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BBB Tips on Joining a Fitness Facility

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The Better Business Bureau offers tips to help you select a fitness facility that best meets your needs.

Determine your fitness goals. What are your fitness goals?

  1. build endurance
  2. increase strength
  3. become a better tennis player

Now, ask yourself: How will I accomplish my goals?

  1. swimming and/or water aerobics?
  2. strength training?
  3. yoga?

Note: If you have a serious health condition, consult with a medical professional when setting your fitness goals.

Vetting a Gym or Fitness Facility

Consider your budget. What monthly amount can you comfortably devote to physical fitness?

Walking Silhouette Shop around. Ask friends and coworkers to recommend facilities and pick three that appear to align with your fitness goals and budget.

Check out the facilities. Visit each club on a day and time that you plan to use it to see how crowded it is. Is it conveniently located? Do you like the equipment, classes, amenities (child care, personal trainers) and hours of operation? Are you comfortable with the atmosphere and clientele? Note the cleanliness and condition of the equipment, work-out area and locker room, as well as staff member availability.

Talk to members. Are they satisfied? Have they experienced any problems?

Interview staff. Are staff members friendly and helpful? Ask about their qualifications, certification and education.

Review the contract. Walk away from clubs that pressure you to sign on the spot. In fact, take a sample contract home to read it thoroughly. Does it list all services and facilities and the hours of operation? Is everything that the salesperson promised in the contract? What is included in the monthly fee and what's extra? What's the total cost and payment schedule, including enrollment fees and finance charges?

Membership details. How long is the membership term? Can you go month-to-month? Some facilities give customers several days to reconsider after signing the contract; if so, get it in writing.

Cancellation policy. What are your cancellation rights if you move away, are injured or the club closes? Will the unused portion of your membership be refunded? Those details should be in the contract. Finally, find out if the club meets state bonding and licensing requirements. And, always check with the BBB for a report on the facility before making a purchasing decision.

Reprinted courtesy of the Better Business Bureau. For more information, please visit Bbb.org.

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Disclaimer: The material on this Web site is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or fitness professional. Please consult with your physician before beginning any fitness program or fat or weight reduction program. FitnessandFreebies.com takes no responsibility for individual results, or any claim made by a third party.