My fitness goals are as important to me as my financial goals. I've been working on cutting calories and paring down my expenses in general, and I almost decided that the cost of a gym membership was worth forking over a few extra dollars a month. According to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, I'd be joining 51.4 million other Americans if I became a gym member.
After I evaluated the other associated expenses, I decided that joining a gym is just not worth the cost. Gyms charge membership fees starting at around $30 a month in my area, but those are not the only costs associated with going. The hidden fees add up substantially, and the more I go to the gym, the more these costs are going to add up. I was thinking about signing up now because I need to work on my muscle tone before bathing suit season gets here. After calculating all the extra costs, though, I have decided to stick to working out on my own for free.
If I join a gym, I'm going to go several times a week. If I don't, I will feel like I've wasted my money. However, when I consider the gas money I will have to spend going to and from the place several times a week, I realize that I'm going to need to add at least $10 per week to the cost of my membership. There goes at least another $40 per month. If I walk or run there, I'd be able to avoid that expense, but that's just not going to happen. If I do that, I might as well call getting there and back my workout.
I don't mind running in the neighborhood wearing sloppy sweats, but I don't want to work out in a social environment while feeling self-conscious about what I'm wearing. I'm going to want at least one nice looking outfit for working out in. If I go to the gym several times a week, having just one probably won't cut it. Decent workout gear that looks flattering can be pricey. Brand name gear can cost well over a hundred dollars for a single outfit, and would wipe out my clothing budget.
Personal Training and Other Add-ons
Once I get to the gym, there are going to be other services that I can add to basic membership to help me get the most out of the experience. If I don't ask for a personal trainer, I run the risk of working out the wrong muscles on the wrong machines and getting, at best, results I'm only somewhat happy with. At worst, I could end up with a body I wish my head weren't attached to.
I have decided that instead of setting myself up for a budget crunch, it makes more sense to work out on my own and for free. I can keep my old sweat suit, and run in my own neighborhood. I already know how to run, and I learned the hard way about the importance of stretching before and after, so I won't need a personal trainer to coach me on how to do it right. Working my way up to five miles a day should provide both the muscle tone I'm looking for and the cardio I need. And by summer, I'll still be able to afford a new bathing suit.
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