Is joining a gym on your list of New Year resolutions? You’re not alone. January sees a huge surge in gym activity (up 50% from December). Before you sign on the dotted line, however, do some warm-ups! Last year, consumers turned to BBB Business Profiles 250,000 times to look up health clubs, fitness centers and gyms. To get the most from your gym membership, consider these tips from BBB:
- Determine your fitness goals. Determining your goals in advance will help you select a facility that is most appropriate for you. It’s a good idea to check with your physician before embarking on a new fitness regiment, especially if you have a medical condition.
- Figure out your priorities. What is most important to you? Will a convenient location and extended hours help you stick to your fitness plan? Will a variety of equipment or classes keep you motivated? Do you work out while traveling and prefer a chain with numerous outlets?
- Check bbb.org. BBB has Business Profiles on more than 15,000 health clubs, fitness centers and gyms. Locally there are 47. Read what previous customers have to say and see how the businesses respond to complaints. This information may help you narrow down the list of gyms you want to tour in person.
- Take a tour. Make sure the gym has the equipment, classes and trainers you need or expect. Pay attention to things that are important to you, whether it’s shower cleanliness or the availability of Wi-Fi. Ask questions and make sure you understand the rules. Ask about busy times, wait times for equipment, whether classes require pre-registration, availability and cost of trainers.
- Ask about free trials. Gyms often give a one-week free pass for potential members - a great way to see if membership is a good fit. Try the gym at different times to see how crowded it is and whether there is a wait for certain equipment. Check out classes if they are offered.
- Don’t feel coerced. 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 facilities, do some research and make an informed decision.
- Calculate true costs. Gyms often use special introductory offers to encourage new members, but the price could go up more than you budgeted once the initial period ends.
Make sure you understand what the regular monthly fees will be and what they include.
- Understand the terms. Read the contract carefully before signing. Make sure all verbal promises made are in writing. What matters is the document you sign, so don’t just take a salesperson’s word for it. What happens if you move or the gym goes out of business? Will your membership renew automatically at the end of the term? Can you get out of the contract altogether and under what circumstances?
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For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2017, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation. BBB of South Central Louisiana, Inc. has been serving the local community since 1950 and services the parishes of Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. James, Tangipahoa, West Baton Rouge & West Feliciana.