Whether you're devoted to a gym that offers one type of workout, such as Orangetheory
, or an options-packed national chain that has equipment and classes, there's probably wiggle room when it comes to how much you pay. "Everything is negotiable," says Jennifer McDermott, consumer advocate at the comparison website Finder
First, ask for a free or discounted trial period (anywhere from two weeks to 30 days), so you can see how you like the gym. When you're ready to commit, timing is crucial: McDermott says the best time of year to get a good deal is June, since many gyms hit a dry spell then (it's six months after the New Year's resolution rush, and also the time of year where people are switching to outdoor workouts). Patricia Seaman, senior director at the National Endowment for Financial Education
, says you can even find Black Friday deals the day after Thanksgiving. Wait until the end of the month to sign the contract, since many gyms have monthly quotas to fill and will offer discounts as the 30th or 31st looms. McDermott says you should always be able to get an initiation fee waived, and ask if you can get a price break if you've been recommended by a friend or if you'll only be using the gym in off-peak hours.