A gym membership is almost a requirement each New Year, or so many are led to believe.
You’ve just overdone it on food — probably desserts — and you are bound and determined to hit the reset button with some intense weight and cardio workouts.
It’s only natural to feel like you need to do something drastic to get your physical health back in order.
But before you add a gym membership to your New Year’s Resolutions, Quartz writer Deena Shanker has a message for you. This year, skip the gym membership, at least if you want to be serious about making positive changes in your life.
Just why should you give it up?
Well, according to Shanker, most people who sign up for a gym membership are in danger of becoming the gym’s favorite type of customer — the kind that doesn’t go.
“The facilities can only hold a small fraction of their actual members, about 10%,” Shanker reports. “Yes, despite what their marketing may imply, most gym chains actually want you to pay upfront, and then come just enough to make your membership feel worthwhile, but not so much that you take up real space.”
The exception to this rule, she notes, “is the person at the other end of the spectrum, the one who works out constantly, and ponies up for extras like personal training sessions, energy drinks, and logo-emblazoned gear.”
If that sounds like you, there are some things that you can do for no cost — or at least very cheaply — to stay in shape.
Shanker admits to “happily” working out on her own with yoga videos on YouTube. If you are so inclined in this form of working out, you can also, for $9.95 per month, check out the library at Gaia, which is now available as part of the Amazon Prime Add-On Subscriptions for those of you with Fire TVs, Fire Sticks, or an Amazon app on your streaming box at home.
That’s a lot cheaper than the $60 per month that some are doling out for a gym membership.
Additionally, free weights are a fraction of the cost of an ongoing gym membership, as is any app that would track your movements through your smartphone’s accelerometer.
Where many of your difficulties staying in shape will lie — at least as you get older — is in the trouble coming to terms with slowing metabolism.
Some people get discouraged by their workouts because they realize, as their body ages, that they are capable of less. This can be discouraging to the point that working out or any form of consistent exercise is abandoned altogether.
Furthermore, young people often have an easier time setting goals to focus their working out towards. As you get older, you start to wonder what it is you’re getting in shape for, as evidenced in this Jerry Seinfeld bit.
To combat this, it is important for individuals to continue to set health goals as they get older.
Want to have six-pack abs or a bikini body by the summer? Figure out how much weight you would have to lose between now and then and begin logging your process on apps like MyFitnessPal.
All of this can help you take advantage of the major plusses surrounding the cancellation of your gym membership.
Just what are those plusses?
In addition to the money you save, you can start making meaningful lifestyle changes instead of using the gym membership as a crutch that you abandon a third or halfway into the New Year, only to pick it back up in September with the attitude of, “The year is almost over, come January, I’m going to re-up and then I’ll really get in shape.”
It’s the crutch of a gym membership that can keep you from making the changes you need to start making today. That’s why it may be in your best interests to get rid of it, starting now.
Are you going to re-up your gym membership in 2016?
[Image via ShutterStock]