New Year resolutions to get fit can often mean wasted money, with many people more likely to break their resolution than break into a jog.
Britons waste a total of £37 Million a year on gym membership, slimming classes and fitness products that are left unused and ignored.
However, it needn't cost to get fit, as there is a lot of valuable and free fitness advice available on the internet. The NHS's Change4Life fitness advice service for example– includes free programmes aimed at getting coach potatoes to run three miles in nine weeks.
- If you do bite the bullet and want to check out your local gyms, you should always ask them for a free trial to help decide if you have what it takes to visit regularly. Also remember to keep your eye open for the frequent special offers available. For example, insurer Prudential offers half-price membership to gym chains such as Virgin Active and LA Fitness if you take out its life insurance or sign up to its health cover products.
- Any gym contract longer than 12-month minimum terms is deemed unfair by the Office of Fair Trading. However, even a cheap 12 month deal can turn out to be a rip-off if you don't take full advantage of the gym.
- A flexible deal should always be sought before tying yourself into long contracts. A gym that really wants your business should agree to match other peoples offers. A continuous payment authority is often preferred by gyms – allowing them to take varying amounts of money for as long as they want from credit or debit cards. Always insist on direct debits or standing orders to ensure you have greater financial control.
- Never allow a gym to bully you. If they don't explain all the membership stipulations clearly in the contract, including the details of a long-rolling contracts after a fixed-term deal has ended. You should be able to cancel gym membership, equally if you lose a job, suffer serious illness or injury for at least two months or move home. This should be clear in contracts – otherwise you have a legal case.
- Why not try joining a cheaper council-run leisure centre or a gym affiliated to a college to see if you have the stamina to stick out the fitness regime. Perhaps you can later reward yourself with private gym membership. Councils often run city wide membership schemes so you can have access to all their facilities.
- Free fitness advice is offered by the NHS at website such as Change4Life, there are also a wide variety of websites and blogs offering advice from qualified experts. Remember ,you don't even need a gym to get fit! Go for a run or participate in sporting activities to shed pounds, they can often be much more sociable and fun too!