When I was in college, my best friend joined Bally's Total Fitness. After signing her life away for a plastic water bottle and the promise of a six pack, she quickly realized that she wasn't about to drag her ass across town to spend her mornings running to nowhere. She tried everything to get out of the devil-designed contract — she told them she came down with E. coli (come back when you're better!), she said her mom was sick and she had to travel cross country to see her (come back when she's better!), and finally she settled on forging a letter saying she'd gotten the job as a stage manager with the touring company of Cats. That worked. (Oh, btw, the first two things that didn't work? They were true.)
Well, times they are a changin', at least in the U.K., where three big health and fitness corporations are being forced to improve their customer contracts after an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). They've agreed to offer better cancellation rights and make their contract terms more transparent. Instead of 50 pages of contractual double speak that amounts to being told that sucking the devil's dick is the only way out (and only if you do it on High Holy Days!), the terms must now be clear and easy to understand.
These changes also make it possible for people to cancel contracts if they lose their jobs or suffer injuries. It's kinda crazy that those things were excluded to begin with, but there you have it.
Me? I choose to skip the charade and just Sweat to the Oldies in my living room. Work it out: