Joining a Gym for the New Year? The BBB Shares a Few Tips on Mak - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Joining a Gym for the New Year? The BBB Shares a Few Tips on Making the Right Choice

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With the writing of New Year's resolutions comes the time that many are looking at joining a gym or other exercise program.

However, the BBB warns that consumers should be cautious when signing up for these types of programs. The BBB says more than 7,800 complaints have been filed in the past year against health clubs.

According to the BBB, most of those complaints involved difficulties in canceling memberships or other billing disputes.

Jim Hegarty, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau, says it is important to make sure the gym you are signing up for is a good fit for you and your budget.

"Joining and obtaining the full benefit from a health club is commitment. You want to spend your time focused on your weight loss and exercise goals, not complaining," Hegarty said.

Before you sign a contract at a health club, the BBB has a few tips to consider:

  • Determine your fitness goals. It's hard work to lose weight, and you need to find a program you can stick with and preferably one that you enjoy. Find a health club or exercise facility that is convenient and that offers times that fit your schedule.
  • Visit the facility before joining. Check on cleanliness, adequacy of space, machines and instructors and any other factors important to you. Ask if you can try the facility out before you join.
  • Consider your budget. Ask the health club about "joining" or enrollment fees and ongoing monthly costs. Does a weight loss plan require you to buy special foods? Can you cancel if you move or find that the program doesn't meet your needs? If the facility closes, can you transfer your membership to another facility?
  • Read the entire contract. Does it list all services and facilities and hours of operation? Is everything the salesperson promised included in the contract? What's included in the monthly fee and what will cost you extra? What is the total cost, including enrollment fees and finance charges?
  • Check with the BBB first. Check a company's Business Review at


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