Health clubs, gyms, and fitness centers are wonderful facilities that help us get in shape – and stay in shape. They’re an excellent resource for upgrading our life. A lot of us don’t have enough time in our day to make sure we stay healthy. I know I’m guilty of missing gym dates. (Oops!)
And Lord knows there’s no shortage of reasons to get healthier and enjoy more relaxation. With the worries of bills that keep piling up, kids that never stop crying for food, or simply struggling to make ends meet in this hectic rat race we call life… exercise is important, now more than ever, to keep our sanity intact. It just gets really hard to sometimes.
Even so, the benefits of exercising in health facilities that help us outnumber “life reasons.”
● You reduce your risk of certain cancers
● Strengthen your bones and muscles
● You improve your mind’s intellect and cognitive function
● You lose weight (which is a biggie today)
● Improve your mood while reducing stress and cortisol (the stress-hormone)
● And more.
However, when you’re joining any one of these fine establishments, you’re going to have to pay a membership.
Maybe you already have. Sometimes, those memberships are costly – and I’m not talking just about money. I’ve been scammed by contracts quite a few times – enough to know what to look for, and how to avoid it in the future. Let’s take a look at some ways to keep you safe from falling into such scumbags.
1. Is it registered?
Sometimes you’re going to come across health spas or gyms that aren’t registered. Like it or not, it happens. (Even after you’ve already signed a contract.)
What you should do, then, is simple: alert your local attorney general, or a district/county attorney and file a violation. Operating unregistered businesses is against the law.
Find your secretary of state of get in touch with him/her. Let your SoS know what you know about any facilities that aren’t registered. They will (in all probability) make sure the facility has the proper registration.
2. Is it insured?
To put it simply, health club bonds are a form of insurance required for-profit health clubs by state governments, that facilities to protect customers (you). Let’s say that your health facility shuts down while you have 6-month membership. The insurance contract you signed legally obligates that facility to refund your money, if you wish. This ensures that all laws and regulations are abided by the facility.
Wondering which organisations require you to sign such a bond? Think fitness clubs, martial arts studios, health spas, workout gyms, and so on.
Because health club bond amounts vary state to state, you can’t judge the price of other states and think it’s the same for yours. Depending on where you live, the total bond amount can be affected by the health club’s contract terms.
This is important for ensuring you get the highest quality services, at affordable rates. Nobody wants to do business with a facility that is sub-par or below-average.
3. Are contract terms feasible?
Don’t sulk, this is vital towards your safety – ensuring you don’t get ripped off. Once you’ve had a chance to look over the contract… look over it again. I know, it’s annoying. But it is seriously worth the trouble.
Only difference is: this time around you’re looking for tiny clauses. These clauses may state that you won’t be able to terminate a gym contract without getting a letter signed by the U.S. President, kissed by Her Majesty, and used by Pope Francis as a sweat rag. (You might think I’m kidding or exaggerating… and unless you personally had to go through your own Hell once or twice… you don’t know how serious I’m being.)
What you should be looking for the second time around is for any cancellation clauses. In this clause, most spas and gyms state their preferred method of cancellation (an email, a mailed letter, etc.). If you don’t follow procedure, your account won’t be terminated whenever you want it to be.
This is exactly the reason why so many people can’t quit their gym membership: they’re oblivious to the procedure, since they weren’t keeping an Eagle’s eye view out for certain, significant clauses.
Also, be on the lookout for introductory offers. A lot of the time, people read an offer price and mistakenly think it’s the permanent price. Only to be shocked later on down the road when the actual fee price is astronomically larger.
This will also give you ample time to consider actual fees. If you sign up for a $50 a week package, that’s ~$200 a month. If you aren’t putting the time in the place, that’s money going down the drain.
Does that seem fair to you? You’re doing yourself a disservice by not reading through the contract and picking up these hidden clauses.
Even taking the time to seek the counsel of a friend or family member who’s legally literate could save you mountains of headaches. (Which is a double-bonus, because you’d be spending time with someone and you can invite them for a lunch or dinner afterwards! Lord knows we need to spend more time with people who are close to us.)
4. Do they have enough members?
Whether you’re a member of a health club or gym, it’s important to practice safely. Whenever you’re exercising, be sure that you’re exercising in a crowded room – with other participants nearby who can intervene on your behalf should anything unexpected happen. Exercising around others prevents injuries: period.
This extends beyond the work-out room… and looking at the contract you sign with a fine-tooth comb. This means taking the contract that the gym/spa facility hands you, and getting someone else’s help to look over it with you. We can always benefit from a fresh pair of eyes.
5. Do they have proper instructors?
When you’re in a fitness centre or health spa, you’re surrounded by qualified professionals who are certified to train you, and help you. Any facility oriented towards health will usually have exercise machines, such as treadmills, Stairmasters, stationary bikes, etc.
Remember, spotters and instructors are in the facility for a reason. They’re there to help us when we need it, especially when we use equipment we’ve never used before.
Use their expertise without embarrassment or reserve. You might even make a new friend! (Or at least new-found inspiration.)
Taking action and a proactive stance can save you, both in the short and long run. This is not an area that should be taken lightly, and deserves due diligence. I hope you have a clearer idea of how to prevent these mishaps from occurring in your life.