Buying a 2 year membership at 24hr Fitness at this point is kind of like buying a lifetime cruise package on the Titanic. When I did this video on 24hr Fitness and enumerated the serious problems with the gym franchise, I summarized by saying it was a $20/mo gym charging $52/mo. A number of people wrote in saying that you can buy a 2 year membership at a huge discount at Costco which actually lowers the cost to $20/mo. It is my duty to warn people that buying a two year membership at a poorly managed gym is a huge risk.
Signs 24hr Fitness is in serious financial trouble
- Steep discounts on long term memberships. This is EXACTLY what gyms about to go under do. In a well run gym, the yearly memberships are only at a slight discount compared to the monthly memberships. 24hr Fitness is offering a 100% discount for long term memberships!!! Its the slimy, poorly managed gyms that offer huge discounts on long term memberships and idiotic New Years promotions. How can you maintain a gym when its packed with people who are no longer paying any money? You cant! If you are not going to be in business in a year, who cares how much of a discount you have to give people to convince them to buy a 2 year membership?
- Bonds becoming worthless. Their bonds are trading at 44 cents to the dollar. What this means is that investors consider these bonds a very, very risky investment … because they 24hr Fitness might not be around to pay them off.
- They are losing members. Membership losses A gym losing members is not a gym long for this world.
But they will honor my year membership, right?
Good luck with that one. When a company declares bankruptcy, the creditors are simply out of luck. Whatever amount of time is left on your membership evaporates. You are totally at the mercy of the acquiring gym chain who may or may not honor your membership. 24hr Fitness has a history of being slimy and doing things that are illegal so you best not depend on what someone at the membership desk verbally promises you. They lost a class action lawsuit for illegally raising members “guaranteed” rates by up to 300% and last year they removed towel service from their “Super Sport” gyms despite that being part of the agreement.
Some have suggested that since Costco is a reputable and well run business, if 24hr Fitness declared bankruptcy, Costco would somehow swoop in and rescue members – best of luck with that one. Remember that Costco sells cars also. If the car turned out to be a lemon, would you expect Costco to let you return the car? Of course not, your only recourse is with the auto maker. Same with the 24hr Fitness gym membership, once you activate your membership, Costco is completely out of the legal picture.
How to choose a good gym
Walk in. If you have to talk to a “membership counsellor” then RUN and run fast! Their job is to size you up and see how much they can get out of you just like a used car salesman. If there are posters for December membership specials, RUN! No well run gym needs to resort to specials. If there are huge discounts for long term memberships, be very wary. Note that all the above is true for 24hr Fitness!
If the prices for the various membership types are written on the wall for day use, monthly, and yearly memberships then you are in the right place.
Ask if you can try out the gym before committing. If they let you do it free, great, but most will charge a day use fee which is completely fine. If they require you meet with that dreaded membership counsellor for a “tour”, RUN away. Best to workout at the time when you will actually be working out. That way, you can see how crowded the gym is and if its workable or not. Check out all the things that are important to you and dont assume that anything will get better than it is right now, even if someone at the desk promises its “going to be fixed”.
ProTip: The best bet is always going to be a locally owned mom and pop gym.