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BBB: Weigh your options carefully when choosing a gym

Posted at 9:41 AM, Jan 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-14 13:33:01-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX — It would surprise no one to know that one of the most common goals people set for themselves in January involve steps toward becoming more physically fit.

For some, meeting this goal involves the simple determination to eat healthier. For others, it will likely involve the decision to join a gym or health club. Before doing the latter, the Better Business Bureau suggests that “sweating the small stuff” may save you from trouble down the road.

According to the BBB, common complaints include billing and contract issues, difficulty canceling memberships without fees, certain fees added that consumers were not aware of, and charges that occurred even after canceling a membership.

In order the choose the right health club for you, consider the following:

Determine Your Fitness Goals. Talk with your physician first. Then, lay out your goals before you decide where to join. Lose Weight? Gain Muscle? Different fitness facilities may be able to target one goal better than another. Also, it may be important to find out whether personal trainers are certified. And, of course, always check www.bbb.org before choosing a facility.

Ask for a tour and free trial. Find out how often the equipment gets cleaned and upgraded. Check locker rooms and meet the childcare personnel. Ask about gym hours, busy times, and whether classes you want to take require an additional fee. Gyms will often give a one-week free pass. Try the gym at different times to see how crowded it gets at the hours you will use it.

Avoid High Pressure Tactics. Resist pressure to join right away. A trustworthy gym will give you enough time to try it out, tour the facilities, do some research, and make an informed decision. If you are pressured to join right away, consider walking away.

Watch for introductory rates. Gyms often use special introductory offers to encourage new members, but the price could go up more than you budgeted once the initial period is over. Make sure you understand the regular monthly fees and how your personal information is used.

Understand the contract. Take the time to read the contract carefully before signing. Will your membership renew automatically at the end of the term? Can you get out of the contract altogether, and under what circumstances? See if there is a freeze policy in case you get injured or simply take the summer off.