Why I Am Considering A Gym Membership

Why I Am Considering A Gym Membership

I recently spotted a Groupon deal for a local gym and gave it some serious consideration.  The deal would have worked out to $47 for a three-month membership.  They normally charge $44 per month so this would have worked out to be a pretty good deal.

I ended up passing on the deal (more on that in a minute), but I started throwing out the idea of getting a gym membership.  It’s something I’ve been thinking about for awhile.

Nothing easier than a pros and cons list, so here goes:

Pros

Weight.  A couple of years back, I made a few small changes in my diet and such, and steadily started dropping weight.  I’m 5’8″ and at 170 pounds I wasn’t overweight, but after slowly dropping down to 152, I was pretty happy.  Over this calendar year, I’ve backslid a little to around 157.  I liked my overall health and such at 152, and cardio would be good.

Cholesterol.  A few years back I had ‘high’ cholesterol values.  I was able to get to an ‘acceptable’ range by diet and such, but I’ve always been so close to the border  that I’d like to get lower.  My ‘good’ value is also on the low end, and my physician has told me that regular exercise would help.

Variety.  I have an exercise bike in my basement, and while I start every once in a while, I get bored with it over a couple of weeks.  I’d like other options that will keep me from getting into a pattern that will allow me to drift off.

DCF 1.0Routine.  When I work out regularly, I find that I have more energy overall.

Tone.  In addition to cardio, I’d like to get a little bit more toned up.  I’m not going to turn into a muscular freak, especially as I’m near 40, but I’d like to have the option of working my muscles now and then.  I don’t have weights at home, and things like push-ups or the like simply don’t keep me interested.

Cons

Cost.  The biggest disadvantage is cost.  The gym I actually would likely join, if I made the decision to move forward and if the gym looked in good shape, would be $20 per month.  There are no up front fees.

Accessibility.  The one benefit of having the bike in my basement was that I couldn’t use the excuse of having to drive.  Going to a gym would require a drive.  It is worth pointing out that the main reason I passed on the Groupon deal was because the gym was about 15 minutes away, whereas the one that I like is only about a 5 minute drive.  This might seem negligable, but that’s 20 minutes of driving per day that could easily serve as an excuse.  The 5 minute away gym is practically on my way to work, as well.

Routine. I’ve decided that if I were to go, I would likely go in the morning before work.  Now, I’m an early bird as it is, so this would require getting up a little earlier than I do right now.  Ever since my cat died, I have been able to set my alarm about 20 minutes later (I used to have to give her fluids), so I would go back to that time, maybe a little earlier.  It would also likely involve me ‘getting ready’ (showering and dressing) at the gym and going right to work.  I’d probably want to test these changes, but the gym I am considering has said that they’d happily let me try it out.

Where I Stand

We’re going away for another camping trip around Labor Day, so I’m not going to do anything after that. The gym I’m considering currently has a special where they are offering a four month membership for $75, and I’m thinking of giving that a whirl if they’ll honor it after I get back (the conversations I’ve had with them on Facebook and on the phone indicate that they’re pretty laid back, so I’ll remain hopeful).  That would give me a membership through the end of the year, and if it works out, I’d happily continue, but if not, that’s not a whole lot to be out.

I know there are some who say that they’ll never join a gym, and others who believe in it so long as you use it.  I am obviously on the second side.  I’ve been a member of various gyms through college and in my 20’s.  The best successes I’ve had in terms of going regularly was when they were close by.  The main reason I dropped out of two of them were because it simply didn’t seem worth it to spend almost as much time driving as I would spend working out.

I’m thinking it might be worth a try again.  What do you think?

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28 thoughts on “Why I Am Considering A Gym Membership

  1. I’d go for it…as a consistent gym goer I think gym memberships ARE worth it. Yes, you CAN get in shape by just running or biking outside. You can do strength training at home with cheap workout videos or body weight resistance exercises. BUT, a gym membership offers you the variety of very expensive machines that the average person can not afford nor store at their home. I also find that going to a gym provides me the motivation to get a better workout. If working out is something you want to make a priority, and you can afford it, I’d go for it!
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  2. Go for the 5 minute gym – and I say that as someone who hasn’t joined a gym since one was provided in college (half a room here is dedicated to a gym). If it was just cardio, I’d suggest trying to motivate yourself to do it at home… but like you said, machines and weights are in your future. Consider me a gym vote – at least for the close one.
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  3. I re-joined a gym along with my wife as a way to lose some weight for our then upcoming wedding. Like you I’d had memberships before, and generally felt ok with paying out as long as I used them regularly (5+ days a week, even if it was just a relax after a long day in the steam room).
    We joined a health club attached to a hotel which is just under a mile away, so can walk or drive. Any more than that and I think I’d have given up by now as I really have a fine line between going and not. Once I’m there, I get the bug and can’t help myself from going. We’re now completely hooked and do classes, weights, cardio, pretty much something every day.

    I say go for it, its local, doing a morning workout definitely helps wake you up before work and gives you more energy and focus. However, if you find yourself slipping for more than a few weeks I’d cancel it. That doesn’t include if you have a couple of weeks off to just rest up. Sometimes it’s what you need to let your body recover.

  4. I’m having this same internal dialogue. Ultimately, it’ll be yes.

    If I can spend $100/month on TV, I can spend $100/month on a gym.

    Yes, I recognize that the TV could be cut to pay for the gym.

    Don’t judge me.
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  5. It sounds to me like you’ve given this a lot of thought. The $75 deal is a good one and if they do honor it after your trip, I’d give it a shot. Working out is extremely important and if you can find a gym you like as close as 5 minutes away, it will save you a bundle in health care costs down the road. Good luck!
    Kendal @HassleFreeSaver recently posted..Frugal Fail: Beer Shirt EditionMy Profile

  6. I always found gym memberships to be a bit funny. The truth is, over 80% of people that pay for them use them once a week or less. And Michael, the truth is, chances are, you can find places to work out for free. Not to mention, unless you’re looking to get buff, you can work out from home to maintain your happy weight and your health. All you need to do is look up at-home workouts. Until I did, I would have never guessed that there were so many and that you could really be effective with a little drive. Anyway, I’d love to see you in the conversation over at CNA, would you mind stopping by and sharing your thoughts?
    Joshua Rodriguez @ CNA Finance recently posted..Welcome To The NEW CNA Finance!My Profile

    • Using them and doing so over the long term is the key to making it worth it. There’s very little middle ground, I’d think, when it comes to gym memberships. If you use them, you make out, if you don’t, the gym makes out.

  7. I was an avid gym member! I used it all the time and loved it. I never spent very much, usually less than $100 per year. I would go over lunch near work and often on the weekends. About 15 years ago, I created a home gym. I have a treadmill, weight cage, free weights, dumbbells stationary bike (stand) and bicycle. I use my bicycle 2-6 times a week and lift weights too. All the equipment cost less than $1,000 including the bicycle.
    krantcents recently posted..The False Promises of Annuities and Annuity CalculatorsMy Profile

  8. Since you can buy a short term membership for pretty cheap it is worth giving it a shot. I signed a two year contract to a gym that was right across the street from me and I used the membership a lot. Now, I live about 20 minutes from the nearest branch of the gym and am paying for a membership that I rarely use.
    Andy Hough recently posted..Cutting the Cost of DyingMy Profile

  9. I know a lot of people talk about not paying for a gym membership but for some people its worth it. I have a friend who signed up for Crossfit. I thought they were nuts paying 150$ per month. Few months later they are down 70lbs and looking better and feeling great. Do what works for you so if 4 month membership works for you go for it. See how things go and some times its worth spending the money. Good luck!
    Thomas | Your Daily Finance recently posted..Are You Trapped in the Credit ConundrumMy Profile

    • I’ve heard of people spending more because they get the personalized attention and access to more classes and such. If it works, then the extra money is well worth it. I think for me the beginning category with the basics is just fine as that’s all I’m really looking for.

  10. I belong to a gym. It only costs me $22/month and it has everything I need. I know lots of people will say you don’t need a gym membership but if you can afford it, and you’ll use it, then why not?
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  11. One of the things I’m not willing to be as frugal about is health. I still get my memberships off groupon (since of my wonky school/work schedule I’m never in one place for too long) and/or my school gym which is relatively inexpensive. But I still get the memberships. Make sure you want to actually go to the gym, it’s worth it as long as you go. It’s people that are deciding in January that it’s their new years resolution are the ones less likely to go.
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  12. If you enjoy working out in a gym, for hevvinsake go for it!

    Years of required P.E. classes in junior high and in high school left me with a visceral revulsion for gymnasiums. Just cannot stand them…and even paying good money to go to one would not get me inside the place very often. My preference is for walking, hiking, bicycling, and swimming — unsupervised. 🙂
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