Contact Kim: Weighing the pros and cons of fitness facilities

Consider your budget as well as the terms and conditions of the facility you choose.
Consider your budget as well as the terms and conditions of the facility you choose.

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - The holidays mean fun and food. Even though the holidays may be over, you may be left with a little extra 'holiday love' around your waist. You may be like the millions of other people who have resolved to get the extra weight off.

Before you join a gym, do a warm-up exercise in the form of making sure you're picking the right facility for you and your budget.

First things first – before signing a contract, research the facility. Michele Mason with the Better Business Bureau said they have had complaints about gyms in the past, so it is in your best interest to make sure you have no concerns about the one you choose.

Consider your budget. This will be a recurring charge, and you want to make sure it's an expense you can afford for the length of the contract. "Weigh the pros and cons of making a monthly payment, which may be more expensive as opposed to making a long-term investment," Mason advised. If the facility goes out of business, for example, you may lose your money.

Ask around. Ask your friends and family to recommend a facility. Pick a few that align with your budget and fitness goals and visit those facilities.

Do not, however, give in to the sales pressure. Walk away from clubs that pressure you to sign a contract on-the-spot. It's recommended that you take a sample contract home with you so you can read over the terms and the fine print.

When reviewing the contract, make sure it lists all the services and fees, as well as any promises made by the salesperson. Find out what is included in the monthly fee and what, if anything, will cost extra.

"Once you come to an agreement, make sure everything is put in writing in a contract, and that you have read and verified those terms and conditions are in there, and that there aren't any others in there that may be a concern for you down the road," Mason said.

Some facilities give you several days to reconsider after signing the contract; be sure you know the deadline for your facility.

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