Joining a Gym? Ask Questions First


Losing weight is one of the most common resolutions after enjoying tasty holiday treats. If you’re pledging to lose pounds in the new year by joining a gym, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) recommends asking some questions before signing on the dotted line.

Each January, millions of consumers crowd into gyms armed with willpower and personal goals looking towards a healthier, active lifestyle. While it’s exciting to gear up towards a goal, consumers should treat this like any major purchases. BBB received over 7,400 complaints about health clubs across North America last year.

Five questions to ask the gym:

What are the terms of any introductory offers? Gyms often use special introductory offers to lure in new members. Make sure you understand the terms and what price the service will be once the introductory period is over.

Will my membership renew automatically? Many times people join a gym, but don’t consider what happens when the original contract runs out. Some gym contracts renew automatically unless they are canceled.

How can I get out of my contract? Getting out of any contract isn’t always as easy as getting into one. Make sure you understand what steps are necessary to cancel your contract.

What happens if I move? Gyms have any number of policies for what happens if you move. It might depend on how far away you’re moving and if there are affiliate gyms you could access.

What happens if they go out of business? Ask the gym to explain what will happen to your money if they go out of business.

Five questions to ask yourself:

What are my fitness goals? Determining your fitness goals in advance will help you select the most appropriate facility for your needs. If you have a serious medical condition, consult a medical professional when setting your fitness goals.

Is this location convenient? If the gym is across town, you’ll be less likely to work out. Choose a fitness club that is convenient for you from work and home.

Can I really afford this? Monthly gym fees add up and after any introductory periods are over, the price could jump higher than your budget can handle. Do the math before you join and make sure you can afford the gym membership.

Am I feeling pressured to join? Do not give in to high-pressure sales tactics to join right away. A reputable gym will give you enough time to read the contract thoroughly, tour the facility, and make an informed decision.

Did I get everything in writing? Read the contract carefully and make sure that all verbal promises made by the sales person are in writing. What matters is the document you sign, not what you heard. 

“Remember, those who ask the right questions and read the fine print are more likely to be satisfied both inside and outside the workout room,” said Mechele Agbayani Mills, BBB.

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