Here we go with another tough financial decision to start the New Year. This is your year for a Personal Money Makeover and already we have looked at a number of topics.

Here is a list of the most recent personal finance posts to help you get caught up.

Should I get rid of cable TV?

How did we forget about frugality?

How to save $100 this week?

The biggest money mistakes to avoid in 2019

How to drastically cut expenses this year

Why do I spend money on stuff I don’t need?

Okay, that is a lot of stuff to look over. Now we need to answer a really tough question:

Is paying for a gym membership a waste of money?

Should I Get a Gym Membership?

As we enter into a new year millions of people have set the goals of exercising more, getting in better shape and losing weight.

Let’s make no mistake. These are very important goals to have. With the rates of obesity at an all time high and climbing something needs to be done to improve the overall health of a lot of people.

So millions of people will wander into a local gym and put down their money and hopefully start exercising. But is it worth it?

Related: Are Gyms What Capitalism Did to Physical Activity?

As with every other extra expense, if you are trying to pay down debt you need to examine if you should cancel your gym membership.

How much does a gym membership cost?

This is going to vary widely based on where you live and what type of fitness facility you want to join. Some are much more expensive than others.

The average gym membership costs between $40 and $50 a month, but when you add the initiation fee that some fitness centers charge when you sign up, you’re looking at as much as $800 a year.

My local Crossfit Box(which is the type of workout I love) is a lot more expensive.

On top of the gym expense is the fact that many people drive many miles/km’s to get to the gym. So now we are looking at fuel costs, wear and tear on your vehicle and the time you are spending to get there.

Let me get this straight. People drive to the gym to walk on a treadmill that goes nowhere. Interesting concept.

Oh and of course you are going to need new workout clothes and proper footwear so that you look the part.

Things are adding up here.

Also you really need to ask yourself how much you will go to the gym. Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt, the authors of Freakonomicsposit in the New York Times that people who buy annual gym memberships often overestimate how much they’ll actually use the facilities by 70%.

According to a Planet Money report, about half of the people who sign up for a membership never go. Wow. And the vast majority of people who join a gym never really achieve any success. The truth of the matter is the gym does not really want you to succeed. It is in their best interest for you to not be successful, which is kind of sad.

So about $800 dollars per year would go a long way towards paying off your high interest credit credit, car loan. Or maybe you could make an extra mortgage payment. Every little bit helps.

Remember that over the long term, say even 10 years, we are looking at $8000.

How I Spent 1000$ in 3 Months at The Gym

Over the past few years I have lost about 80 pounds with a ketogenic way of eating. I went from about 260 pounds to 180 pounds in less than a year. I maintained that through 2017. In 2018 I got back to my old ways and my weight crept back up.

I felt like joining the local gym would benefit me.  This would be my first gym membership in about 15 years I think. So in August of 2018 I went and got a 3 month membership. I wanted to make sure I would be committed to going regularly. I did go. About 2 weeks into it I went to the owner(an actual IFBB Pro!) and asked him for a plan to help me get the fat off. I explained exactly what my goals were, my philosophy in regards to eating and what had actually worked for me over the past 18 months.

A training and eating plan did come and I followed it. The plan included the use of a lot of supplements to enhance the training and the eating plan(which was not to my liking).

Here is the cost breakdown

  • Memebership-       $200
  • Personal training- $200 every 4 weeks(I did this twice)
  • Supplements –        $400(estimate)

I followed the plan. A lot of days I went to the gym twice. And while I did gain some muscle, I really don’t think my spare tire went down much at all.

Related: Even If You GO to the Gym, It Probably Isn’t Working

Also let me rant that most of the time I was “competing” for the use of the equipment I wanted to use. AND based on my observations people spent more time on their damn smartphones than they did workout out.

So all in all it was not money well spent for me personally. I did not get the results I expected.

Lesson learned.

Instead of a Gym Membership Try This To Get In Shape

“But I really need to get in shape! What can I do?”

Yes I understand. You want to be more active. I think on some level we all know that without our health we have nothing.

Way back in 2004 maybe I decided that I want to just work out at home so I purchased a set of adjustable dumbbells. These things are awesome. Yes I paid a lot at the time but over the years that purchase has saved me around $12000 just in membership costs.

You don’t even need any equipment. Do a body-weight circuit. Go outside and do some sprints. Find some stairs at a park and run up and down them a few times. Then do some pushups. Find a friend who no longer uses their workout DVD’s. I see people on Youtube who have gotten into fantastic shape in a tiny space in their garage or spare room.

When I get home from school this is the YouTube video I use. I also do pushups and use my dumbbells to add some resistance training to the mix.

I can workout at 5 am or in the afternoon or evening. There is no competing for equipment and no one in my way on their smartphone.

You just do not need a gym membership. Especially if you are stressed about money and are having a hard time paying your bills.

 

 

 

 

 

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