By Christiane Cordero

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — January is a popular month to sign up for gym memberships, and according to research done by fitness app Strava, it’s also a popular month to let go of resolution-type ambitions.

Experts at the Better Business Bureau advise that consumers ask a lot of questions before signing a contract, which, the BBB’s Bess Ellenson notes, benefits consumers and gyms.

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“As a consumer, you’re not going to be able to double your rate all of a sudden. They put it in writing what your rate’s going to be every month,” said Ellenson. “And then from the gym’s side, they’re counting on your being signed up for a certain amount of time.”

And while almost every gym or health club offers New Year specials, the details beyond the deal tell the full picture.

“Some of these contracts are just for a month or two and you might think they’re easy to get out of,” said Ellenson. “Some of them, you’re signing away for a year, 18 months, or two years, and they’re legal binding contracts, and there’s really no way to get out of them. You signed it and are obligated to pay.”

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Chanhassen-based Life Time Fitness has a month-to-month membership structure. Monthly fees vary depending on the location, generally ranging from $62 per month to $150, depending on the equipment, classes, and accommodations. Life Time offers a rolling 30 day cancellation, meaning it ends 30 days after the club received notice. Members must give notice in-person or via certified mail.

Snap Fitness, also based in Chanhassen, has similar policies. It, too, is month-to-month with varying prices. Its spokesperson said rates are generally $40 per month and include a heart rate monitor and a personal training assessment.

To cancel, members must give 30-day notice, and do so in-person.

Woodbury-based Anytime Fitness has 12-month agreements, meaning users who stop going or decide they want to get out halfway through are still on the hook to pay out the contract. The membership is good at any of its 4,500 locations—145 in Minnesota.

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The cancellation process varies by Anytime Fitness franchise, so the company suggests reaching out to specific locations ahead of cancelling.

Christiane Cordero