April 11, 2013, 6:00 am

Should You Pay For a Gym Membership?

by: MD    Category: Uncategorized
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“The resistance that you fight physically in the gym and the resistance that you fight in life can only build a strong character.” — Arnold Schwarzenegger

Should you pay for a gym membership? Is this actually worth the money?

Last week we talked about squeezing fitness into your life. I shared my tips and you guys joined in with some great insights.

“I started doing 10 push-ups every time I walked out my front door. I would do them inside obviously. But the rule was, If I planned on walking through that door frame, I had to drop and do 10 first. After a while I raised it to 15. Before I knew it my strength had increased significantly.” — Sean

“Very true. If you want to do something bad enough you will MAKE the time to do it or else you find any excuse to skip it Staying healthy is necessary for vitality and living a long life not to mention saving money on medical bills and sickness which are inevitable without it. However, fitness is only one part of it you also have to eat healthy most of the time.” — Kelly

Now we need to discuss gym memberships…

What are the pros of a gym membership?

Forces you to go. You know this by now. When you pay for something, there’s a barrier to entry and you take it more seriously. Paying for something often makes you appreciate it more. I can’t miss a workout for the same reason I never missed class. It’s my money on the line!

You make friends. I’ve made tons of friends at the gym. This could be the person that spots you or a new friend that you meet in one of the classes. Once you make friends, you’re more accountable for hitting the gym. You know that if you miss a class or a workout, that somebody is going to call you out on this.

Oh and you have more friends to go out with on the weekend!

Excuse to leave the house. Who doesn’t want to leave the house once in a while just to get away from it all? I never drink when I’m mad. I hit the gym. The gym is an excellent excuse to get out of your place and be social.

What are the negatives of paying for a membership?

The cost. The cost sucks if you don’t use it. Imagine buying a meal and then walking away before taking a bite? That’s what you’re doing with a gym membership if you don’t attend.

Gyms don’t make money from those that go. They make money from those that don’t go. My buddy Vince came to my gym one day. He wanted to start training. He paid for one year upfront. Awesome! Well, no. He never came again. That gym just made the easiest couple of hundred bucks ever.

You don’t need a gym to workout. As we mentioned last week, you don’t need a formal gym membership just to train and move. You can workout in your basement, at the park, or anywhere else. Don’t worry about joining a gym. If you’re committed enough, you can reach your fitness goals without paying for a membership.

What’s my process for figuring out if a gym membership is worth it?

In 2008, I cut my gym membership at the end of the year. I didn’t feel that it was worth the money at that point.

I joined a new gym in mid-2009 because I really wanted to switch up my training. It was an MMA-style gym with unlimited classes. I became hooked instantly. I got into everything from kickboxing to kettlebell swings. The classes were a great way to stay in shape and meet people. I still go when I can, but the gym has significantly cut back on classes. I guess they had too many folks like me taking advantage of every class.

My process is simple for deciding if a gym membership is worth it:

  1. Try working out at first home. Before you pay for anything, you should try to get into the habit of training in general. Start off at home or in the park.
  2. Work on your eating. How’s your diet? Do you still eat too much junk? Before you can see any results or gains, you need to slowly improve your eating. This won’t be easy, but it’s worth it. And if you can’t improve your eating, maybe you’re really not that serious about working out.
  3. Take one month where you pay-as-you-go. Yes, pay as you go. Trust me. Pay every single time you go.
  4. Evaluate. How did everything turn out? How many times did you attend? Would it be cheaper to pay for a membership compared to paying as you go? You tell me.

I’m actually debating cutting my main gym membership. The main boxing trainer left and the replacements don’t cut it. The only thing holding me to this gym is my younger brother. We usually go together. Lately we only train one day a week together because he has a gym class in school for his first period (he’s in grade 11). With the summer around the corner, we might switch over to park workouts.

Are you currently paying for a gym membership?

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I created a home gym about 14 years ago. I have a weight cage, bench, dumb bells, treadmill and stationary bike. I also use a bicycle for aerobic activity.

I agree that you do not need a gym to workout. It is far cheaper to make a few investments to have the weights, medicine balls, etc you need at home to do a few workouts on your own or through a video or an app. My favorite app I have is Nike Training it is quite a workout, and Hulu Plus has some great workouts available that will kick your but! Why go to a gym when you can have a free one at home?!

Here’s the psychology that took me decades to discover: I’m so cheap that if I pay for a membership I feel obligated to get the most out of it. So, what I’ve observed is that if I tell myself about all the free options, I exercise maybe once a week. Maybe. When I pay for a membership, it’s three times a week, like clockwork.

I know, I know… nobody ever accused me of being the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, but if that’s what it takes to keep this fat (other word for donkey) in shape, then I gotta do what I gotta do (or pay what I gotta pay).

For a busy person like me, I always consider having a gym membership as impractical. There are a lot of things we can do to workout without having to pay for a gym membership which I cannot fully maximize the previliges. I would rather run around the park every morning for an exercise and of course maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet.

My most recent gym membership wasn’t a gym membership at all. I took advantage of a free week trial and went everyday–for the first few days. Then the weekend hit and the gym closed early in the afternoon and i wasn’t able to make it. I’m a night owl–I like to sleep forever and stay up late so it just didn’t work for me. I don’t know if the gym hours being extended would have changed anything but i realized, why pay to go walk on a treadmill and lift weights when I can buy weight training equipment for my home and walk/run outside. I mean, I live in Florida. Maybe if I lived in a northern state that saw cold winters and I couldn’t walk/run for a few months then I would consider it but you can walk in Florida 365 so why am I going to pay for it?

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Its the end of April and its snowing outside. I plan on signing up for a gym tomorrow. Tired of waiting for summer and my house has no room for a treadmill. I figure if it costs 13 dollars to see a movie once, I can pay the 50 dollars a month. If you go even once a week its worth it.