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Most of us at some stage get the urge to join the gym, if it is just an urge this guide is for you. We advise the best way to work out without breaking the bank when signing up at any gym

Joining The Gym

This guide covers the best ways to sign up for the gym without working out your wallet.

Gym Kit for working out

For many going to the gym makes up part of their daily routine, it is considered an enjoyable experience. But for most of us, working out is something we avoid whenever possible, we make excuses, work gets in the way or you are just can not be bothered.

There generally comes a point, normally in the cooler months when enough is enough, you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and the feeling hits you, it is time to join the gym.

This feeling is unlikely to last forever and could cost you if you just rush in.

We have created this guide to take you through the golden rules of gym sign-ups.

We look at various gym memberships available in the United Arab and ways to start working out for next to nothing.

If you commit, then you are committed.

With all the determination and good intention in the world, once you join the gym your motivation could well reduce after a couple of weeks.  As an average only about 30% of a gym’s membership base will visit them more than once a week after the first month. 

training on a treadmill

If you are locked into a 12-month agreement then you will effectively be paying thousands of Dirhams a year with little to show for it.

Be honest with yourself before you sign up and it will save you money, can you honestly commit to the gym? Are you in this for the long haul or are you just driven to lose a few quick pounds?

Most gyms will try and sign you up for a 12-month agreement so make sure you understand all the options available and related clauses. There are many memberships available, monthly, quarterly or bi annual but you have to ask. Generally these memberships will cost slightly more but if you feel you can not commit to 12 months these options could save you thousands in the long run.

TIP: Understand the True Cost.

The true cost of the gym is the cost of whatever contract you sign plus applicable signing up fees. This means if the salesman tells you it is AED 400 per month you must factor that cost over your contract duration. You will pay a sizable penalty in most cases if you break a 12-month agreement so sometimes best to agree on slightly more expensive fee per month but a shorter contract duration.

Try before you buy

Like any purchase it is always nice to try before you buy. Most gyms will provide you with a free workout pass giving you a trial to use the facilities.

biking at th egym

Also check with your friends if their gym gives complimentary guess passes. Working out together is more fun and with a complimentary pass it is free.

Going Solo?

With so much competition, gyms in the UAE are more likely to provide discounts if you join up with family or friends. 

TIP: It is worth putting the word out amongst friends that you intend to join the gym and ask them if they know anyone wishing to do the same. Use Facebook and Expat forums to let people know your intention, you are more likely to get a better rate joining a gym as a pair or couple than on your own.

Negotiate and wait for seasonal offers

The New Year, summer months, Ramadan, Eid and other times throughout the year, gyms will run promotions for new registrations during these period.

They often involve a waiver of sign up fees or discounted monthly rates. Various providers also use daily deals sites such as Groupon, look out there for any gym deals or incentives to join.

Lastly joining a gym is a sales process they want you as a customer. Don’t be frightened to ask for a discount or use their competitor’s name, these should help you to get the best deal.

Make sure you understand the agreement terms.

If you decide to join a gym make sure you are aware of the hidden agreement details.

Most of the membership consultants work on a commission basis, they will generally tell you of the option to freeze or postpone the agreement mid membership.  This is generally the case but it will not come for free and most gyms will charge a half-month fee to freeze or postpone your agreement.

Also make sure what happens after the agreement ends, in the terms and conditions it is not unknown that gyms will renew the agreement unless you cancel.   

You will most likely have a notice period of 30 days in your agreement, this is standard but check if you have to give notice by a set day during the month for the agreement to be cancelled. 

It is common to move in the UAE and personal circumstance change.  Enquire that if you become injured, ill or pregnant that you can freeze or cancel your membership and what proof would you need?

No gym no cost!

If as quickly as you talked yourself into joining the gym the urge goes then don’t worry, there are lots of ways to get fit in the UAE, these will not cost you a Dirham.

running in silouette along the beach
  • The Dubai Road Runners they are one of the UAE’s oldest running clubs and meet every Sunday and Tuesday evening. They train from 6pm all year around at Al Barsha Park and it is totally free. All levels of ability are welcomed and with strong focus on the social side it is all the motivation you will need to leave the couch.
  • Zero Gravity this venue is known mainly for the restaurant and bar but it now has an outdoor gym. Newly built and accessible to everyone this gym is free and open all hours.
  • Kite Beach offering a running track of 12km, the track has numerous free workout machines along route and is floodlit meaning you can enjoy working out anytime of day.
  • Buy your own equipment, there is nothing better than investing in yourself. With so many sports outlets in the region you could pick up a set of weight for about AED 200 from Sun and Sand Sports and use YouTube for a selection of workouts and exercises.

Lastly spend on your credit card and go to the gym for free!

Health and fitness is such a big talking point for governments, hospitals and now banks. 

Many providers will offer free memberships, gym discounts and offers as a reward for using their card. If you are interested to see what credit cards offer gym membership and discounts, read our credit cards that work out as you do article.

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