Corporate gyms care about coin, not your health
Franchise gym trainers have become salesmen and scammers
Choosing to get in shape and be more active can be a big decision in many people’s lives. Sometimes the hardest part isn’t actually working out — it’s trying to choose the right gym.
We all struggle to gather cash for everyday needs, let alone the gym. Penny-pinching budgets cause us to want to know exactly what we are paying for and how much it’s worth.
The terrible reputation of the fitness industry is growing. From the student’s perspective, it’s well deserved. Gyms seem to be caring less about our health and more about our wallets. Kate Holowaty, a third-year journalism student at Mount Royal University, quickly learned that most commercial gyms are just trying to scam you and take your money after her experience with World Health.
“No matter what way you slice it, or what angle you take about World Health memberships, it is always a bad deal. They don’t give a fuck about you, and they don’t care about you,” said Holowaty.
Holowaty explained she was pressed to sign a 12-month personal training agreement by a World Health employee. The employee used the fact that she was a student to get her to sign the contract.
“It was such a weird vibe. He was pressuring me to sign up, which I don’t think was fair or was right, business wise,” said Holowaty.
Holowaty ended up signing up for something she didn’t actually need.
World Health seems to be targeting student pocket books, by using “deals” and “promotions” to get them into the door.
“There are special promotions for students that allow them to pay month-to-month, no commitment is required,” says one Calgary World Health manager.
When asked over the phone how someone would get out of contract, such as Holowaty’s situation, the manager said that each contract has different circumstances, and that “it’s hard to give specifics” about the question. The manager went on to say that if a person wanted to know more about cancellation and other fees, they would have to visit a World Health location to talk about joining.
The biggest problem with commercial fitness centres is they are designed to lure you in as a mass consumer.
If you are looking to pay for a personal trainer at a chain gym, be warned. You may have to pay an arm and a leg before you actually work with them and see results.
A former franchise gym employee, who wished to keep their identity private, says that while working, they were told to focus on long-term financial goals — not so much long-term client health goals. The former employee says they felt pressured by others to endorse more sessions and personal training to clients.
Make sure that you are looking closely at commercial gym contracts and read over the fine print. Don’t let them scam you into a “special promotion” cost because more often than not you, you are actually paying more than a normal fee.
Consider only paying for drop-ins, with a no-contract attitude, if you might change gyms within the next two to four months.
Be especially diligent when learning about a gym’s cancellation procedures. Be warned that they can legally charge you up to two months extra after you have filled out the cancellation paper work.
World Health requires you to give the gym a 30-day written notice of cancellation, so the company can charge you an additional member fee on top of the usual $150-$250 cancellation fee.
Personal training also affects cancellation, making it harder to back out. If you have a trainer, you must consult with that location’s management personally to retract your membership. Hopefully your schedule works with theirs, or you might be waiting around for a long time.
Screw the franchise gyms, like they have screwed over so many others, and stick to working out on campus. Most university gyms don’t require you to sit through a sales pitch.
At MRU, full-time students have access to the fitness centre, volleyball and basketball courts, pool facility, climbing wall and other recreation areas. Students can also sign up for a number of different group classes, at a discounted price.
If you are not a student, don’t worry! Memberships and passes are available to the public. There are different passes for everyone, from punch passes all the way up to annual passes. There is no credit card required for signing up, and you can renew monthly instead of committing to long-term deals.
Overall, when picking a gym, don’t go along with everything right away, take the information home, go over it with someone else, and seek out other places before you sign anything.