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Ready to Join the Gym? Make Sure It's a Healthy Decision
If you’re ready to embark on a healthier you, then joining your local gym can be a great place to start. But before signing that contract, make sure you know what you’re committing to. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recommends following these steps before joining a gym to help ensure your membership is something you enjoy and will take advantage of for many months to come:
Talk to your doctor and determine your goals. Before starting any new exercise regimen, talk to your doctor first, then make sure the gym you want to join has the appropriate equipment. For example, you might be ready to hit the racquet ball courts, but your doctor may advise swimming instead.
Know your priorities. Figure out what’s most important to you. Have your heart set on yoga? Make sure your gym offers classes. Need a personal trainer? Find out what the options are and, more importantly, the cost. Will you be working out on your way to the office? Make sure the shower and dressing room facilities are up to par. If the gym doesn’t jibe with what matters most to you, you won’t go for very long.
Do your research. These days, there are so many locations and options in exercise facilities, from the traditional fare to climbing gyms and spinning studios. Take your time and look around for the locations that are most convenient, with the hours that suit your schedule. Ask friends and families for recommendations and fill up on online reviews.
Take a tour and get a free trial. No review or recommendation beats a first-hand experience, so ask for a tour and a guest pass and try the gym on for size. Check out the equipment, wait-times, the classes and trainers, the locker room, the audio-visual, the crowd, etc. Pay attention to the details and make sure the gym has the right overall vibe for you.
Know the real costs. It’s easy to get sucked in by introductory offers, but read the fine print and know what the costs are after the introductory period is over. Know what the monthly fees will be, as well as any annual renewal costs.
Understand the terms. Read the contract carefully before signing and make sure all verbal promises made by the salesperson 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?
Finally, walk away from pressure. If you’re feeling coerced, walk away. According to the BBB, a reputable gym will have no problem giving you enough time to read the contract thoroughly, tour the facilities, do some research and make an informed decision.