5 things your fitness centre isn’t telling you

The industry is unregulated plus other secrets your gym is keeping from you

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From the January 2015 issue of the magazine.

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1. Anyone can call themselves a personal trainer. The fitness industry is unregulated, so ask what minimum certification is expected of staff members at the club you’re interested in joining. Walk away if they’re not required to have Can Fit Pro, CPTN or CSEP certification that teaches the basics of anatomy and injury prevention. Also keep in mind that valid certification to work with pregnant women or seniors requires additional qualifications.

2. The promotional rate isn’t always the best deal. Customers are often defaulted into nation- or region-wide memberships, explains a manager at a well-known chain of Canadian fitness clubs. “Ask for a cheaper price if you plan to visit only one location.” And if you decide to join, don’t share your banking or credit card details—try to pay for the year up front in cash. A CBC Marketplace investigation found more than 39% of gymgoers have been overcharged, with Canadian gyms siphoning off a half-billion dollars in unauthorized charges over the years.

3. Buddy up for cheaper personal training. Buying one hour of personal training with a friend can save you each about $20 per hour. It works best when you share common fitness goals. Just note the full fee still applies if your pal fails to show up for a session.

4. All those “perks” really add up. Towel service, hot yoga, steam rooms and parking add value, but they’re built into the cost of your membership. So consider a less flashy club if you don’t need those services. But if you like to swim, consider a big chain where pool access doesn’t cost more.

5. You have a 10-day cooling-off period. Gyms in B.C. and Ontario are legally required to offer a 10-day, no questions asked cancellation period. If you can’t work out for a while due to an injury, consider placing a hold on your account for a small fee of roughly $5 biweekly. It’s often cheaper than cancelling outright. All cancellations must be in writing.

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