Gym Contracts; Not for the People

I can remember it like it was yesterday. The first gym I ever joined was The Iron Raider gym in South Jersey. It was a real gym – all iron weights, loaded with serious athletes and body builders. The clanging of the weights was glorious. I knew the name of the owner, an ex-football player and pro bodybuilder, and he was always there. I was in high school and had a job and paid for my gym membership out of my own pocket. I paid my gym dues out of my pocket in cash at the beginning of every month, and sometimes I would come up a little short on that first day of the month. The gym owner would smile and say, “No worries, Billy. I know you are good for it. Get your work out in and try to get it to me by the end of the week.” And, I would every time.

Fast forward to 2009, and I am in a “fitness center”, not a gym anymore. There is a tanning salon just inside the entrance, a huge tv projector plays behind my shoulder, and a client is literally begging me to stop the gym from continuing to withdraw money out of her bank account so it is not overdrawn every month. Her husband has been laid off for months, she has just lost her job, and she has one child with another on the way. I was only her trainer, but felt her pain and talked to the staff for her. Their response was there was nothing they could do to stop the unrelenting attack on this poor lady’s checking account. She had signed a contract.


This is ridiculous. An industry that is supposed to deliver to someone one of the greatest experiences you can have in life (building a strong body) has morphed into an industry that mows people down. I wish I could say that this experience is not the norm in the industry, but I don’t know if I can find a friend who has not been a victim of the gym contract.


If you move and want to cancel your contract, you will be degraded once again by the facility that is supposed to be improving your life. You might have to do anything from get a note from an employer, to send in proof of new residency, to chopping off a finger and sending it postmarked from a location at least three time zones away from the gym with which you are trying to sever ties.

It’s all about the money.

In 2010, I was entertaining the idea of opening a training facility. I was meeting with investors, trying to assemble staff, and basically writing out a business plan for what would be a training facility that complements my excellent training methodology. Nearly everyone in the industry, including trade magazines, advised me to CONTRACT all members. I was told that the people who joined would not consistently come and would try to stop paying, so I should bind them through a contract and make it difficult or nearly impossible for them to break it.

Innovation leads the way.

At that point I thought that creating something I anticipated having to force people to pay for is ridiculous. I was baffled thinking that instead of resorting to some bully tactics to keep people paying for a resource that is ineffective, people should be provided a real solution. The Wellness Institute for Economic Growth seeks to educate, inspire, and set free. Armed with the right information and the truth about what people can do to make their bodies strong, The Wellness Institute for Economic Growth believes everyone can get and stay fit. Tell your friends about us.

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