8. Does the club maintain good customer service policies? Staff members should have answers to your inquiries and be able to handles special requests, such as guest passes, placing a membership on hold during an illness or vacation.
9. Will you want to work out with a trainer? Make sure you know ahead of time if you want to use a gym’s personal training services. Most times, you will have to pay the gym additional money, and some gyms have been known to charge more than the service is really worth.
10. What are the educational backgrounds and certifications of the fitness staff? Trainers and instructors should be certified with one of the following: National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and/or American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) or ACE. Fitness specialists should also have an educational background in exercise science, kinesiology, cardiac rehabilitation, biomechanics, and adult physical education.
11. Do you feel comfortable in this crowd? Pay attention to the people using the club. Are they similar to you in terms of age, fitness, and attire? You will feel more at ease and are more likely to stick with your fitness plan if there’s a very diverse crowd around you or if most people are like you.
12. Does the club’s overall environment appeal to you? Clubs that provide an atmosphere where you can meet new friends, learn about wellness, and experience new trends in health and fitness will keep you coming back.
13. Does the club offer childcare? For an extra charge, more and more fitness clubs are offering babysitting services or supervised kids areas. No babysitter? No excuses!
14. How does the BBB have to say about the gym? It doesn’t hurt to check with your local Better Business Bureau to make sure there have been no complaints about the gym you are considering joining.
15. What does the contract’s small print say? While there are quite a few gyms that offer membership without signing a contract, most still require one.
It’s very important to remember that most gym contracts are nonrefundable. While a few exceptions can allow you to cancel a gym membership contract, such as moving away or an illness, a contract is a contract. Your membership will have to be paid whether you’re using the facility or not.
Be sure to inquire about student, teacher, or senior citizen discounts if you fall into one of those categories. Also ask your employer or health insurance company if you’re eligible for any gym benefits – many are offer corporate gym memberships, or will help you obtain a reduced membership rate.
Be careful about signing a long-term contract. While paying in advance will probably get you a better rate, most experts agree it is preferable to pay month-to-month. Also, when you’re presented with the contract, do not sign it on the spot. Resist high pressure sales techniques and stick to your guns — don’t sign anything until you’ve had a chance to go home or another quiet location and review it with a fine tooth comb. Additionally, it may be good idea to have someone else read over, too, just in case they notice something you don’t.
In addition to the above questions, be sure to ask any others that you have. It’s better to ask first, before you end up with a year-long commitment that you’re not 100% comfortable with.