One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight, and Iowans who are now looking into health club memberships are warned to read everything carefully before signing a contract.

Consumer protection advocate Mike Domke says it’s essential to do your research on the gym before signing anything.  “Look at the fine print on what their agreements are, what that particular promotion is, understand the cancellation policy,” Domke says, “so if you get to June, you find out you’re not going, do you have an opportunity to cancel it.”

It’s important to give a gym a trial run for a week or two before signing the contract, Domke says, and that’s something most reliable gyms will offer you. “You don’t want to pay and end up at a gym where you do a few exercises or workouts and realize this isn’t for me,” he says. “So understanding what your goals are and then finding a facility that matches that.”

If you’re not careful, Domke says, you could be on the hook for an expensive, lengthy contract, so know what questions to ask first.
“Is there an initial signup fee? What is the monthly fee? What is the cancellation? What is the term?” he says. “All of these are going to be really important in case you find out that something happens that you don’t want to go anymore.”

A recent study found about 80% of resolutions fail by the second week in February, while different research shows that on average, it takes about 66 days for a new habit to become automatic.