Check these tips before you sign a gym contract

Women, including Natasha Ibrahim, left, work out at the Body Pump class at the Northwest Family YMCA at McNeil on Monday, January 05, 2015. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Women, including Natasha Ibrahim, left, work out at the Body Pump class at the Northwest Family YMCA at McNeil on Monday, January 05, 2015. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

It’s gym season, but before you sign a contract, check out these tips from the Better Business Bureau.

• Research the gym here before you sign a contract to check its history of complaints, customer reviews and advertising issues.

• Tour the facility. Check cleanliness and make sure equipment is in good condition. Go at a time you’ll likely use the facility to see if it’s crowded.

• Walk away from clubs that pressure you to sign a contract on the spot. Take a sample contract home to review before signing up.

• Make sure the contract lists all services and fees, and any promises made by the gym. Find out what the monthly membership fee includes and what will cost extra. Ask about the cancellation policy, and get it in writing.

We’ve got some fantastic fitness facilities in Austin.

 The second floor cardio area can be seen above the front desk at the Rundberg Lane YMCA. Deborah Cannon/American-Statesman
The second floor cardio area can be seen above the front desk at the Rundberg Lane YMCA. Deborah Cannon/American-Statesman

But remember, if losing weight or getting in shape made your New Year’s resolution list, you may not need a building filled with weights and treadmills to get there. Running groups, friends who like to walk, the public pool down the street or the dusty bike in your garage all offer good alternatives.

The Better Business Bureau processed more than 10,500 complaints against fitness centers, gyms and health clubs across the country in 2015, including more than 870 in Texas.

Most involved billing and contracts. Some people reported difficulty cancelling memberships without fees. Others said they were never advised of certain fees after signing a membership, or that charges occurred after they cancelled their memberships.

For more tips, go here.

Author: Pam LeBlanc

Pam LeBlanc writes about fitness and travel for the Austin American-Statesman. She has worked for the Statesman since 1998 and written her weekly fitness column, Fit City, since 2004.

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