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Five ways to benefit from a gym membership

Posted January 5, 2011

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— It’s the beginning of a new year – a time when many people join gyms, hoping to lose weight and get in shape.

The Eastern North Carolina Better Business Bureau said it took more than 200 complaints about gyms last year.

Beverly Baskin, president of the Eastern North Carolina BBB, said most of the complaints stemmed from people not understanding the contract. She said people should read the documents carefully and get every promise in writing.

The BBB has five ways to get the most out of a gym membership.

1. Make sure the gym is convenient.

“If it's across town and it's not convenient for you, it may not turn out to be a good deal for you,” Baskin said.

2. Visit the gym and get a good look at the facilities.

“Are there people working out? Look at the dressing rooms, the bathrooms, are they clean? Do they meet your standards?” Baskin said.

3. Don’t fall for high-pressure sales tactics.

Baskin suggests asking to take home a sample of the contract and read it.

4. Temporary promotional offers are not always the best deal.

“Make sure you understand the small print. You may be obligating yourself to a much longer term than you would if you just went in,” Baskin said.

5. Check the gym’s policy concerning moving.

Members may have to pay if the gym has a location within a certain distance of a new home after moving. 

Lisa Stewart, who belongs to the YMCA in Raleigh, offered one more piece of advice. If working out more is part of a New Year’s resolution, make sure to follow through.

“You can’t give up in a day or a month. You’ve got to keep going,” she said.


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  • reneedaughtry Jan 6, 2011

    Quote: "The only reason gyms want you to sign a contract is so they can treat you like a substandard person."

    Come on. That is such an irrational statement. Gyms want you to sign contracts to protect their incoming money! Rational thought: Gyms are a BUSINESS. They are there to provide a service AND make money! Go figure.

    And it depends on the management on how contracts are handled. You can read that contract all day long but the ones that end up complaining? 9 times out of 10 didn't READ what they signed.

  • gnewsome1 Jan 5, 2011

    A good idea to also buy a "visitor's pass" to check out a new gym and to see how the equipment is maintained before you join.

  • apexgirl11 Jan 5, 2011

    "Sheesh, who writes this dribble at WRAL?"

    I think the word you want is DRIVEL, which means "childish, silly, or meaningless talk or thinking; nonsense; twaddle"...

  • Da Toy Maker Jan 5, 2011


    True. A lot of Gyms and other activity places have contracts. Places like martial arts schools are the same way. There are places get you to try out and then have you sign a one to three year contract. There are three Taekwondo schools in this area don't require you to sign a contract: www.triangletaekwondo.com
    By saying all of them are bad is just kind of crazy, don't you think??

  • ProudBlackSingleMother Jan 5, 2011

    The next article should read "How to get out of your gym membership"

    A lot of these gyms have predatory contracts, even the month to month gyms are bad.

    I strongly recommend that you pay month by month in cash and use an assumed name if possible.

    The only reason gyms want you to sign a contract is so they can treat you like a substandard person.

  • Keepin_it_real_in_NC Jan 5, 2011

    Hey WRAL, you missed the most imporant way to benefit...GO TO THE GYM AND EXCERCISE.

    Sheesh, who writes this dribble at WRAL?