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Every week, join Whitney Quick as she helps you navigate life as a smart consumer. You'll cover everything in avoiding the latest scams, including phishing emails, medical equipment fraud, understanding layaway, hiring a reputable tax preparer, and even digital spring cleaning. Add to your toolbox and flip through your Consumer Handbook Thursdays during NPR’s Morning Edition at 6:42 a.m. and 8:42 a.m., only on KRCU.

Consumer Handbook: Joining a Gym


If this is your year to take control of your weight and fitness, more power to you. Most likely, you’ll need a commitment to exercise regularly. Better Business Bureau (BBB) has tips to help you determine which gym or health club is the best place to keep you on track.

Make sure you’re healthy enough for an exercise program before you start. If you haven’t been active for a while, check with your doctor before starting anew.

Before you sign up at a local gym or fitness club, take time to investigate the facility. Every year, BBB receives numerous complaints about health clubs or gyms that closed abruptly or refused to cancel a contract or provide refunds. Other complaints included inadequate or sloppy maintenance of equipment or facilities.

Take time to visit the facility before you sign a contract. Check locker rooms and workout areas for cleanliness. Are clean towels provided? Are there enough machines to permit everyone to use them, even at peak times like early morning and after work? Are classes or personal trainers available to help you reach your goals?

Consider the hours and days the gym is open. Can you work out at times that fit your schedule? Read over any contracts and understand terms and conditions. What happens if you move or decide that the club isn’t for you and you want to go elsewhere? If the gym closes, can you transfer your membership at another location? Ask whether the cost will stay the same throughout the contract. Many gyms and fitness centers offer introductory rates at the beginning of the year, but regular rates kick in after a few months.

Cape Girardeau native Whitney Quick is the Regional Director of Better Business Bureau in Cape Girardeau, MO, and is responsible for outreach efforts in Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois. Quick is a graduate of Cape Girardeau Central High School and Southeast Missouri University where she majored in public relations. Quick enjoys helping educate consumers in the southeast Missouri region by sharing consumer tips with groups and educating them about BBB’s resources.