Getting fit without getting fooled

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Getting fit is one of the most popular New Year's resolutions, but often times, gym memberships can make your wallet skinner than your waist.

Check your bank account because some contracts will automatically renew. You could be paying for last year's membership again this year. Some local gyms suggest you don't sign a contract, but make commitments depending on your needs.

"You always set resolutions but never do anything with them, now, it feels awesome a year later," says Gina Trimarco, talking about her impressive weight loss over 2012.

For Gina Trimarco, her health was the reason leading her into the gym this time last year. With heart disease running in her family, she was concerned about a potential heart attack.

"I schedule everything around my health, because if I don't have my health I don't have anything else," she explains.

She set out to lose 100 pounds, working towards her goal one pound at a time.

"Even though I was trying to think small, that 100 pounds scared me and I didn't think I could do it by myself," recalls Trimarco.

So, she decided to get a personal trainer to help.

"The fitness industry is very sketchy. You have people who don't really know what they're doing and say they are trainers, but, they are just trying to take advantage of the money," warns Adam Rice, the owner of Myrtle Beach Body Fitness.

Before meeting with a trainer, Rice suggest you ask to see their certification.

"Any trainer should have their certification, they should be able to show you their certificate, but it goes beyond that. It's really how you connect with your trainer," says Rice.

His gym will sit down with you to gauge your needs, matching your personality to a trainer to make you more comfortable.

"It's critical your personalities match. You don't want to see the person 3-5 times a week and think 'wow, this person sucks,'" explains Rice.

The Better Business Bureau suggests you read the entire contract and membership details before joining.

"Definitely go through your contract. If the gym isn't for you, you could be stuck paying for a gym you don't ever go to," agrees Jill Brady, an instructor with Core Fitness.

Gina Trimarco also agrees.

"Do your research because it depends on what you want. For me, I wanted to take classes, but I didn't want to pay extra for them," says Trimarco.

It's not just about paperwork and money.

"It's all about a feeling when you walk in. We make our gym feel like a family. We went on a cruise, go to happy hour together. What we really preach here is a balance of life," explains Rice with Myrtle Beach Body Fitness.

Trimarco says she tries to make it as easy as possible, getting the obstacles out of the way before joining the gym.

"Make it close to home, make sure it's affordable, and make sure it has the amenities you want to have," suggests Trimarco.

Many gyms currently have New Years specials to get you in the door.

"So many gyms you'll see say '$1 now and the rest of the year free,' they take advantage of you not coming in the rest of the year," warns Rice.

The BBB suggests you walk away if a gym tries to pressure you into signing a contract on the spot. Take it home, look it over, and think about it. You should check out different facilities to see which one better fits your needs.

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