The Real Reason Gym Memberships Are So Hard To Cancel

Joining a gym may seem like a great idea in January, but have you ever tried to cancel that gym membership? When July rolls around and you realize you haven't been to the gym in months, you aren't the only person looking to get out of your monthly contract. reports that up 67% of people don't use their gym memberships. Alarmingly, many gyms build a business model on the premise that most people won't go, and this sneaky plan generates massive income.

According to NPR, gyms try to recruit people who are not typical fitness enthusiasts, because a gym's best customer is one who stays home. Selling long term memberships isn't hard, as the director of the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics at the Wharton School, Kevin Volpp, explains to NPR, because it makes people feel good committing to something healthy. Volpp states, "They're picturing the 'new me' who's actually going to go to the gym three times a week and become a physical fitness machine." In reality, many people sign the contract, hit the gym a few times, and then continue paying monthly without really using the gym at all.

Always read the fine print

Some gym contracts are particularly difficult to get out of. If you've signed on the dotted line without glancing at the fine print, you may be disturbed to later realize the terms and conditions you've agreed to. "That's not an accident. It's something gyms want to discourage, because every day, week, or month that you remain a member, you're paying more money," explains Washington, D.C. personal injury attorney Thomas J. Simeone, of Simeone & Miller LLP (via Men's Journal).

Attorney, David Reischer, Esq. tells Men's Health that "Gym club contracts are drafted in such a way as to not allow a person to quit without suffering a penalty. They are legally binding agreements that can only be breached when the terms of the contract are unconscionable or otherwise specifically prohibited by law."

These contracts are designed to create so much frustration when trying to cancel, that for the $30 (give or take) you're paying per month, it's easier to just ride the contract out. Steven M. Katz, Esq. tells Men's Health that when joining a gym, the best thing you can do for yourself is read the whole contract, even the fine print.