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Finding a fitness routine that's right for you

What to look for in contracts + gym alternatives
Posted: 5:46 PM, Jan 02, 2018
Updated: 2018-01-02 17:46:24-05

We've all done it, pop in an exercise DVD then take a break when the workout gets tough. gymGO makes cheating a little more challenging.

“You're literally on a camera from your side, they're on a camera from their side and everything you do I can see and you can see me and we can communicate,” said Donavan Cox, co-founder of gymGo.

The Columbia-based business puts a new spin on home fitness. Instead of doing it on your own, the trainer is coaching you in real-time via video conferencing technology.

“So, what we've done is put it all online, created a platform where it makes that process easy and now a trainer can facilitate a true live session online with the client and both of them can be anywhere, it doesn't matter,” Cox said.

You pick the trainer, the trainer sets their rates, and you can even split the costs with friends who join in on the session. Cox said rates are around $40-$50 for an hour and half of that for 30 minutes. Cox added that there are around 100 trainers on the platform from all around the country, giving clients the option to find someone that fits their needs, budget, and holds them accountable.

“It's form correction, it's information, it's structure, all those things are things we provide,” said Cox.

For those who thrive in a traditional gym setting, Maryland is full of them but before you jump into a new contract do a warm-up first.

“You go into a fitness center you want to ask questions. If I'm interested in yoga, are these yoga classes additional cost? If I'm interested in working with a specific weight trainer, is there an additional fee?,” said Angie Barnett, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving greater Maryland. 

Gyms are dropping enrollment fees and reducing rates to sell you on their memberships but be sure to check how long that promotional rate is for.

“Make sure that you understand what you get into now, how long does that introductory period sustain itself? And those benefits if that's the reason you're choosing one over the other,” Barnett said.

Barnett said gym complaints have gone down. There were only around 60 in the last year. She believes its due in part to regulations in the state. There are, however, still concerns when it comes to cancelling memberships.

“In the state of Maryland, the regulations specify that the gym membership cannot automatically renew without an opportunity for you to opt out so pay attention to that,” said Barnett.

In addition to reviewing and understanding the contract terms, Barnett recommends visiting the health club, taking a tour, and not giving in to any pressure to sign-up on the spot.

Also, if you travel a lot and want to stick to your resolution, airports like BWI Thurgood Marshall are now offering gyms with fitness centers at different terminals.

And companies like ClassPass give you a set number of classes per month but allow you to visit multiple gyms in the area.

For information on Maryland's consumer rights when it comes to health clubs, click here