10 Costly Mistakes You're Making at the Gym



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Happy woman smiling and working out in gym


Investing in your health is always money well spent, and one way to make that happen is by splurging on a gym membership. But amid lunges and squats, we might unknowingly make expensive mistakes at the gym that end up draining our wallets. 

From failing to shop around for the best membership to not taking advantage of all your gym's amenities, here are 10 costly mistakes to avoid as you embark on your fitness journey. 

Women's fitness outfit  isolated on white background

Making Impulse Purchases

If you're anything like me, it's hard to ignore fashionable gym apparel and accessories on display. Who doesn't love a good sweatshirt or water bottle? However, merchandise that you see at gyms (even basic things like supplements and protein bars) are oftentimes marked up to the heavens. Instead, opt for thrift stores or online retailers where you can snag the same products for less.

Take Hot Baths or Long Trips to the Sauna
HQuality Video/istockphoto

Not Taking Advantage of the Gym's Amenities

Overlooking the full range of amenities provided by the gym is like leaving money on the table. Neglecting to use some of its services such as saunas, showers, and steam rooms means missing out on the added value you're already paying for with your membership. Why not maximize your investment and treat yourself to the complete package? You can enhance both your physical and mental well-being while getting the most bang for your buck.

Diverse People in GYM

Not Shopping Around for the Best Membership

Failing to shop around for the best gym membership can result in missed savings and opportunities. By settling for the first option that comes your way, you risk missing out on better deals or promotions that could reduce your long-term expenses. 

For example, choosing between a contract and a monthly membership depends on your workout consistency: Committing to a contract can be more cost-effective if you know you'll be going to the gym regularly, while opting for a monthly subscription can offer more freedom and flexibility should you need to cancel (or if don't want to get roped into a contract). Either way, taking the time to compare prices, facilities, and contract terms allows you to make an informed decision and save money in the long run. 

Gym Membership
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Foregoing Free Trials

Many gyms offer complimentary trials that can provide a glimpse into the facilities, classes, and equipment available, allowing you to gauge whether a membership is worth the investment and commitment. By overlooking free trials, you risk potentially paying for a membership that does not align with your fitness goals or preferences, leaving your wallet feeling the weight of missed savings. 

Related: Is Your Gym Membership Holding You Hostage? Here’s How To Bust Out

The Gym in Montvale, New Jersey

Overlooking Classes or Personal Coaching

Some gyms offer tailored workout regimens or connect you with your very own fitness coach (personal coaching can come at an added cost, but not always — so don't hesitate to ask). These classes or coaching sessions can provide extra guidance and motivation, making them a valuable part of your membership that you're already paying for. 

Related: Frugal Fitness: How to Snag a Cheap Gym Membership

Coming to the Gym When Sick

Forgetting to Disinfect Equipment

Forgetting to disinfect gym equipment before using them can result in hygiene-related issues like infections, skin conditions, and germs. Avoid unnecessary (and potentially costly) medical bills by thoroughly wiping down every machine with sanitizing wipes before and after using them. Be sure to pay close attention to areas that can harbor the most germs, such as handles and screens. 

Related: The Secret to Negotiating a Lower Medical Bill

Fit woman drinking a green detox smoothie at the gym

Skipping Warmups and Cooldowns

If you're thinking, "Eh, I don't need to stretch," think again. Neglecting warmup and cooldown routines might save time, but it can increase the risk of muscle strains, pulled tendons, or other injuries. These mishaps could lead to costly physical therapy sessions, medical expenses, or missed training days that can end up costing you more time and money. 

Related: 'Healthy' Habits That Can Cause Harm

Shot of a young woman taking a break from working out to drink water

Overdoing It With Supplements

Buying excessive or unnecessary supplements, such as protein powders and shakes, without proper guidance can drain your wallet faster than you think. To avoid spending money on things you don't need, consult with a professional to determine your specific needs and long-term goals.

Sportsman Lifting Weights at a gym Gym

Not Using Free Workout Apps and Online Resources

Instead of investing in pricey fitness gadgets or specialized training programs, explore the abundance of workout apps and online resources available. Many apps such as the Nike Training Workout App and Train Fitness offer free or affordable services that include exercise routines, nutrition guidance, and tracking features — allowing you to save money while staying on top of your fitness goals.

Cropped shot of an unrecognizable woman tying her shoelaces while exercising at the gym

Not Planning Your Gym Visits Strategically

Taking advantage of off-peak hours or discounted membership rates during specific times can result in surprising savings. Some gyms offer lower rates for early morning or late-night sessions, and adjusting your schedule to fit these time slots can help you save money without compromising on your fitness routine. (Plus, early bird gets the worm, right?)

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