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Body & Soul

[whitespace] Gym Rats' Escape

A health club shouldn't make you sore if you decide to quit. Avoid getting worked up in the wrong way by doing a little digging before joining. Visit when you would normally use the spa to see if it is overcrowded at that time. Notice whether the facilities are well-maintained, and note the condition of the equipment. Most clubs are eager to offer a day or week pass. Take advantage of it.

Some spas apply pressure to join right away--say, by offering a special time-limited rate as an incentive. But waiting a few days will help you make a better decision. Take the contract home to read. Most clubs will frown, but it doesn't hurt to try. Ask questions. Amend the contract to your liking. Burn up the salesperson's hour. It's your money and health at stake. What's more important?

Is everything the salesperson promised written in the contract? If a problem arises after you join, the contract will probably govern the dispute. If something is not written in the contract, do not count on its being resolved.

Can you get a refund if you need to cancel? If you move, become disabled or just want to stop using the spa, can you get out of your contract? This is especially important if you choose a long-term membership.

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From the March 5-11, 1998 issue of Metro.

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