Is a Gym Membership REALLY Worth it for You in the Long Run?

Ringing in the New Year comes with the infamous New Year's Resolutions. Getting a gym membership tops the list of resolutions. Is it really worth it?We all know that with the New Year, comes the infamous New Year’s Resolutions. And more often than not, they include getting into better shape. This undoubtedly equates to joining a gym. But, is getting a gym membership really going to be worth it for you in the long run?

What’s Your Why?

If you have made a New Year’s Resolution to get into better shape or lose weight, then you are probably thinking that joining a gym is the only way. What you should really be asking yourself is: why?

  • Why will joining a gym create a lifelong change that you have not yet been able to make?
  • Why is joining a gym the only way to get into better shape or lose weight?
  • Why is now the best time to do it?

None of these questions are wrong to ask. In fact, you should be asking yourself them. If you are really determined to create some positive change in your life, then you have to decide what the best way is for YOU to approach it.

How Much is it Worth?

Once you have determined that your why is strong enough, then you have to decide just how much joining a gym is worth to you. Some of the best questions to ask yourself to decide just how much it is worth, are:

How much will the gym membership cost you monthly?

Depending on where you live, the average gym membership costs approximately $58. That equates to an extra $696 per year, that could be going to something else if you aren’t using it. I don’t know about you, but that is a mini-vacation for us.

Does your budget have enough wiggle room to cover this new expense?

You should have already created your new monthly budget heading into the New Year. Therefore, you know how much money you have to play around with. If you don’t currently have an extra $58 a month to join a gym, then you simply can’t do it.

There are some other great options that don’t cost any money if your budget won’t allow for the extra expense right now. Some of these include:

  • Hiking
  • Speed Walking/Running
  • Biking (You can get a bike really cheap at Consignment stores and online platforms, such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace)
  • Free workout apps for in-home workouts, requiring no equipment

How often do you plan to use the gym? (Be realistic here!)

If your schedule is jam-packed already, then how do you feasibly feel like you will be able to sneak in regular workouts at the gym? I know, for me, going to the gym takes an extra 2, or more, hours out of my day. This includes travel time, working out, taking a shower, and getting ready for the rest of the day.

There are a lot of days that I simply just don’t have that kind of time. This is especially true when the kids are in school, and we are traveling all over the county, dropping them off and then picking them back up.

So for somebody like me, I might feasibly get to the gym once a week; twice if I am lucky. For me, that simply isn’t worth it because I can do so many other things to work out at home in less time.

But, if your situation is different and you do have the time to carve out of your day (maybe early morning or later evening), then it may be worth it for you.

What is your long-term goal for getting the gym membership?

Is your goal a short-term goal of losing a certain amount of weight? If so, then getting a gym membership may be helpful if you need that kick start.

It is probably only going to be helpful, from a financial perspective, if you don’t sign up for the monthly recurring charges. Instead, pay for however many months you plan to go, up front, and in full. That way you won’t continue to have charges run on your credit or debit card long after you have left the gym.

If your long-term goal is to become a member for life, then the recurring charges may be the way to go because there is usually a discount associated with that option.

Either way, keep in mind that an average of 67% of gym members don’t ever go to the gym. So that is just money wasted if you aren’t using it.

It is probably only going to be helpful, from a financial perspective, if you don't sign up for the monthly recurring charges. Click To Tweet

Gym Camaraderie

A lot of us need a support system or network to help us create positive change. This is where a gym membership can really shine if you fall into this camp.

People who work out at the same gym have a tendency to create gym relationships that assist with their individual goals. When we feel the societal pressure to be accountable to others, we have a higher rate of success, because we don’t want to fail those in our accountability groups.

In fact, just having somebody to be accountable to, increases our level of success by 65%, according to a study ran by the American Society of Training and Development. That’s huge! And if this is what you need to help you create the change you want, then figure out a way to make it work.

So, is the Gym Worth it?

Overall, it really all depends on you. If one of your New Year’s Resolutions happens to be to get into better shape or lose weight, then there are a few factors to bring into play in order to make a sound decision.

  • Do you have a strong why for wanting to join a gym?
  • How much is it going to cost you monthly to join a gym?
  • Will your budget allow for this increased cost?
  • Are there FREE alternatives you could use instead?
  • What is your long-term goal for joining a gym?
  • Do you need to be held accountable in order to achieve success?

Once you have the answers to all of these questions, then the best decision for you will become clear.

For somebody like me, it is simply not worth it. I would be one of the 67% of the gym membership population who is paying for something she is not using. I am simply not a fan of burning up my hard earned money.

If you’ve joined a gym as part of a New Year’s Resolution, have you found it worth it for you? Why or why not?