Trying to Lose a Few Pounds? What to Ask before You Join a Gym

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If you’ve overindulged during the holiday season and find yourself with a few extra pounds at the start of the New Year, you’re not alone. To combat this irritation, many make a New Year’s resolution to lose those unwanted pounds and turn to a gym membership. According to the Wall Street Journal, the rate of new gym memberships is highest during the second week in January and represents a 33% - 50% increase in memberships over December. If you find yourself in this situation, then it’s important to do your homework first, before selecting a gym.

Look up the gym at to see if there are any complaints or negative customer reviews. Try to talk to people who already go to the gym you are considering. No matter how good the offer, you have the right to consider your options before joining. Before you commit to a contract, be sure to read it carefully and ask the following questions, if they are not stipulated in the contract.

  1. What are the terms of any introductory offers? Gyms often use special introductory offers to lure in new members. Just make sure you understand the terms and what the price will be once the introductory period is over.
  2. Will my membership renew automatically? Every year, BBB receives a large number of complaints from people who joined a gym and didn’t realize that their contract would renew automatically and that they would have to take specific steps to cancel their contract.
  3. How can I get out of my contract? Getting out of a gym contract isn’t always as easy as getting into one so make sure you understand what steps you would need to take to cancel your membership
  4. What happens if I move? Gyms have any number of different policies when it comes to how moving will affect your membership. It might depend on how far away you’re moving and if they have other locations nearby.
  5. What happens if you go out of business? BBB often receives complaints from people after their gym suddenly closed up shop and took their money with them. Ask the gym to explain what will happen to your money if they suddenly go out of business.

Source: BBB North Alabama and

For a list of questions you should ask yourself before joining a gym, check out BBB Tip: New Year, New Gym Membership. To report a scam, go to the BBB Scam Tracker. To find trustworthy businesses, go to