The Great Gym Challenge

How much are you spending on a gym membership each month?  With all the great resources online, I hope the answer is nothing.  If you do have a gym membership, break out this handy calculator and figure out how much that gym is going to cost you over the next 10 years.

A couple years ago a friend gave me a guest pass to a nice gym in the area that they belonged to.  We went to a hot yoga class together – which admittedly was an amazing workout.  Between working my butt off and the heat, I could literally wring the sweat out of my clothes when I was done.  Satisfying, but a bit gross.  After the workout I went to the locker room and my mind was blown.  They had disposable razors available, towels, and super nice shampoo and conditioner.  There were blow dryers, good hair products, and fancy lotion available too.  Everything about that locker room was just nice.  Clean. Modern.  I felt like I was at a spa.  For a moment, I understood why you would fork over the crazy monthly dues for this place.  They weren’t just providing a gym, they were providing a fitness experience.

Thankfully I came back down to earth after that experience.  There are so many ways to stay fit and healthy without an expensive gym membership. For me, it’s running.    Running helps me burn off the stress and frustration from my corporate desk job. It has shown me parts of cities I would never have seen otherwise.  I love running throughout the seasons, seeing how my favorite routes look as the seasons change.   It gets me outside and away from a screen. There is so much to see and experience outside in the fresh air.  Maybe running isn’t your thing, that’s okay!  There are tons of other things out there, like biking, rollerblading, or hiking.  

If classes are more your thing, there are so many online resources available!  Two of my favorite yoga resources are Do Yoga With Me and Fightmaster Yoga. Do Yoga With Me allows you to sort based on difficulty level, style of yoga, length of class, and instructor.  It’s a really easy to use website with a lot of variety.  Lesley Fightmaster of Fightmaster Yoga is AMAZING.  She put together 30 day and 90 day yoga challenges.  She created a yoga class for each day of the challenges.  She does an amazing job of having the classes compliment each other throughout the challenge – I highly recommend giving one a try!

Another great resource is looking at workout ideas on Pinterest.  There are so many pins out there with do-at-home workout routines.  One of my personal favorites is a fall inspired workout where you actually use a pumpkin instead of weights.  I can’t think of a better way to shake up your October workouts than holding a pumpkin while you squat.

Staying healthy is really important to me, and health is not something I would advocate slipping on for the sake of frugality.  Taking care of yourself now may even help save you medical costs down the road.  If you feel like having a gym is non-negotiable to you, I’d highly recommend looking into cost saving options.  Maybe you can help clean or work the front desk in exchange for free classes or a free membership.  Or if you’re at an extravagant gym, maybe something more simple will do.  I started looking into gyms in my area and found the most expensive to be around $90/month, but the local community center had similar amenities for $35 a month – less than half the price!  The community center may not be as shiny and as fancy as the $90/month gym, but you could definitely still get the same workout.  Another thing to look at is if your health insurance will give you a discount for going so many times a month.  Many insurance plans will reimburse you $20 a month for your gym membership if you go 8-10+ times per month.  Take advantage of this if it is available to you!

Here is my challenge to you.  Try to find an activity or resource that doesn’t require a gym membership or any major equipment investment.  Give it a try for a few weeks and see what you think.  Picture yourself getting into your car, driving to a crowded gym while you jockey for space on the treadmill.  Now picture yourself slipping out your door in the evening, the sun setting.  Your neighborhood is quiet except for the sound of your breath and your footsteps.  Which sounds better?  Could you ditch your gym membership for something simpler?