Whether you’re looking at a health club or thinking of trying a weight loss product, there are vital factors to consider.

Each year many resolve to finally do something about those extra pounds. Unfortunately, in some cases what gets lost isn’t the weight — it’s the wallet.

Your Better Business Bureau reminds consumers that they should stay alert when choosing a company to help them get into shape. Whether you’re looking at a health club or thinking of trying a weight loss product, there are vital factors to consider.

Making the most of your membership

The 50 percent increase in gym activity that January brings indicates how eager consumers are to make 2017 a year of positive fitness change. Yet history shows that many have negative experiences instead. Here are some tips for a happier workout plan.

Check the business profile of the company at www.bbb.org, where you’ll find information on over 15,000 health clubs, fitness centers and gyms. Find out what their customers have said and how they have responded to complaints. Be goal oriented. Think about specific areas you want to improve on — strength training, weight loss, stamina or cardiac health? If you suspect there’s the possibility of any health concern, consult with your doctor first. Got priorities? Consider those things that matter to you about a facility. Think about location, hours of operation, what equipment they have and whether classes and/or trainers are available. Tour them. Request a guided tour to find out about what they have to offer that you may want, whether it’s Wi-Fi availability, specific machines or simple cleanliness. Ask lots of questions about when they’re busiest, how to register for classes, cost of trainers and such. While you’re at it, ask about a free trial. Many offer a one-week pass. Watch out for hidden costs. Understand what the regular monthly fees will be and whether they will ever go up. Avoid high-pressure tactics. If they’re reputable, they’ll give you time to think about it. Read and understand. Your eyes and your brain are vital parts of your workout. Read everything in the contract and take the time to comprehend what it says. Verbal promises from sales people are worthless if they are not written into the contract. What if they close or move? (Or you move?) How do you get out of the contract if you want to? Is renewal automatic at the end of the term? Remember: if you default on payment, they could sell the balance that you owe to a collection agency, and it may hound you relentlessly for that balance plus additional fees.

Weight loss products

For those looking for quicker, less physical ways to lose weight, watch out. This is a field that is rife with scams, including fake emails that appear to be from your friends and fake news websites. Literally everything associated with the product may be a lie.

Typically you could get an email that looks like it comes from someone you know. Scammers hack accounts and send the emails out to everyone on the victim’s contacts list. A favorite way of getting your attention is by dropping a celebrity’s name, like Oprah Winfrey, saying they endorse the product. A link within the email takes you to a fake news site. That site may look legitimate. Don’t believe your eyes. All the testimonials, the logos, the “news stories” and the graphics may be fictional or stolen.

There is no miracle weight loss product. There is only the miraculous disappearance of your money.

Getting healthier in the New Year should not come at the expense of your budget’s health. If you have questions or concerns about health club memberships or weight loss products, contact your Better Business Bureau at 1-800-856-2417, or visit www.bbbinc.org.