BBB: When choosing a gym, sweat the small stuff

Posted at 10:26 AM, Jan 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-08 13:40:48-05

Looking to join a gym in 2019? Many people are as they work to meet goals that include getting into better shape in the new year.

But before you think about signing up for a gym membership, the Better Business Bureau suggests that you weigh your options carefully.

When choosing a health club, the BBB notes that it is important to take a few preliminary steps, including:

  • Checking There, you will find Business Profiles on more than 15,000 health clubs. Read customer reviews and see how the business responds to complaints.
  • Determining Your Fitness Goals: Talk with a physician, if need be, and then decide the best way to go about meeting your goals. Are you hoping to lose weight? Gain muscle? Increase endurance? Different fitness facilities may be able to target one goal better than another, and you would do well to choose one that will help you get where you ultimately want to go.
  • Taking A Tour: Always start with this request. This will help you know what to expect when it comes to available equipment, classes and trainers to help with your fitness journey. Also, check the cleanliness of the gym floor and locker rooms. Ask about gym hours, what times they are busiest and whether classes you want to take require an additional fee.
  • Asking About A Fee Trial: Gyms will often give a one-week free pass if you ask. This is a great way to see if the gym is a good fit for you. Try the gym at different times in the day to see how crowded it gets at the hours you will likely use it.

The most common complaints received by the BBB cover billing and contract issues, difficulty canceling memberships without fees, certain fees added that consumers did not expect, and charges that occurred even after ending a membership.

When deciding on which health club is right for you, try to:

  • Avoid High-Pressure Tactics: Do not feel as though you must join right away. A trustworthy gym will give you enough time to read the contract thoroughly, tour the facilities, do some research and make an informed decision. If you feel pressured to join right away, consider walking away.
  • CalculateThe True Costs: Gyms often use special introductory offers to encourage new members, but the price could go up once the initial period is over. Make sure you understand what the regular monthly fees will be and what they include.
  • Understand The Terms: Take the time to read the contract carefully before signing. Make sure that all promises are in writing. 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? Are there are additional fees you were unaware of?

Got a question for the BBB? Contact Regional Director Kelly Trevino at or call (361) 852-4991.