The going joke at health clubs is that most people pay to NOT go, rather than to go in the first place. New Year’s resolutionists enthusiastically fork over their money with good intentions of getting into shape, and hitting the gym at least three times a week. But by the end of January, the gym is back to it’s half-full capacity, and us regular gym goers are happy to have it back to ourselves. I am one of the less common gym members who actually use the gym, and I happily pay for it every month. While there are many critics who will tell you not to waste your money, to just work out at home, or join stroller strides, the gym may be just the perfect place for you. It is for me, and here’s why:
1. It’s Something For Me
As a mom, wife and employee, there are not many times during the day that I’m able to do something just for me. Hitting the gym for an hour a day, 3-4 times per week is guaranteed ME time. My daughter is well-cared for in the kids care, and I can work out without getting nagged every 2 minutes. Yes, I’ve tried doing in-home workout videos and I actually do use them when I don’t have time for the gym. But it’s not without several stops and starts of the DVD and definitely not without frustration. The gym is a designated spot for me to get in an out of, with a sure-fire workout I can check off my to-do list. If I plan it correctly, I even coordinate with my mom friends and we can work out together. Bonus!
2. It Keeps Me Accountable
Maybe it’s because I’m cheap, but there is no way in heck that I will pay for something that I don’t use. Just like I cringe when I have to toss out food in the fridge that we never got around to eating, weeks that pass me by without using my gym membership leave me feeling guilty. Basically it means that if I’m paying for it- I use it. Knowing I’m forking out money every month for up to 14 hours of childcare a week plus free reign of copious amounts of gym equipment means I’m getting my money’s worth. Oh, you didn’t know it’s only about $.50 an hour for childcare at the gym? Excuse DENIED! Anyone can afford that kind of childcare!
3. Social Interaction For My Child
Not only do I get to have a break and do something for me, my young child gets to interact with other kids by going to the kids care. There have been rough patches where she didn’t want to go, but I really don’t see how that’s any different from school, which is in the near future. She gets to have fun and play with toys she doesn’t have, and make new friends. Isn’t that what being a kid is all about?
4. I’m In Shape
Ding ding! The purpose of the gym is to get in shape and maintain a healthy lifestyle and I’ve faithfully used my gym membership for almost 10 years. When I don’t go to the gym, I don’t work out hard enough. I’ve tried skipping the gym and going walking instead. I did not put in as much effort. I’ve ditched the gym to do a workout video, but pretty much do the bare minimum because I don’t have enough equipment at home. People have told me I should quit the gym and just start running but I hate it, so skipping the gym for an exercise regime based around the free cost of running outside is not worth it to me because I just.won’t.do.it. Paying the small amount I do for good health is worth it to me. It’s a lot cheaper than paying for copays to the doctor and other health-related medications that can come from an unhealthy lifestyle!
The gym offers free classes, tons of free weights and plenty of cardio machines that you’re bound to find something you like. If you belong to a fancy gym, you’ll probably even have a pool and tennis or basketball courts. When I get bored of the treadmill, I can try out an elliptical. Recently I switched gym locations and the change of scenery has me reinvigorated to work out even more often. I like checking out the new equipment that differs from my old gym, and that swimming pool has my name on it. I could never afford to purchase enough equipment to keep me interested in working out and why should I? The gym’s already done it for me.
I completely understand that a gym membership doesn’t work for everyone. It’s a luxury item that doesn’t always fit into a budget, or you may not feel comfortable sweating and grunting in front of other people. That’s ok! The important thing is finding a fitness routine that DOES work for you. Do something for yourself, and get healthy.