Exercise gyms provide those who desire to improve their physical condition a very convenient way to reach their fitness goals. In fact, the number of new memberships at exercise centers and health clubs has steadily increased over the past 15+ years. Another option, of course, is to purchase equipment to use in your home. However, that option is often not feasible because of space limitations or the upfront expense required. If you keep pace with a well-planned exercise regimen, you can see ongoing, positive results for your body. A new gym membership can offer you this opportunity. It can help provide the motivation you need to utilize your investment in a friendly, yet professional atmosphere where you’re able to make consistent improvements to your health and physique.
However, not all gyms offer the same level of quality, cleanliness and customer service. Before you sign a gym membership contract, keep in mind these five things to avoid:
1. Unreasonable Contracts and Fees
The contract you sign with a gym governs the required costs, fees and length of commitment required. You want to avoid signing any contract that forces you to accept any terms that are outside your comfort zone. For instance, if the contract forces you into a one-year commitment, you may want to reconsider and look for a monthly contract arrangement with another fitness gym.
Carefully inspect the gym membership agreement. Are there hidden fees mentioned in the fine print? Ask the person offering you the new gym membership about any and all fees. Two of the more common fees are:
Sign Up Fee
You may have responded to an advertisement to join for $19.99 per month. However, a sign-up fee ranging anywhere from $10 to $70 (or more) may have been missing from the advert. This fee is quite common, but make sure it is reasonable.
Early Termination Fee
Some gyms impose an early termination fee on customers that break their membership contract prematurely. The promise of a lower monthly membership cost for signing a long term contract is attractive to many people. However, the downside is that if you drop your membership early, you are on the hook for a termination fee that may reach into the hundreds of dollars.
Know these and any other fees in advance of joining, and avoid signing any contract that imposes a potential fee that is unreasonable to you and your budget.
2. Lack of Support Staff and Fitness Trainers
One of the most important characteristics of a quality gym are the trained professionals and support personnel it has on hand to help you reach your fitness goals. Ask the front desk about the number of fitness trainers available to help customers. Observe the busiest hours of the gym and see how well the support staff is catering to the needs of gym members. Are they helpful and courteous? Or, is this help lacking or non-existent? If so, you may want to avoid joining the gym.
3. Poor Gym Maintenance
No one desires to exercise in a poorly kept or unsanitary environment. Your gym should display a professional, neat and clean appearance. As you observe everything inside the gym, take note of the equipment. Is it modern equipment? Are the dumbbells properly placed back on their racks, or are these and other items left and scattered on the ground?
It is the duty of the gym’s full-time staff to make sure all equipment surfaces are wiped down after use, including sanitizing to kill germs and bacteria. Another suggestion: check the bathrooms and shower areas. Are they clean or mediocre, or worse yet, repulsive?
Evaluate the level of maintenance performed by the staff before you join. If it is unsatisfactory, then look elsewhere.
4. Worn Out Gym Equipment
The presence of equipment that appears worn and in need of repair speaks volumes about the quality of the gym. Such a rundown appearance may also indicate a general attitude of neglect among the management and staff. Broken equipment or equipment that displays out-of-order signs should also raise a red flag. The gym owner(s) may either have a lack of funds to purchase new equipment (not a good indication of overall business) or an unwillingness to create the best atmosphere possible for their customers. If this is what you see, considering moving on to other gym membership options in your local area.
5. Lack of Equipment Availability
Although the machines in a gym may appear modern and clean, the question is: are there enough to go around for members during the very busy hours when you will be there to work out. It’s a good idea to observe the gym’s activity during your anticipated workout days and times. How long will you have to wait around to use the most popular gym equipment? Your time is precious. If you have to wait 30 minutes each time to use a treadmill or exercise bike, then you may find yourself frustrated far too often. You certainly don’t want to have to cancel your new gym membership early in your contract because of this issue.
Know what to look for in a gym before you sign a membership contract. Search for better options if you encounter any of the issues mentioned above. In the end, you want a membership option that gives you convenience, affordability and positive results for your body.