheap, so if you haven’t yet checked out all the perks and benefits you’ve already paid for, now’s the time! These tips will help you take advantage of everything your gym has to offer, so you can feel confident your money was well spent.

Karla Tafra Karla Tafra
Karla is a certified yoga teacher, nutritionist, content creator and an overall wellness coach with over 10 years of international experience in teaching, writing, coaching, and helping others transform their lives. From Croatia to Spain and now, the US, she calls Seattle her new home where she lives and works with her husband. Read Full Bio »
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