I’m about to let my gym membership lapse. On purpose. Technically, I can’t just let it lapse, because, if I do nothing, it won’t lapse at all. In fact, it will automatically renew (which is the exact opposite of what I want, and quite sneaky of the gym, is it not?).
Actually, I have to write a letter to a third-party billing entity and give them 30 days notice, clearly outlining my intentions to cancel the membership. Be forewarned: When you sign that gym contract, they mean BUSINESS, baby!
Why, oh WHY would Fitness Friday Girl stop working out at the gym?
Because I’ve learned that working out at home can be just as effective—and in many ways, more effective—than working out elsewhere.
Certainly, many people prefer going to the gym. I get that. I’ve joined and cancelled four gym memberships in 3 states since 1992. When it worked, it worked well for me. I liked the change of scenery, the group classes and the social aspect of the gym. But for the last year, I’ve had to drag myself there. Not because I didn’t want to work out, but because I didn’t want to work out AT THE GYM.
If you are considering a gym membership, here are the two biggest factors to consider:
1. Time. The closest gym to me is 15 minutes away. That’s 30 minutes in my car, just to get there and back home. Add to that the time it takes to get myself presentable, get Elliana ready and into the car, get Elliana out of the car, get Elliana checked into her class, get Elliana checked OUT of her class, and get Elliana smeared from head to toe with hand sanitizer to kill the germs from the snotty kids in the childcare room,—and it’s easily a 60-minute investment. And I haven’t even worked out yet.
If I work out at home, I can invest half that time, and be done with it.
2.Money. No one is going to let you work out for free. A gym membership will cost you something, and it’s usually more than you think. There’s the sign-up fee and the processing fee and the initiation fee, the monthly fee and the “we-just-want-to-charge-you-an additional- $50-for no-apparent-reason-fee.”
I got a pretty good deal on my monthly fees, but I also signed up to meet with a personal trainer. I love working out with a trainer (if by “love” you realize I mean “love to have someone push me so hard that I make ugly faces and have to take large doses of ibuprofen the following day”). But I’ve had a really hard time making it to the gym each week to use my sessions (see Factor #1 above).
It wouldn’t have been so bad had I only signed up for 6 sessions or even 10 sessions. But they sucked me into some sort of personal training vortex last year, and when I regained consciousness, I realized I committed to a full year of personal training. A FULL YEAR! And I couldn’t cancel them. Trust me, I tried. Unless I moved or seriously injured myself, I was stuck. Do a quick internet search on the cost of personal trainers and you will see I’ve laid down a huge chunk of change to have someone hurt me for 52 weeks. I honestly don’t know what I was thinking.
That said, I’m convinced you can have a gym-level workout with only the following equipment:
~A good pair of running/walking shoes (which you will need even if you get a gym membership)
~A park, a beach or a neighborhood to walk or run (free)
~A few sets of cheap dumbbells or resistance bands for strength training ($50-$100 for new, cheaper if you buy used)
~A workout DVD or two (you can get the complete P90X DVD set for the same price I’m paying for 4 sessions with my trainer. Just typing that makes me sick cuz I actually own P90X, too. )
If you are a beginner, you can even find personal trainers who will come to your house and show you how to properly perform certain moves for half the price it would cost you to join and maintain a gym membership.
I’ve often said, the best form of exercise is the one you will actually do. If you have a gym membership and it works well for you, I think that is awesome. Keep it up!
But don’t let your lack of ability to join a gym be a barrier to getting fit. I’m here to tell you, you can get a killer workout in your home for a fraction of the time and money.
So, talk to me. Do you have a gym membership? Do you like it? Do you use it? Do you recommend it? Why or why not?