Everyone wants to be healthy and fit, which is why so many people join a gym. But one study found that people overestimate how much they’ll use their gym membership by 70 percent! Since the average cost of a gym membership is $40 to $50 per month, these people are wasting $28 to $35 per month!
Fortunately, there are lots of ways to get fit without paying for a gym membership. The key is to find the way that works for you. So ask yourself: What are your reasons for joining a gym?
If you’re joining a gym for the variety of equipment, then look for alternatives. Consider buying your own equipment, which you might use more frequently than you would go to the gym because it’s right in your home. You might even be able to find a great deal on sale or second-hand via sites like Craigslist. You could also improvise equipment – a Google search for “exercises using household items” returns nearly three million results!
Don’t forget that you can get variety outside of the gym too. Go for a hike in the local mountains, run or walk around your neighborhood, or swim laps at a pool. You might even consider joining adult rec leagues to play softball, basketball, or other sports.
Maybe you find going to the gym motivational. If that’s the case, there are many other ways to motivate yourself to get fit. Try the buddy system – working out with a friend keeps you accountable, and you won’t want to let her down. If you like to take classes at the gym, working out with a buddy or group of friends can give you that social interaction and peer push that you are looking for.
You could also check out the myriad of fitness apps available for iOS and Android systems. Tracking your accomplishments and progress through an app can be incredibly motivating. You could even set an ambitious or fun goal, like running a marathon or participating in a mud run. If you like exercising with other people, you can easily find groups of people in your area who are training for a specific event, like the local marathon or triathlon.
If you think you need to join a gym because you don’t know much about exercise and fitness, think again. You can find all the advice you need via YouTube videos and DVDs. Did you know that you can probably borrow workout DVDs from your local library? It’s a great way to keep trying new workouts, or to find a trainer you really like before you spend money on a DVD. If the idea of getting started on your own is too overwhelming, pay for a few sessions with a personal trainer and/or nutritionist to give you a solid foundation that you can then build on independently.
Another way to avoid paying for a gym membership but get the benefits of professional equipment and a personal trainer is to barter for your trainer’s services. Maybe you are great with websites or can be a virtual assistant. See if you have a skill that your trainer needs that you can offer in exchange for his training services.
But I Really Want A Gym Membership
If you really want the benefit of a gym or classes, be sure to check out discount deal sites like Groupon and Amazon Local. They frequently offer batches of classes for a discounted price. Deals for my area regularly include Pilates and yoga classes, activity sessions (such as rock wall climbing), or equipment rentals (such as kayaks or bicycles at the beach).
Finally, if you have young kids, play outside with them or squeeze in a run or walk while they’re at their activities. You’ll be setting a great example for them by showing them that fitness is a lifelong lifestyle!