Is a Gym Membership Worth it?

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Woman rowing at gym

In the past we have cut gym memberships in order to save money. At one point we decided to turn part of our living room into a home gym so that we could make working out convenient. While this is true, I found that I wasn’t very motivated to work out on my own. Don’t get me wrong, I like having a home gym, but I am much more consistent if I have a gym membership, especially if I have a workout partner. Thus, I decided about a month ago to get a gym membership once again.

The motivation behind getting a gym membership

At the beginning of this year I joined the Healthy Wage challenge where they will pay you to lose weight. Toward the end of the 6 month competition I was still about 10 pounds away from my goal weight. My wife had gotten me a free two week pass to L.A. Fitness and I decided to use it to the fullest. I went swimming in the pool, squatted in the sauna for 20 minutes, played basketball, and worked out with my buddy Mike. It was a lot different than working out at home.

The cheap gym membership

I previously wrote about ways to stay fit on a budget where I mentioned YouFit, a gym that only charges $10 per month to join. I had a membership there at one point in time, but there were three reasons I decided to cancel my membership:

1. Location – It was about 4 miles from my house and sometimes I could get caught in traffic.

2. Lack of Amenities – They did not offer any classes, they didn’t have a pool, and they didn’t have a sauna.

3. No one to workout with – No one that I knew worked out there, so I worked out by myself (which was infrequent at best).

The gym with amenities is worth it if you get results

I decided to increase my budget for working out up to $30 per month. This gave me the ability to have options and find a gym that I really thought would work out long term. I decided to continue working out at L.A Fitness for a few reasons, which are basically the opposite of why I stopped working out at YouFit.

1. Location – It is much closer to my house as it only 2 miles away.

2. It has amenities that I use – They have classes, a basketball court, a swimming pool, a sauna, every machine you can imagine. They also have amenities that I don’t use but may someday including Racquetball courts, punching bags, etc.

3. Accountability – My friend Mike already worked out there so it made it easy to establish a routine to workout together. Since I have a workout partner, I am much more inclined to work out on a regular basis because I would feel bad cancelling on him.

Getting a gym membership is only worth it to me if I get results. Ask yourself the following questions before signing up for a gym membership:

“If I get the gym membership, will I actually go?”

“Do I know someone that works out at this gym who I could workout with?”

“Will I actually use the amenities offered by the gym?

Beware of sign up fees

Some gyms require you to pay $100 plus as an initial sign up fee. While that was common practice for years, many gyms are going to the month-to-month plans. Shop around when looking for a gym to make sure you are getting a good deal.

Do you have a gym membership? Do you think it is worth it?


16 responses to “Is a Gym Membership Worth it?”

  1. Lauren says:

    I totally agree with you. Some no frill gyms just aren’t worth it and if you go with someone else you’re more likely to go AND make better use of your $’s spent. I’ve signed up to 3 gyms through Groupon over the last 8 months and have enjoyed my last one, (a local non chain gym that I go to with my brother). It actually motivates me to go. I got hit with a “sign up fee” which covered my key fob. I wasn’t happy about it, but it’s definitely something to be aware of. Summer offers a bit more of an outdoor workout option. But, you have to be motivated and be a bit more creative with what can be done outdoors, which can often deter people.

    • WellKeptWallet says:

      I’m glad to hear you found a gym you like. I’m not sure where you live, but summers here are when people stay inside. I actually think more people workout inside in AZ when it is 120 degrees.

  2. Michelle says:

    We used to have a membership but don’t anymore. We bought everything for our own home gym and love it!

  3. Little House says:

    Many years ago I signed up with a popular gym and unknowingly signed a 3-year contract. The first 6-months, I used it. After that, I didn’t, but still had to pay the fees. It really did not work out very well for me. I prefer taking walks, riding my bike, or working out in the gym in our apartment complex. All three are FREE!

    • WellKeptWallet says:

      Wait! You have a gym in your apartment complex? I would be hitting that up regularly if we had one of those!

  4. Grayson @ Debt Roundup says:

    When I had a gym membership, I went all of the time. After the gym sued me because of their clerical error, I have not been back to the gym. I am lucky that my wife is an athletic trainer. I don’t get to use excuses at home.

  5. Daisy @ Young Finances says:

    I have a gym pass. It is worth it for me because it’s really, really low cost ($15/month) and it is all I need. Even if I only go a few times per month it’s still worth it. But I can see how it’s not worth it for some.

  6. KK @ Student Debt Survivor says:

    I haven’t had a gym membership in years. I enjoy jogging outside and can do so pretty much year round here. On the snowy days when I can’t jog I try to pop in a dvd.

  7. Simon @ Modest Money says:

    Well, I think I am among the lucky few here since we have a company gym at my place of work. You can hit it whenever you feel like blowing off some steam. 🙂 It’s the best perk of the job so far. Well, we don’t have a pool though!
    Beyond the company one, I haven’t actually explored gym-memberships…I jog a couple of miles some days, mostly weekends, and hit a campus swimming pool nearby…Thats it!
    I think as with all things, you should pay only if you are getting value from it that you cant get with freely available options.

  8. SB @ One Cent at a Time says:

    I have seen people losing weight only after joining a gym. On the other hand, I keep my weight in control without joining a gym…

  9. Paula jungwirth says:

    I joined our local YMCA. I love it! My husbands employer supports it, and we get 10% for a single or family membership. I go four days per week for pool-classes and tons of classes offered all week. They have certified trainers. I also go with a friend, hence the accountability factor! The winters in Wisco are long, icy, snowy, and cold. I consider this an investment in my health, which is priceless! ❤️??

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