Every year we all make a new year’s resolution to lose weight or get in shape. I am no different.  I have made that resolution myself last week and the most common way to do that is join a gym.

If you actually get to the gym to join, the first major step has been taken. Now you just need to get there regularly.  But…when you join you will have to sign a contract. Make sure you know your rights before you sign that contract. The Government of Ontario has created a webpage with those rights to help people make the right decision. If you wish to read it in detail, you can find it at Joining a Gym or Fitness Club but I am going to give you the highlights.

The first thing you should know is that you have a 10 day cooling-off period. You have 10 days after you have received a copy of the written contract to cancel the membership. Take the time to use the facilities and ensure you love it. If you don’t, cancel the contract, you don’t need a reason. When you do this I recommend that you do it someway that is recordable. For example, email it with a read receipt, or drop if off and get the person at the counter to sign that is was received and the date.

Secondly, initiation fees cannot be more than twice the total annual membership fee.  Also, the gym must give you an option of paying the initiation fees (and membership fees) in monthly installments. Take advantage of this, although some gyms will charge you more for doing this, if the gym goes bankrupt you haven’t lost the remainder of what was paid.

Third, all gym contracts must expire after one year. The gym does have the right to send you a renewal notice at least 30 days prior to its expiration (but not more than 90 days) and if you do not respond, it will automatically renew the membership. If they renew it without notice, the contract becomes void.

The last point I wish to point out is that contracts must contain certain information under the Consumer Protection Act. This includes your full name; the club’s name and address; full description of the services you are purchasing; the conditions of cancellation or renewal; the payment schedule with amounts and dates; and the start and the end date of the contract.

I hope this has helped but please ensure you read the contract! Happy exercising!!!