Survey Weighs Health Clubs

by Joy Keller and Ryan Halvorson on Apr 01, 2008

Making News

According to a Consumer Reports survey, some pricey national health club chains don’t fare as well as private yoga, dance or Pilates studios. Gyms at local community centers, schools, workplaces and nonprofit centers (JCCs and YMCAs) also performed better among respondents in the Consumer Reports National Research Center’s first-ever health club survey.

The more than 10,000 respondents who had used a gym in the past 6 months reported on staff, equipment, classes, crowds, cleanliness and billing issues. Respondents (3,400) who had canceled a membership during the past 3 years reported on why they had left and whether it was easy to cancel (often, it wasn’t). Among respondents with paid memberships, 16% had encountered a problem with contracts or fees, such as an unexpected dues hike or an inability to freeze a membership during an expected absence. Almost 40% of respondents who had canceled a membership to a big gym had experienced at least one problem; for example, some kept receiving bills after canceling and for others the cancellation process took excessive time and effort.

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About the Authors

Joy Keller

Joy Keller IDEA Author/Presenter

Joy Keller is executive editor of IDEA Fitness Journal and IDEA Fit Business Success, and is also a certified personal trainer, indoor cycling instructor, yoga teacher (RYT 200) and Reiki Master. Joy joined IDEA Health & Fitness Association in 2002, and brought with her a wealth of information about how to fine-tune communication channels, after having spent her formative career years specializing in business-to-business journalism. Before she even graduated with honors from the respected University of Georgia journalism school, Joy was offered a job at one of the most successful trade publishing companies in the southeast, Shore Varrone, Inc. She made her mark in the automotive aftermarket industry as a creative thinker and journalist with an intuitive knack for researching and understanding niche audiences. Joy has worked on several titles, including Auto Trim & Restyling News, Truck Accessory News, Digital Output Magazine, Retail & Construction News, Miata magazine, Ford Racing, and many more. Her passion, however, lies with health and fitness. She was the associate editor of ACE Certified News while working at the American Council on Exercise, and transitioned that publication from a newsletter to a magazine. She has enjoyed 17 years at IDEA, where she has launched several publications, including the award-winning Inner IDEA Body-Mind Spirit Review, IDEA Pilates Today and IDEA Fit Business Success. Joy is a content creator and media 2.0 advocate who takes pride in discovering the unique information needs of qualified audiences, and she is dedicated to serving those needs while following the highest available standards.

Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson IDEA Author/Presenter

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor. He is a long-time author and presenter for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, fitness industry consultant and former director of group training for Bird Rock Fit. He is also a Master Trainer for TriggerPoint.