Gym Membership Tips for the New Year

With the New Year comes new resolutions, and Attorney General Mike DeWine offered advice for those planning to join a fitness center in the New Year.

“If you’re joining a gym, review the contract before you sign it, understand how long you have to cancel and whether the contract will renew automatically. If a salesperson says you can cancel at any time or use multiple facilities with your membership, make sure those claims are included in the written contract, and keep a copy for your records,” said DeWine.

In 2015, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office received approximately 170 complaints involving fitness or health club memberships. Top problem areas included billing and cancellation issues.

“The first thing that I think people should look for in a gym, is a gym that offers variety for all levels of fitness, for the whole family. We offer courses that children can attend with their parent or guardian, and we have KidzFit classes as well. We have CrossFit courses, personal training, weight training, volleyball and basketball. We have over 50 hours of assisted group classes, an aquatics program and the Silver Sneakers program, which is a chair-based class for the elderly. There really is something for everyone and I think that’s what really makes it great for our community,” said Wendi Waugh, Southern Ohio Medical Center’s (SOMC) Administrative Director of Cancer Services and Community Health & Wellness.

“We’ve added a whole host of group fitness classes, we offer kick-boxing classes, we’ve added more classes that kids can attend with their parent or guardian. Another great thing is that our group fitness schedule changes on a quarterly basis. Classes that aren’t successful or popular in our community go away, and we always replace them with something new depending on what the community wants.”

The SOMC Life Center has facilities in Portsmouth, Wheelersburg and Lucasville. “Once you’re a member of the SOMC Life Center, you can go to these facilities interchangeably, depending on where you find your community and where you find your fitness friends and the classes that you like,” said Waugh.

To learn more about the LIFE Centers, call (740)356-7650 or visit their website at

Some more tips for choosing the right gym and contract are:

  • Search for complaints on file with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office or Better Business Bureau, and check online reviews for feedback from current or past customers.
  • Read the contract carefully and make sure verbal agreements are included in writing.
  • Determine the total cost, including any extra fees for fitness classes or personal training.
  • Find out if payments will be withdrawn automatically.
  • Understand the cancellation policy and whether the contract will renew automatically.
  • Check the length of the contract. It should not exceed three years.

Ciara R. Williams

[email protected]

Reach Ciara R. Williams at 740-353-3101

or by email at [email protected]