MINNEAPOLIS - With the new year around the corner, a lot of people are thinking about finding a gym.
But it can be hard to narrow down where you want to put your hard-earned money into a monthly fee.
First thing, and it sounds simple, but what activities do you like to do?
"Getting in shape, if you haven't been working out regularly, is like quitting a really bad habit," said Kevin Brasler, Executive Editor of the Twin Cities Consumers' Checkbook, which is published by the Center for the Study of Services, a nonprofit consumer organization founded in 1974.
It's tough, so Brasler has a five-point game plan for finding the right gym and how to stick with it.
One: Figure out what you like to do, like run, lift weights, swim, yoga, basketball, or crossfit.
Two: Think about a convenient spot, someplace you don't have to drive 20 minutes to.
"The entire fitness industry really thrives on good intentions. It thrives on people saying, 'Ah, I want to get in shape and think joining this gym - if I'm paying them every month - then that will really motivate me to do so,'" said Brasler, adding that it always helps to have a workout buddy to keep you accountable.
Three: Weigh your options. Do you want to pay for a private gym? What about a rec center? Or, maybe you just want to take certain classes? That's all fine, just don't sign a long-term deal right away.
"No matter what you think you want to do, make sure you try out the place you're thinking about joining or try out the classes you're thinking about taking, even try out the recreation center you're thinking about using," said Brasler.
Four: Compare prices of the different options and find out the rules for canceling a membership.
And, five: Make sure to check your health insurance.
"A lot of health insurance plans here in Minnesota will reimburse your costs for gym memberships if you go often enough," said Brasler.