Thursday, June 01, 2006

Do you really need that gym membership?

Lately, I have been struck by how much money is being drained without my noticing. Small charges are adding up. Fees are hidden. And services (that I do not use) are being happily paid for, for months on end, without even a moment's thought. After doing some basic number crunching, I started to realize that I needed to take my own advice.

Not long ago, I was at my mom's house for dinner. Sitting at the table with me were my mother and my grandmother. And we started talking about gym memberships. I found it quite silly that people spend enormous sums of money on services that are not even used. And I stated that people who really want to have a gym membership and are considering getting one should do this:

1. Find out how much it costs per month.
2. Take that much out of your monthly accounts/spending money every month for the next 3 months and put it in a drawer somewhere and forget about it.
3. Go out every single week for the next 3 months and go for a 1-2 mile walk (roughly 45 minutes) at least 3 times per week.

If someone can follow those three steps and find that they are able to go without the money that it costs for the membership AND they are able to consistently exercise often AND still want the membership after 3 months, then I think that it makes sense to do it. If not, then I wouldn't. It will be a waste of money and ultimately, it will hurt your self-esteem.

It is bad enough to feel like you should exercise but don't. But, to feel like you didn't exercise and you wasted money on something that you didn't use and can never get back is even worse. Only a small segment of the population actually goes to the gym regularly - but lots more 'have gym memberships'. Personally, I don't have one. I may not be exercising as much as I should, but at least I can flex that bank account a little more.

1 comment:

Jim said...

What you wrote is definitely true for non-athletes who rarely work out. It's actually pretty annoying to have to wait for gym equipment being used by someone who doesn't even know how to lift weights. I remember having to wait to use a butterfly machine a few years ago because someone was hogging the machine despite lifting only 10 lbs and using improper lifting form.

However, gyms are essential necessities for people who enjoy working out and do so regularly. I use my gym 4 times a week and enjoy working out. It's great for stress reduction and my overall health.

During the winter it can be brutally cold in Chicago and it is often dark outside and icy by the time I get home. It's far easier and less dangerous to run on a treadmill at the gym under those conditions. Moreover, I would not be able to lift weights if I didn't have my membership, as I really don't have enough space to set up my own free weight set where I live.