Cancel That Gym Membership

28 07 2008

Did you know that there are companies whose whole foundation is based on taking your money while giving you nothing in return?  These companies exist, they are very real, and most people continue on paying them for nothing, you probably are right now.

The primary example of this that comes to mind is your Gym membership.  Some people are very good at going to their local gym daily to workout, but the fact of the matter is that big chain or “Globo” gyms earn their money on upfront fees and the premise that most of the people who pay are not going to go.  I know way too many people who pay for a gym membership that they don’t use.  What many people are paying for is the delusion that having a gym membership means that they do workout.

Think about how much you pay for your gym membership.  Now how much do you go to the gym?  Is it really worth it when there are literally HUNDREDS of things you can do for free to stay in shape?  Go run, do sit-ups, push-ups, jumping jacks, run the local stadium steps, join an intramural sports league, all these things are more fun than staring at some meat head stare at himself in the mirror!

You could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year by going outside and using the world as your gym!  I’m not telling you to not workout, and some people use the “globo” gym everyday (good for you!), but most don’t.  If you are a “most” person, or even if you aren’t, breaking the gym rut would be good for your workout routine anyway!

Mary and I do Crossfit workouts on our own, and the money we don’t spend on a gym membership we are using to buy different pieces to build our own gym of homemade (medicine ball, parallettes, pull up bar) or used equipment found on craigslist.  Crossfit is a high intensity combination of Gymnastics, Aerobics, and Olympic Weight Lifting where all the workouts can be scaled to your own level of fitness.  Doing this we are in the best shapes of our lives, and we aren’t paying a dime for it in membership dues!

As a side note I have a recommendation to gym big wigs.  Why don’t you offer a punch card for workouts? Say $20 for 12 workouts.  Like a buy 10 get 2 free visits or something.  That provides more value to many of your customers, I can guarantee that it would be a huge hit (I’d probably buy one for a rainy day), however I do understand that it undermines your whole profit base.

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6 responses

28 07 2008
Dr Barry L Marks

Point well made. For many people a gym is worth the investment. Personally, I like getting out of the house to go to the gym, but the mere fact that you have to go out to the gym is the very reason many people, me included, don’t go! It adds one more step where you can falter.

I strongly advocate the type of exercise you are doing. It is excellent for losing weight and for maintaining strength and endurance.

29 07 2008
danielb

Dr. Marks, I agree for many people it is worth the investment. And you’re point about “leaving to go to the gym” is a good one, but for the record, Mary and I never do a workout strictly at our house. We will go outside and run a mile before we do the main part of our workout, or there is a little outdoor workout area in our community that we will run to, then do pullups, pushups, sit-ups, box jumps…whatever we can think of until we are so dead we can’t run back. Then we make ourselves run back! It’s all free!

If we only did it at our house, I don’t think we would ever do it!

29 07 2008
Mr Dave

Primarily I’m a creature of habit, both good and bad. When I’m hitting the gym regularly just being in the physical place gets me in the right head space pretty much automatically. Between that and the conditioning that happens to the songs on the mp3 player I have for the gym, it’s pretty easy for me to get in the good rut of making use of my gym membership.

I like having the variety of machinery available and the dedicated place and I’m not brave enough to try to get my exercise outside during the 6 months plus of winter we get up here.

That said, there is support for a new tax credit in Canada that gym memberships and sports club memberships would qualify for which would reduce the financial hit of keeping the gym membership around, and in theory encourage Canadians to become more active and thusly reduce health-care costs.

29 07 2008
Dr Barry L Marks

YEs, Mr Dave, having an anchor or routine is what many people need. That is the primary reason for having a gym membership. But you have to use it! Many don’t after a few months.

I believe a tax incentive for wellness and healthy lifestyle choices makes complete sense. Healthier people are less burdensome to social services and are more productive. It’s a win-win. But then again, I always enjoy a good tax cut wherever I can find it!

30 07 2008
stetoscope

Excellent!
It reminds me the answer of Winston Chuchill to a journalist asking him his health secret : No sport !

2 08 2008
Roundup, Link Love, Site Update and Stats July 08 Edition | The Wisdom Journal

[…] @ Simple Mom Inspiration and Learning: Five Things I Learned from Randy Pausch @ Uncommon Cents Cancel That Gym Membership @ Young and […]

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