10 Questions to Ask Before Joining a Gym

By Bonnie Zipp

Many of you will join a gym as part of your New Year’s resolutions. As a fitness trainer with more than thirty years of experience, there is nowhere I feel more at-home than at a gym. That being said, I understand that joining a gym for the first time is a big decision and that it can be beyond intimidating for those more at home on the couch than on the treadmill. To make the process pain free (minus sore muscles, of course), here are ten questions everyone should ask before signing on the dotted line.

1. Will I be paying upfront in full or will I be paying monthly?

2. What is included in my membership fee? Will there be any additional costs for specific classes or towels, for example?

3. What is the cancellation policy?

4. What is the guest policy?

5. Will there be someone available to show me how to use the equipment? Is there a fee for this service? (Statistics show that when you are comfortable using the equipment you workout more often and get better results, so make sure someone can show you how to use the machines.)

6. Can I try the gym for a few days for free before I commit to a membership? (Some clubs get very crowded at peak times making it difficult to get on machines so be sure to use your trial when you anticipate working out the most.)

7. Is there a locker room? Do I need to bring my own lock for my locker?

8. Is there a dress code?

9. If I am travelling for extended periods of time is there a way to suspend my account so I’m not charged for the time I am away?

10. If I would like to use a personal trainer, can I bring my own in or must I use one that works here at the club? If I must use one from the club, what is the fee?

Just remember: it’s your responsibility to read the contract and, once you sign it, you are liable. (Dissatisfied with an aspect of the contract? Ask if a change can be written in.)

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