Tell Me How To… Join A Gym

Our own expertise is limited, but the knowledge and experience of the Consumerist community is unlimited. That’s why we’re turning to you, the Consumerist Hivemind, to provide guidance and help solve readers’ problems. Today’s question: how does the wise consumer choose and join a gym while getting the best deal and avoiding shady practices?

Reader Mark lifted his puny arms to his keyboard and wrote to us:

Searching consumer review sites, the available chains have TERRIBLE reviews, mainly concerning the difficulty of severing the business relationship. The only thing I can think of, will sign up with a prepaid debit card so they don’t have unlimited access to my bank account.

An easier alternative than reloading and paying fees on a prepaid debit card would be to use a regular old credit card if you have one…especially one with a limit that’s relatively low so the company can’t go yanking all of your money out with a typo. You’ll have one billing period to notice and fight back against any errors before you have to pay any interest.

What about finding the best gym and the best gym deals?

There’s no need to submit suggestions of “just walk around outside” or “hit a tire with a hammer in your backyard” – we’ll presume that if someone is asking about joining a gym, they want a change in scenery.

Members of our comments beta test panel can comment here on the post, and people who don’t have accounts yet, who don’t comment, or who want to keep their advice totally anonymous can send their tips to Put “HOWTO GYM” in the subject line. We’ll publish the responses in a future post.