Recently, three of my work colleagues were talking about their gym memberships. All three of them paid $12.95 a week for their membership. But, here’s the thing; only one of them went to the gym twice a week. Another one went about once a month. And the other one hadn’t been in 6 months and then 6 months before that.
That means that each of my colleagues are paying $6.48, $51.80 and $336.70 respectively per work out. Yet, they all talk about not having enough money, or needing to figure out how to save money, etc.
To me, the answer is simple… Use or lose your gym membership dummy. But for them it’s not that simple. And, in all honesty, it wasn’t that simple for me 6 months ago either.
I must admit that even when I was a truly flawed consumer, I refused to pay for a gym membership. This wasn’t because I have no interest in health and fitness, but because I couldn’t rationalise spending a bucket load of money to exercise in a concrete building amongst bright lights and a whole lot of other people.
Some of this results from my introverted personality and the consequential repulsion at the idea of exercising around other people. And, some of this comes down to my inherit belief in utilising “incidental” exercise for fitness as much as possible.
Incidental exercise is non-intentional exercise gained from our daily activities such as walking to the bus stop, up stairs, or the bathroom. Essentially, it’s just any activity we perform that isn’t intentional exercise such as going to the gym.
I have always been perplexed by people who pay for a gym membership and then stand still on an escalator. Quite frankly, it just doesn’t make sense.
Instead, I always choose the stairs over the alternative, or continue to walk if an escalator is the only option. Instead of catching a bus or train for short distances, I’ll walk unless it’s pouring with rain or I’m in a hurry.
Additionally, I do also incorporate intentional exercise into my daily routine, such as a 5km run each week day during my lunch break and two walks a day before and after work to keep my cattle dog fit and healthy.
This intentional and incidental exercise not only keeps me feeling fit, but it keeps me in a healthy weight range and keeps my brain firing on all cylinders.
It’s easy for me to tell you to go for a walk or run instead of having a gym membership. But, we don’t all like the same types of exercise. And, cardio isn’t going to build or tone muscles (much). So, what’s the alternative?
These days (throughout Brisbane at least), there’s a lot more static exercise equipment available in local parks or along known exercise routes such as cycle ways. This makes it a lot easier to do some muscle work for free.
Alternatively, there’s always exercises such as squats, push ups and sit ups that can be done just about anywhere and cost $0.
If you like to run, but don’t like to do it by yourself, you can check out organised group events such as parkrun.
For those traditionalists who like to lift weights, there’s always plenty of second hand home gym and free weight options for sale on Gumtree.
To summarise, there are a lot of alternatives to gym memberships out there. If you use the gym regularly, then a gym membership is probably worth the cost.
However, if you’re like my work colleagues and are paying for something that you use a few times a year… Then perhaps you should have a think about whether you can cut the fat, so to speak.