If you're like me, you lift even when you're away from home. As a frequent traveler, I get pretty annoyed when I go to a new gym in a random city and they try to charge me $10 to lift for ONE DAY.
This is an attempt to force people to sign year long memberships rather than pay each time they go, which for 95% of the gym-going population is sporadically at best. Serious lifters who are traveling obviously don't fall in to this category, but are treated the same as the lazy masses by the numskull employee at the gym front desk.
What to do? Most people either 1. don't lift or 2. pay the bullshit price. 1 is out for anyone serious about lifting and 2. is out for anyone who knows better, which soon will be you.
To lift for free at any gym when traveling, I simply walk past the person at the front desk. 99% of the time they don't try to stop me. To do this effectively, you have to make sure to do a few things:
Most importantly, act like you should be there and are a member. Like you've been there a thousand times, so many that scanning your card is beneath you. The same way you do at your home gym.
Walk fast. The less time they have to notice you and think about stopping you, the better. Plus if you look like you're in a hurry they won't want to interrupt you and slow you down.
Look pissed off. No one wants to talk to someone who's angry or in a bad mood, much less go out of their way to stop them.
Don't make eye contact. Ignore them completely, like you didn't even see them. This makes it harder for them to get your attention and stop you. Now they're forced to chase after you if they want to do anything. You can have your phone out like you're texting as you walk by or you can be scanning the gym as if you're looking for your training partner.
Have on headphones listening to music. I don't need to do this anymore but it can't hurt. Last time the girl called after me "sir, what's your name?" but I kept walking like I didn't even hear her and she didn't come after me. I wasn't wearing headphones and it was obvious I could hear her, but she either thought I was in a hurry or that I thought she was talking to someone else, or she simply didn't want to chase me down.
Now about that 1% where they DO stop you. I say I'm a member but forgot my card. You don't want to brush them off since if you couldn't walk past them they probably are gonna make sure you belong. Remember #1 above? It's even more important now. Act like you belong. If they ask for ID say you left it in the car. Say you're gonna go get it then just drive off. If they want to look up your name on the computer make up a fake name (or just give them your real name like I do, I don't give a fuck). When they don't find it insist that they made a mistake. Say you signed up a few days ago. Never offer to pay for a day membership (it makes you look guilty but more importantly it's gonna cost you $10). Worst case scenario just leave and go to another gym in the area and do it again. I've done this countless times.
Basically, use common sense. Every gym is different, and sometimes you gotta use your intuition and think fast to decide how to handle things. For instance, if there's no way you could not see them as you walk in (say the entrance is a hallway and they are at a desk in front of the door to the gym), don't try to just ignore and walk by. Walk fast but smile and say hey and keep reaching in your pocket like you're getting your card to scan but just walk on by and pull out your phone or something. Headphones really help in these situations. You are more likely to get stopped this way though.
So there's my method to avoid paying ridiculous fees to use a gym for one day. It's a decent thrill to do this, and doesn't really require balls but I could see how someone thinks it would. I've saved literally thousands of dollars doing this over the years. I figured I would share. Now you don't have any excuse not to lift while away from home.