Don’t Get Scammed At The Gym.

Two women exercise together. One is doing sit ups while the other supports her.

Many gyms are reopening in our area as we progress through pandemic phases. Whether you already belong to a gym or are considering joining one, beware of these five subtle scams.

The free trial. Free gym trials can end up costing you a pretty penny. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns against sharing your credit card information with a gym that’s offering a free trial, since many will start automatically charging you a monthly fee unless you remember to cancel your “membership” within a certain timeframe.

The fix: Read the fine print on free trial offers. If possible, only take advantage of a free trial offered without asking for any financial information.

The no-cancellation policy. Many fitness centers will not let you out of a contract until a full year is up. You’ll be stuck paying for it, even if you develop a medical condition or you end up moving out of town.

The fix: Before signing up for a membership, ask about their cancellation policy. If it’s too rigid, look for another gym.

“Certified” personal trainers. Another way gyms get you is by charging you extra for the service of an on-staff personal trainer. The catch? Lots of these “trainers” have not completed their certification process, or may even be completely untrained!

The fix: Before signing up to work with a personal trainer, ask to see their certifications. Look for NSCA, ACSM, NASM and ACE.

No health-history form. To avoid getting sued for exercise-related injuries, many fitness centers have stopped making new members fill out a health-history form and a PAR-Q-a standard questionnaire for exercise readiness. This way, instead of reviewing members’ health histories and lifestyle details so they can direct them toward appropriate machines, gyms have effectively absolved themselves from exercise-related injuries.

The fix: Be wary of gyms that don’t ask any questions about your basic medical history or lifestyle. 

Equipment-maintenance fees. Lots of fitness centers have started charging members a quarterly or monthly equipment-maintenance fee on top of their membership dues.

The fix: Ask about any potential extra fees before signing up for a gym membership.