The new year is when gyms have an opportunity to sign up plenty of new members, so most locations offer incentives for joining.


ome next week, the fitness industry will celebrate its own "Black Friday"—that is, hundreds of people who cling to hope of losing weight in the new year will join a gym. For current gym members, the first two months of the year are sort of a nightmare. From the busier than normal weight rooms to the difficulty to get a treadmill or elliptical machine, January and February are a little hectic. For prospective members, however, this is the best time to join, thanks to plenty of chains offering discounts and deals for new members. Here are some ways you can win while you lose.

gymGYM Sometimes you just need to ask a clerk and they will have a discount to offer.

Free Trials
If you live in a city where there are several different options of places to work out at, ask about free trial periods—many gyms offer up a day or week for free in order to entice would-be members. While this doesn't necessarily save you money, it can help you make the best choice for when you do settle on a place to give your money to.

Yearly Discounts
While most gyms have a system where you pay month-to-month, sometimes discounts will be available if you're willing to pay for the entire year upfront. This clearly means you shell out more in January than the rest of the months, but you might save more than a month's membership price.

Refer a Friend
If you want to sign up for a certain place and a friend has also been eyeballing it, you can ask about any perks for referring a friend. Then, once you've joined, recruit your friend to the same location. It's a bit sneaky, but if your friend feels slighted you can always split the reward.

Family Deals
If your spouse or kids want to get fit too, you may be able to haggle with gym staff to knock off a percentage of their price or enrollment fees since you're ultimately bringing them more business. It's the refer-a-friend discount on a slightly larger scale.