Wednesday, January 5, 2011

10 Things You Should Know Before Joining a Gym

Well it's that time of the year when we all feel compelled to shed a few kilo's that we have accquired over Christmas and New Year.  The time of year when we all make that resolution to look after ourselves better!  Before you rush out and sign up at the first gym you come across there are some things you should consider....

1. Shop around, don’t get pressured into signing up on the spot. Visit a few gyms to work out which one is the best value for you. Consider trying a casual membership for a month or a few visits to make sure it suits your needs.

2. Be cautious of “Great Deals”, some deals may not be that great once you read the fine print.

3. Read the fine print. Never take the saleperson’s word for it. Always take the time to read the gym contract. Ask to take it home to sign so it gives you time to take a really good look before committing to it.

4. Check that there is a cooling off period which allows you to cancel the membership with in a limited time.

5. Where will you be in 6 or 12 months? The gym may be in a handy location now, but consider if you will be changing jobs or moving in the next 12 months.

6. Paying up front can sometimes be cheaper but in NSW gyms are not allowed to accept payments more than 12 months in advance so you shouldn’t be asked to pay for more than 12 months at a time.

7. Direct debit sounds like a great idea, but you can be caught out with dishonor fees not only from the bank but also the gym. Make sure you consider what time of the month it will be debited and if it fits in with your own pay schedule, getting $30 worth of fees every month will make it a very expensive gym indeed.

8. If you need to cancel your membership check your contract to see what is required. Even if the contract requires you to visit the gym in person to cancel you should always do it in writing also as this will provide a record of the date you cancelled. Also be wary of any cancellation fees in your contract before you sign it.

9. Check if the gym is a member of Fitness Australia by visiting If it is a member it must comply with the NSW Fitness Code of Practice. The code requires that members give a 7 day cooling off period (if the contract is over 3 months), ensure employees are registered fitness professionals, allow you to cancel contracts in certain circumstances (such as serious illness) and resolve complaints quickly and fairly.

10. If you have a dispute with a gym, check if it is a member of Fitness Australia. If they are Fitness Australia will help nbegotiate your dispute if you submit it to them in writing. If the gym is not a member you can contact NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20 for help and advice.