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Sunday, February 23, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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BBB Tip of the Week: Joining a gym

By Tyler Russell BBB Northwest and Pacific

Have you made any New Years Resolutions? Is one of them losing weight or getting in shape? The choice to join a gym may be the first step on your fitness journey. There are so many options available, you could work out at home or join a gym. Don’t just sign up at the first gym you see. Before you sign on the dotted line, do your research.

To get the most from your gym membership, consider these tips from Better Business Bureau Northwest and Pacific: 

Determine your fitness goals. Doing this in advance will help you select a facility that is most appropriate for you. It’s also a good idea to check with your physician before embarking on a new fitness regimen, 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 want to work out while traveling and need a chain with numerous outlets?

Check for businesses you can trust at www.bbb.org. BBB has business profiles on more than 15,000 health clubs, fitness centers and gyms. Read what previous customers have to say and see how the businesses respond to complaints. This information will help 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 the cleanliness of the showers or the availability of Wi-Fi. Ask questions and make sure you understand all the rules. Ask about busy times, wait times for equipment, whether classes require preregistration, availability and cost of trainers, etc.

Ask about free trials. Gyms often give a one-week free pass for potential members; this is a great way to see if the gym is a good fit for you. Try the gym at different times to see how crowded it is throughout the day 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 the true costs. Gyms often use special introductory offers to encourage new members, but the price could go up more than you budgeted for once the initial period is over. 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 that 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. 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 and under what circumstances?

Make sure to find a business you can trust by doing your research on www.bbb.org.

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