Lose weight, not your money: What you should know before joining a gym

Lose weight but not your money - that's the advice from Michigan's attorney general, who says you have to be careful about getting stuck with the bill. 

Many of us are making renewed vows to start working out more and getting in that recommended 30 minutes of daily exercise.  

But a word of warning before you step on the treadmill. 

Gym memberships ramp up in January, numbers show about 12 percent of new members sign up in the new month of the new year which is about 4 percent higher than any other month.

That's why Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says buyer beware.

Last year the Michigan Consumer Protection Division got 61 complaints from consumers about fitness centers. 

Most were about high-pressure sales people making promises that weren't part of the written contract.

So here's what you do, after you get the doctor's approval to begin a fitness program. 

1. Find out if the club offers a free trial period - then you can know if the club is a good fit.  

2. Look at your budget and add up all the monthly payments - $70 a month might not sound like much but that's almost $900 a year. 

3. Make sure you understand the cancellation and refund policy - if you want to quit, or you get injured- what happens? 

And after all that detective work, if you still want to join a gym, then you have to find the motivation to get up and go.

You can get help here with your Health Club Membership from Michigan's Consumer Protection Division.

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