To Gym or Not to Gym?

I am in a serious fitness funk. Long gone are the days when I would run 10 miles in a weekend… in fact it has been two weeks since I did anything and that was a pathetic two-mile walk/run. Because of this funk (combined with careless eating), it is no surprise that I’ve gained 7 pounds in one month. At the rate I’m going, I could easily be 40 pounds heavier by the end of the year. No thank you!

So today I vow to end this bad habit before it gets out of hand. Or at least more out of hand.

My fitness options are then to
a) workout outside,
b) join a gym, or
c) buy a video and workout in my living room.

I’ve never been a fan of at-home workouts. I get bored of the videos after three viewings, plus my downstairs neighbor wouldn’t appreciate my heavy self pounding on the floor. My neighborhood is lovely to ride my bike and run through, but it is so hot outside that even in the early morning it leaves me in a sweaty mess.

So that leaves me left with the gym.

I have mixed feelings about joining a gym. I really don’t want to have another $30-40 a month taken out of my already small paycheck, yet it is an investment in my health and wellbeing. However, I can always suck it up and run outside. But I get the best workouts through group fitness classes, so the gym would give me the best results.

This week I plan to shop around for the best gym deals. And in the meantime start eating right and exercising outside when I can!

What are your thoughts on joining the gym? Do you view it as a guaranteed, non-negotiable item in your budget? Or is it a luxury you forgo to save money?

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  • Yeah… I need to blog about this. Lloyd and I recently just splurged on a super duper nice gym. And …. it. is. so. worth. it.

    If you’re looking for a gym on the cheap, try community centers. My local community center was $12 a month. It had the necessities, but was depressing. Or you could try YMCAs. I went those routes for years until I had enough. My new gym is ridiculously amazing…and I’m paying for it for sure.

    I worked part time at a gym for 2 years to receive a free membership…another idea.

    I vote GYM!

  • What about a rec center? The rec center I signed up at is 15 bucks a month and that’s only when their staff remembers to scan your card. The people at my rec center are usually too busy to sit there and watch people use the equipment, so sometimes I can go two months without paying.

  • I also vote gym, but only because you have to take YOURSELF into consideration. You already know that you don’t like working out at home (and I agree, the downstairs neighbors would hate you), and that you do best with group workouts. The gym is your best bet.

    As for me, I workout at home, mostly because I know that I’d never workout if I knew I had to drive there. Instead I splurged on weights to use at home, and a workout video regimen!

    Oh, and one thing I’ve learned….you can workout all you want, but if you keep eating crap you still won’t lose weight!

  • I am having the same delimma except that even the leisure centres (YMCA) in London are very expensive – £50pm ($75). That is a lot of money to go to a run down gym. I don’t know what I am going to do.

    I would like to to Bikram Yoga but that is even more per month – £90.
    I guess I am going to be doing some fast walking while carrying heavy groceries.

    Truthfully I find the whole gym problem depressing. Sorry not to shed any light on the subject.

  • I view the gym preventative action for healthy living. My gym is bare bones (no classes, no pool, no sauna) and it only cost $10.85 per month. It took me 8 mths to find it, but if you do your homework I think you could find something were the cost matches the value you personally attach to the gym.

  • The best gym in Raleigh is the YMCA-hands down!! Clean and you don’t have to worry about it going out of business

  • As an alumnus of NCSU, I say you give the Carmichael Gym at NCSU a shot if you live close enough. It is a huge awesome gym with oodles of classes and I think it’s super cheap as well.

  • I too vote for the gym. I’m with you and find classes the best way to commit myself to regular exercise, so I pay for the privilege. One suggestion for you-see if you can get a cheap intro deal. My super fancy gym let me pay $28 for 28 days, which allowed me to decide if I liked the classes enough to pay the full price ($50/month). I’ve quit other gyms due to crappy teachers or inconvenient class schedules, so having a trial run was very important to me.

  • first of all, I’ve been creeping around your blog for awhile now and I have to tell you I just love it. Congratulations on the job and the move.

    second, I think that if staying healthy is important to you AND you already know that group classes are most effective for you I think it is worth the monthly charge. You can always shop around for the best price:)

  • We have a really nice gym on campus that is free for students, so luckily I don’t want to worry about putting the gym in my budget until May 2011. But it sounds like a gym membership is a good idea for you. See if there’s any way you could get in without a contract, since it sounds like working out outside could be a viable option as soon as it cools down.

  • I have joined and signed up for 3 Gym,s so far and not followed through, leaving me to still pay up for something I did,nt use. why not try and find one with monthly fees or pay daily ???

  • The problem I have with gyms is that it all sounds good until you get the membership. I’ve joined a gym once, convincing myself that I’ll go everyday, then that turned into every other day and sooner than you know it, I was going less than twice a month. I don’t know what it is about the gym that repels me. So now I opt for exercising mostly outside. I think I physically and mentally feel better working out outside whether it be hiking (my favorite) or jogging around the local hs track. And the other perk is that I save myself $50/month!

  • Do you live near a university or a military base? At the university near us you can pay a $5 fee for each visit or buy a year’s membership for around $150 (much more practical if you use the gym often). My husband works as a civilian on a military base in our town and we can both use the gym for free there. A friend could possibly sign you on for free as well.

  • I’ve given up on gym memberships. I used to have perfect attendance at the gym down the road, but when I moved house (to the other side of the city, making going back to that gym not feasible), I never found a gym that suited me as well. The classes were always on at the wrong time or not available, the equipment was wrong (or too busy when I wanted to use it), and I was just throwing my money away.

    Instead, I’ve now paid $400 to try a new sport.

    Running is a good alternative, as is the wii (go for SportsActive or wiifit plus in a pinch).