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Is a Gym Membership Worth it?

By on Jul 30, 2013 in Fitness | 14 comments

Guy working out in a gymIn 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 I 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 РMy 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?


  1. 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 which actually motivates me to go. Got hit with a “sign up fee” which covered my key fob, 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.


    July 30, 2013

    • 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.


      July 30, 2013

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


    July 30, 2013

    • Glad to hear the home gym is working out for you Michelle!


      July 30, 2013

  3. 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!

    Little House

    July 30, 2013

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


      July 30, 2013

  4. 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 excuses at the home.

    Grayson @ Debt Roundup

    July 30, 2013

    • You were sued by the gym? That is crazy. Good thing your wife is a trainer then, for sure.


      July 30, 2013

  5. 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.

    Daisy @ Young Finances

    July 30, 2013

  6. 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.

    • KK, do you have a workout DVD that you recommend?


      July 31, 2013

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

    Simon @ Modest Money

    July 31, 2013

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

    SB @ One Cent at a Time

    August 1, 2013

    • I am impressed SB, not everyone has that kind of self control.


      August 2, 2013

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