Joining a gym is a popular New Year’s resolution, but choosing one can be as hard to do as ab crunches.

Perhaps your first resolution for a new workout place – particularly one with a costly contract – should be not to put up with bad customer service or company policies.

Before joining a gym or health club make sure to do your research and ask questions, recommends the Palm Beach County Public Affairs Department. More tips:

Check with your doctor first. Some medical problems such as back issues may limit your use of the gym’s equipment or participation in fitness classes.

Read the contract before signing. The contract should clearly show the duration of the agreement, monthly/total costs, payment plan and the renewal terms. Be aware of contracts that are automatically renewed.

If personal trainer services are provided, ask when the trainers are available, how often they will work with you, and if their services are charged separately from the contract price.

Make sure all promises are written in the contract. Don’t take the sales associate’s word for it.

Keep in mind contracts can be cancelled within three business days after signing the contract. Send the written cancellation by certified mail.

Even though gyms may reduce their hours or move their location, you may not be eligible for a refund. Read your contract carefully.

Gyms are regulated by Florida statute. If you have a dispute involving one of the 150 health studios licensed in Palm Beach County, the Division of Consumer Affairs may be able to assist with mediating a settlement or connecting you with the proper state agency. Check consumer complaints that have been filed against gyms at www.pbcgov.com/consumer. For more information call 561-712-6600 or 1-888-852-7362. In Broward County visit www.broward.org or call 954-765-4400.