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Do Not Sign Any Gym Contract Before You Read This

August 20th, 2007 · 11 Comments ·


After sharing 10 Tips To Choose A Good Gym, let’s look at the contract. Every health club requires you to sign a membership contract before you can start working out. A good contract can protect both the interests of the gym and your right.

Here are top 6 things you should be aware of before you sign a gym contract:

1) Bargain for the best deal.
Negotiate with the salesperson. Ask whether any student package or retiree membership is available. You can often get reduced rates. If the salesperson gives you free gift, either you get it on the spot or be absolutely sure anything you agree on written into your gym agreement.

2) Do not sign if you are under pressure.
If you are under any sort of pressure to sign or hear things like these “This deal is for today only and you have to sign up now.” Don’t bother, walk away. Take the contract home with you to read carefully. You are the one who pay. So, never sign it under pressure.


3) Find out the flexibility of payment.
If you can afford, ask whether monthly membership, which you pay as you go, is possible. This is the best option if you are not sure if you are going to commit to a club for 2 or 3 years.

4) What happen when the contract expires?
Find out if the membership automatically rolls over when your contract is completed. This means you will be signed up again automatically even if you do not want to be. You may have to write in officially to cancel the membership.


5) What if you want to cancel or freeze your membership?

  • Check out whether the club allows you to cancel you contract within 3 or 7 business days without penalty. Some gym will give partial or prorated refund.
  • Also, find out whether you can freeze your membership when you are pregnant (for women), injured or when you will be away for months.
  • If you can’t cancel the membership, ask whether you can sell or transfer your membership.
  • In rare case, your gym may move across town and making the gym inaccessible to you. Check what your rights are – does it allow you to cancel the contract?

6) Read the contract.
Last but not least, don’t trust the sales person. Always read the small little words – the fine print.


If you find anything in the contract you don’t understand, don’t be shy, ask for an explanation. It is your money. So, take your time and get things clear before you sign any gym contract.



Category: Gym Going

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11 responses so far ↓
  • Angie Tan // Aug 20, 2007 at 1:41 PM

    Cool tips!

    However, I was pressured to join a gym, not by the sales person but by my mom.

    Anyway, be well aware that after you join, they will continue to “inform” you of other membership options. So, best to ask carefully about the new options too.

  • kim safford // Oct 27, 2008 at 8:12 AM

    I signed a contract with the fitness center not reading it at all but the next couple days how can i get out or is it to late.

  • Mun // Oct 27, 2008 at 9:21 AM

    Hi kim safford: Check whether it comes with any 30 day full or partial refund clause.

  • kim safford // Oct 27, 2008 at 11:07 PM

    yes, but it states that if u choose to cancell u have to do it within 3 days, and if u are a person like me all those days are taken. I am a full time student , have a full time job and 2 children so i really didn’t have time to read until that third day late that night. when i realized what i had signed i tryed calling that morning to the gym but the trainer would not return my call that was the same day he wanted me to come in but i cancelled then i called the 1800 number and they told me to call the personal trainer but he will not return my call. is there a law for this because i was really mislead the way he told me is that i would not have to pay unless i attended but when i read a couple of days later i read other wise. Please tell me what can be done if any thing.

  • Mun // Oct 27, 2008 at 11:26 PM

    To kim: It look as if you are bound by the contract. I suggest you to talk to the sales person/personal trainer nicely and see what they have to say. Explore the possibility of selling to others (by transferring your membership).

    Talk to friends who have joined the same gym and see whether they have known anyone in the similar situation like yours.

  • kim safford // Oct 28, 2008 at 9:14 AM

    Ok what you are saying i can transfer to someone else that is cheaper and get my price reduced because every time i call to the gym the trainer will not talk to me for some reason it’s like he can’t just say I Got Cha I don’t know but I was trying to talk to him to see if I could change my contract to just 1 day a week but he never returned my phone call. I really don’t have $280.00 a month to give no one so I guess they will be sending me to the collection agency because the transaction their trying to take now is still pending because I don’t have any money in the bank. My credit is already messed up from school loans and credit cards.

  • kim safford // Oct 29, 2008 at 1:35 AM

    I got a call from the gym manager saying that if i’m not a member at their gym I can’t use my personal training there and she wants me to sign a 2 yr contract to become a member when I told her no she got an attitude saying ” Just come up here to the party that we are having tonight and we can talk about it because you really do need to become a member before you can use our gym.” What’s the next step I need to take…

  • thomas shepard // Oct 31, 2008 at 10:07 AM

    To Kim (and everyone else too):

    Where do you live? Check the laws in your state. You might find something useful.

    I live in California and am currently very disappointed because I want to join what is obviously the finest club I have ever seen. It’s called LifeStyleRX. Unfortunately, they have just one very huge flaw, their contract, which, like most fitness-center contracts, as outrageously onerous, is also blatantly illegal in California. Unfortunately, I can’t get them to negotiate with me, as they are blissfully ignorant of the fact that their contract is illegal. The management and staff there are evidently highly qualified technically, very friendly, but regrettably unable, it seems, to read.

    I am very glad I did not sign before reading the fine print, but also very sorry that I cannot do business with this otherwise fine establishment. Actually, the facility is so nice, that I am seriously considering hiring an attorney at my own cost just to try to talk some sense into these folks so that maybe we can work something out.

    Anyway, back to the original point. If you live in California, take a look at
    It gives the consumer many rights and remedies and applies, EVEN IF YOU HAVE ALREADY SIGNED THE CONTRACT. You owe it to yourself to check into the laws in your own state.

    Example from LifeStyleRX:
    Contract states right to cancel within 3 days. That turns out to be FALSE. CA law dictates 30 – 45 days for this contract (depends on value of contract and in no case is ever less than 5 days). This just scratches the surface.

    If you email me, remove the letters “NOSPAM” from the email address I listed.

  • Qhairyl // Jan 18, 2009 at 4:51 PM

    What’s up mun? I have a problem with one of the gym that my parents had signed up for membership. A year ago my dad bought a membership and the sales person convinced my dad to invite my mom to join along. but knowing my mum, she is the kinda person who lose interest easily after some time. So the ONLY reason my mum agreed to sign is because the sale person say that “YOU CAN TRANSFER YOUR MEMBERSHIP TO YOUR SON”.

    So, they bought the membership with 3 year contract which the credit card company had fully paid to the gym. Within the first year my mum only went to the gym twice! My dad got fed up and asks the gym to transfer it to me. Surprisingly, the management said that THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS “TRANSFER” YOUR MEMBERSHIP !! We got so pissed off, and the saleperson that sold us the membership had quit long time ago.

    What should i do? Its a really waste of money, and felt like we have been cheated by the gym and the sweet talk of their employees. I think since u have a great blog here, u should warn your readers about not to sign up to gym that gives contract like this one. they don’t care bout the customers anymore because they already got paid from the credit card company! Should i mention the gym name? I’m so pissed off.

  • jessica // Apr 1, 2009 at 6:31 PM

    hi…im looking for a gym…so i can live healty..
    but, after i read the blogs..
    im afraid to commit to the gym…just in case i have leave tha country or cannot cope with with my work..
    at the moment im quite free…
    i checked out celebrity fitness…long time ago..
    it was the exact words as the lady on earlier blog said…
    wow! it is pure sales man technique…
    i don wan to b chaeted…

  • John // Apr 30, 2011 at 8:04 AM

    I signed up at a gym called Fitness works here in Az. I only wanted a month to month membership. I paid for the intial sign up 49.00. and after several months went in to cancel. They took my signature off the electronic pad and placed it on a 15 month contract. The new guy who signed me up could not even give me a copy of my credit card and now I am in a battle. Any suggestions or help. That gym really has tiny lockerrooms and if anyone is looking to join don’t.

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