How to get out of a gym contract

Have you been there?  You know, fed up with the way you look and feel?  Eager to change your life? Finally motivated to do something about it?  If you have, you have likely done something about it.  A lot of us in a situation like this will run right to our closest 10$ bargain gym in the attempt to change ourselves.  You spend a few weeks or a few months chipping away at long tedious bouts on the treadmill (that you could do for free in your neighborhood).  You quickly become frustrated with the lack of results and bored with the lack of stimulation.  Then it happens.  You fall of the wagon for whatever reason and now you are paying a monthly payment for something of no value to you.


People join a gym with the intention of getting the most out of their memberships, but most stop going to the gym regularly before their contracts expire. Most contracts include a monthly fee for at least 12 months from the date of joining. Since a contract is a legally binding promise to do something, you cannot simply stop paying your monthly fee if you no longer want to use the gym. In order to get out of the contract, you will either need to have the gym agree to terminate it, or else have a legal excuse to allow you out of it. It can be a bit of a challenge to get the gym to allow you to get out of the contract without a financial penalty, but in many cases, it can be done.

Determine when the contract began. Most states have laws that allow you to get out of a contract without a penalty or termination fee within a certain number of days after the contract began. These laws vary by state, so check with your state’s Department of Consumer Affairs to determine if state law will allow you out of the contract without a penalty. Some states, such as California, have laws specifically related to gyms or health clubs. If your state does allow for a penalty-free termination of the contract, follow their procedures for canceling the contract.

Review your contract. When you sign up for a gym membership, you need to sign a contract. The terms of this contract will vary from gym to gym and plan to plan, so make sure you thoroughly understand your personal contract. If you no longer have your contract, the gym should be able to provide you with a copy. If they can’t, it may be a legal violation; contact your lawyer.

  • Gym membership contracts can range from the relatively short term (a couple of months) to a year or more. Monthly fees and any additional fees charged by the gym can also vary.
  • Most gym membership contracts have a cancellation clause written into them. This clause will explain how the member can cancel the contract. Often, the contract will have a cancellation fee written into it, sometimes called an early termination fee, that the member must pay in order to cancel the contract. If the contract has this clause, you should evaluate whether the cost of the early termination fee is less than you would pay for the remaining monthly fees in order to determine whether it makes financial sense to cancel the membership.


Ask to speak to the manager. If you have extenuating circumstances that make it impossible for you to use your gym membership (i.e., sudden disability, a job transfer), ask to speak with a manager or another person with authority to cancel contracts at the gym.

  • Often, if you have a legitimate reason for being unable to use your membership, the manager will be willing to work with you to come up with a solution. Legitimate reasons may include an injury or medical condition that does not allow you to exercise, moving out of the area, or serious complaints about the gym itself. You should be prepared to back up these excuses for not using your gym membership in case the manager requires proof of some sort in order to cancel the membership.
  • In some cases the manager may be able to waive the cancellation fee or reduce it. If you need to cancel the membership because it is too costly, the manager may be willing to reduce the fee in order to keep you as a member. If the manager offers you a reduced monthly fee, or agrees to waive or modify the cancellation fee, make sure to get it in writing and have the manager sign it.
  • If the manager is unable or unwilling to help you, consider speaking with someone at the gyms corporate headquarters.

Continue paying the monthly fee until the contract is canceled. Remember that by entering into the gym membership contract, you agreed to pay a fee every month for the length of the contract. Until you have officially canceled the contract, you are legally bound to pay your membership fee. By canceling the credit card they bill or refusing to remit payment, the gym will likely use a collections company to get the money from you and will be unwilling to work with you on a mutually agreeable cancellation of the contract. Pay your bill as scheduled until you have canceled the membership.

Confirm the cancellation of the contract in writing. Once you have either paid the cancellation fee or negotiated with the gym for a reduced or waived fee, you should follow up with the gym in writing.

  • Write a letter to the gym that includes your membership information, such as a membership number, the date you joined, etc.
  • State that you are writing to cancel your gym membership. Either state that you have paid the cancellation fee or that you are enclosing the fee, or that you came to an agreement with management to reduce or eliminate the fee.
  • Be sure to include the name of the manager with whom you spoke. If the manager signed a document regarding the fee modification, include a copy of it with the letter.
  • Finally, state that you request that no other withdrawals be made from your bank account or charges be placed on your credit card for membership fees.
  • Sign and date the letter and mail it to the address listed on the contract for the gym.

At Legendary AthleticsDSC03113 we don’t believe in contracts.   We feel that binding individuals to contracts is a sure way to stunt our personal growth and endeavors.  We know that our success rates are what keeps us in business.  Click our link to find out more about how we can keep you from ever having to cancel a membership again.