January 5, 2015 1:35 pm

Before you join an Ontario gym this New Year, here’s what you should know

Brent McGillivray / Global News

TORONTO – It’s the New Year, the time of year when the usually peaceful, empty gym begins to fill and you have to line up to get to the squat rack.

But if you’ve resolved to join a gym and finally get back those precious abs you lost when you turned 19, here are some things you need to know.

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January is a popular time to join a gym as people’s New Year’s resolutions commonly include shedding holiday weight.  A review of check-in data from Gold’s Gym found 40 per cent more people accessed the gym in January than December.

And according to American data, 67 per cent of people who buy gym memberships never use them.

So you probably don’t want to pay for a membership for nothing right? Don’t worry, you can get a refund.

Ontario residents are given a 10-day grace period where they can cancel a gym membership.

READ MORE: 5 tips for setting New Year’s fitness goals rather than resolutions

And you don’t have to go into the gym just to cancel. You can hand deliver proof of your cancellation but you can also email or send it by registered mail.

The Ontario government recommends against cancelling a gym membership by phone, however, so you have the notice in writing.

Maybe you made it past the 10-day grace period but still don’t want to spend the rest of the year exercising. Check your contract. According to the Ontario government’s website, it must include the following information or it can be cancelled within the first year:

  • Your full name
  • The club’s name and address
  • A full description of the services you paid for
  • Conditions of cancellation and renewal
  • The total amount that you will pay and how you will pay
  • The start and end date of each service
  • The start and end dates of the contract

Ok, so you’re positive you want to join a gym, you’ll make it past the first 10 days and you’ll be checking out your newly uncovered abs in the gym mirrors within a few months. So how do you select the right gym? Do your research.

The Ontario government recommends asking for a trial pass and maybe sitting in on a few classes or getting a free day to try things out.  Get a tour and ask questions and make sure the equipment is in working order and clean.

And you get to choose how you pay, upfront or month-to-month.  Gyms in Ontario must give you the option of paying for your membership and any initiation fees in monthly installments if you don’t have the money right away. If you do pay month-to-month it can cost up to 25 per cent more but, according to the Ontario government’s website, you don’t risk losing everything should the gym go out-of-business.

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