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Gym memberships are the biggest fought over piece of financial advice.
I have done a ton of reading from other financial blogs and almost EVERY single one of them says to get rid of your gym membership. If you landed here, I am sure that you have also read a ton of financial advice that says that is the first thing you should cancel. I talked about my debt free journey, but my gym is not something I will cut to get there! Overall, it is probably one of the things that people do waste money on, but if you use your gym membership, DO NOT cancel it!
As much as I complain about it, the gym is like my second home sometimes. Getting there is the hardest part of working out, but once I am there, I can easily lose track of time . Even if I am not great at it, I try my hardest to maintain my health. I want to stay healthy for many years to come. It even topped the list for my 14 things that I Waste Money On.
1) Exercise is the #1 Under Used Stress Reliever
After a really long day at work, I have found myself in the gym. Lifting or running can be a great distraction and a huge stress reliever. Working out also releases chemicals in the brain that cause a person to de-stress. I am not going to sugar coat it, I am almost always stressing about something. Whether it be boys, my future job, my military career and where it is going, or a roommate situation, there is almost always something to stress about. When I am waiting for a boy to call, I go to the gym instead of sitting around.
I have started lifting in the past few months and I actually really enjoy it. In high school, I used to run as a stress reliever. I would just lace up my shoes and take off with my Ipod. I’m pretty sure I was actually in better shape at that point than I am 5 years into my military career. That may be because when I was in high school, every little stress meant the world was ending.
A few months ago, I found out that my grandma was in the hospital. I went to visit her, but ultimately I left the hospital stressed out. For me, for the family, for the organization that needed to happen to make sure everything was taken care of, I was super stressed. What did I do? I spent 2 hours in the gym lifting.
2) Gym Memberships are usually Cheaper than Doctors Visits
While I have great health insurance (Thanks Mom and Dad!), I avoid the doctors like the plague. I don’t know what it is about going, but I always feel like I am not sick enough to go to the doctor. Usually, I will wait about a week before I even think about going to see anyone. If I am not better by then, I consider it.
Staying physically fit is a great way to battle of illnesses. I can say that I really have been lucky with dodging the flu and cold season this year. *knocks on wood* While this doesn’t always work, it has definitely helped me from anything too serious. Long term, exercise has been proven to reduce the risks for about a million really expensive diseases. If I can prevent those (or at least reduce my risks), then it seems like a small price to pay right now.
3) My Gym Offers Me A Discount!
If I am a regular, I get a discount. This means that the more days a week that I spend at the gym, the less I pay a month. If that isn’t an incentive to get into the gym, I don’t know what is. Honestly, there have been a few times where the incentive alone was the only reason that I went to the gym at all that day.
My gym does it by the quarter. If you average 4 times a week for a quarter, I get a month free! Look into a gym that gives an incentive. If there isn’t one around, I suggest some of the gyms that are $10-$25 a month like Planet Fitness or Blue Moon Fitness.
4) There are too many distractions for “Home Workouts”
Yes, I could always run outside. I could take advantage of all of the trails that Lincoln has to offer, but I am a huge wimp when it comes to the cold! If it is cold, I will make an excuse not to do it. Also, if there isn’t enough light (morning or night), I won’t do it. I am super paranoid about running outside because I grew up watching way too much NCIS or CSI. I won’t run on the trails until it is middle of the day, and even then I get a little nervous about it.
When it comes to doing home workouts, I end up doing it for 5 minutes before getting distracted. My roommates start talking to me, I remember something I need to do, or I just don’t feel like working out. If I drive 5 minutes to my gym, I know that I am going to get at least 30-40 minutes of a workout in! Now that we moved, we are even closer to my gym now!
I imagine that this would be worse if I had kids and a list of household things to do beyond what my roommate and I share. My gym time is my me time and it is pretty hard to interrupt me there! There have been multiple home workouts that ended with me laying on my living room floor after doing a push-up or just deciding to go back to bed.
5) I want to be happy in my body.
This is another rant for another day, but I see too many women who are absolutely miserable with their body image. My body image hasn’t always been the greatest. Actually, I have struggled with it on and off for years. Mostly on, probably since 4th or 5th grade. I am not exactly where I want to be, but I could be worse! I am tired of seeing women so down on themselves, but I also have body goals for where I want to be.
Girls are having body image issues younger and younger. If they see the women in their life strong and working out, it is a huge boost in their own body image. In my opinion, it is never too early to get your child involved in your workouts. If they are walking and running around, there is a good change that they wanna be on the move.
When I lift a little more weight, it boosts my confidence so much. I am working on losing weight and being super confident in my own body. To be confident, is to be an unstoppable woman. Also, lifting makes me that much more independent when I don’t need someone to carry something for me.
6) I have made a few friends in the process.
My gym management and trainers are super great. They are all super friendly and ask about my day every time I go in. If that isn’t an extra mood booster, I don’t know what is! I also occasionally run into people from the military or other aspects of my life at the gym! I have seen a few people there on a regular basis and I can’t wait to meet more!
So ultimately, I don’t think the gym membership is really too much of a price to pay. While I could use the money for debt, my happiness and health is more important to me. Now, if your membership card never gets taken out of your wallet and you can’t even remember how to get to your gym, then it is time to look into cutting the ties. That is a good reason to either start getting into the gym or cancel the membership, but I truly don’t think I could make it through a week without some sort of physical exercise.