THIS morning, my mum sent me an article from a national newspaper about how the Office of Fair Trading is 'cracking down on the mis-selling of gym contracts' and how hard it can be to cancel membership.
She knew this would interest me, as I worked as a membership sales manager for a health club for a couple of years, and this was always a controversial topic.
As a sales team, we could see the argument from both sides. Of course, this is a target driven job and one that deals with people's emotions and people's money.
And with targets comes the desire to succeed. Across the board, we would often hear stories of mis-selling (not explaining cancellation procedures or what happens if you are unwell or unable to use the gym and so on).
Thankfully I worked with a very disciplined team in a great company and this was extremely rare.
But on the other hand it was always surprising the number of people that were so excited about joining a gym and embarking on a new lifestyle that they signed contracts without reading the terms and conditions.
An example of this is in January, were New Year's resolutions are on many people's minds; the busiest time of the year in the gym world.
I remember meeting a couple of friends who were joining together. Everything I showed them interested them, from the pool, to the resistance weights machines, and they had one goal in mind: to be 'bikini ready' by May.
They knew what they wanted to do and when, and their questions revolved around opening times and free spa treatments.
What they failed to ask was how long their contract was for, how to cancel etc.
I made sure I explained this in detail and gave them paperwork to read through carefully.
New legislation means that these contracts must start to become more transparent. I think this is a positive move as quite often there are people with a genuine 'need' to join a gym - whether a GP has referred them, or they may feel depressed or be overweight - and they are the ones that can feel vulnerable when starting something new.
As with anything, I guess reading the terms and conditions is important - even when you are excited!
Amy Sellu is a model from Ickenham who is classified by the fashion industry as 'plus size', that is, more than a size 10. In fact she is a size 16, and after winning the Simply Be Face Of Plus Size in 2010, gets regular modelling work and has appeared in Italian Vogue. Amy took her A-levels at Uxbridge College, has worked in the health and fitness industry and is working toward becoming a personal trainer.
Picture: © Verve-Rockabilly Photography