• BBB Offers Tips to Help Gym Shoppers Avoid Scams

    by Paul Steinbach January 2019

    Amid the annual wave of New Year's fitness resolutions, Better Business Bureau Pacific Southwest has alerted consumers in California and Arizona what to look for in a gym membership. BBB director of public relations Linda Karimi told San Diego's KUSI News that consumers report high-pressure sales tactics, misrepresentations about facilities and services, broken cancellation policies and lost membership fees when gyms go out of business.

    The bureau offers guidance to help would-be gym members avoid so-called fitness scams. Gym owners everywhere might be wise to see how their own advice — and day-to-day policies and practices — measure up to the following consumer tips:

    • Determine fitness goals. Making goals in advance can help a person select an appropriate facility. It’s also a good idea to check with a physician before embarking on a new fitness regimen, especially if medical conditions are present.
    • What is most important? Will a convenient location and extended hours be beneficial in reaching a fitness goal? Will a variety of equipment or classes keep people motivated? Work out while traveling and prefer a chain with numerous locations? Identify top priorities before shopping around.
    • Check BBB has business profiles on more than 15,000 health clubs, fitness centers and gyms nationwide and 231 are located in the Pacific Southwest region. Read what current and/or previous customers have to say and see how the business responds to complaints. This information may help narrow down the list of gyms selected to visit.
    • Take a tour. Does the gym have the equipment, classes and trainers needed, clean showers and available Wi-Fi? Ask questions and make sure to understand all the rules. What are the busy times, wait times for equipment, class registration requirements, availability and find out if there is an additional cost for personal training.
    • Ask about free trials. Fitness centers often offer a 2, 3 of even 6 free pass for potential members providing customers a great way to see if the gym is a good fit.
      Do not feel coerced. Don’t give in to high-pressure sales tactics and join right away. A reputable gym will give consumers time to read the contract, tour the facility and help them make an informed decision.
    • Calculate the true costs. Gyms often use special introductory offers to encourage new members, but the price could go up once the initial period is over. Know and understand what the regular monthly fees will be and what they include.
    • Understand all terms. Read the contract carefully before signing. Make sure all verbal promises are in writing. The document one signs is what matters, so don’t take a salesperson’s word for it. What happens if a member moves or the gym goes out of business? Will the membership renew automatically? Can one cancel the contract and, if so, under what circumstances?
    • Certified trainers. Research certifications any personal trainer claims to have. When paying more on top of the gym membership, make sure the trainer is qualified with appropriate certification.
    • Never use a debit card. Be aware when using a debit card, this give the fitness center direct access to ones bank account and money. Instead use a credit card. Credit cards serve as a barrier between your money and the people who want it and some offer benefits for purchases and even fraud protection. As a whole, credit cards offer more protection than debit cards do.
    • Get a receipt. Those who don’t like credit cards, often prefer to pay for things in cash. This includes gym memberships. There is nothing wrong with cash, but always make sure to get proof of payment – ask for a receipt.

    Gym owners, what do you think of the BBB's tips? Let us know in the comments.


  • Study: Geography, Wealth Key in Fitness Divide

    by Andy Berg January 2019

    The divide between those who are able to stay fit and those who are not is clearly split along geographic and socioeconomic lines.

  • Lessons From a Quarter Century in the Fitness Business

    by Rob Bishop January 2019

    I've been in the fitness business for more than a quarter-century — most of my adult life — and I thought the start of a new year might be a good time to take a look back and see how this industry of ours has impacted me personally. I've come away with at least eight lessons learned.

  • Minneapolis PD Trials Rowing-Based Fitness Test

    by Courtney Cameron January 2019

    The Minneapolis Police Department is taking steps to implement a new physical conditioning test for new recruits.

  • Workshop Provides New Programming to Towson Rec

    by Jason Scott January 2019

    Campus recreation at Towson University prides itself on being innovative. Burdick Hall, the campus's main recreation facility, houses an "American Ninja Warrior"-inspired course, the first of its kind among collegiate recreation centers.

  • Study: Don’t Focus on Appearance to Motivate Exercisers

    by Courtney Cameron January 2019

    A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern University reports that trainers using appearance-based language to motivate women exercisers are less successful than instructors who focused on the health and strength benefits of the same workouts.

  • Emerging Technologies Fuel Rehab, Recovery

    by Paul Steinbach December 2018

    One takeaway from baseball's steroid era is that performance-enhancing drugs themselves didn't bulk up Barry Bonds, but their recuperative properties allowed Bonds to hit the weight room more frequently — and hit home runs at a record clip. Later, the oft-injured Ryan Braun would turn to PEDs as a way to not necessarily enhance performance, or so he claimed, but at least secure his place in the lineup by slowing the process of his body breaking down.

  • AB Salutes Industry Difference-Makers

    by AB Staff December 2018

    Eradicating debilitating disease. Shining a light on social injustice. Advocating for safer sports and greater access to fitness. Equipping schools to best handle life-and-death situations.

  • Boutique Opposite of 'Cookie-Cutter' Gyms

    by Antonio Fins December 2018

    Tucked into a corner of an industrial warehouse space, Steve Stoliker is perfecting his "gym-in-a-box philosophy" by training athletes and weekend warriors alike on millions of dollars worth of cutting-edge training and fitness equipment.

  • 'Get SO Fit' Program Targets Special Olympians

    by Eric Hodies December 2018

    Beginning with jumping jacks and pushups, the high-energy hour is designed to help athletes gain strength, flexibility and cardiovascular health.