Gyms make their money off of the people who never go to workout. People sign up with good intentions, but most eventually fall back in their set ways. If you belong to a gym (and use it) you know exactly what I am talking about: come January, the gym is flooded with new members trying to keep their New Year’s promise of getting into shape. Sadly, come late March, most are never seen again.
On top of not taking care of themselves, these people are also not taking care of their finances. They sign that one year contract and never use it. Every month $50 is taken out of their checking account. Even worse are those that allow the membership to renew into another year. I know of a person that was paying a gym membership for three years and went to the gym a total of one time, the day he signed up. At $50 per month, he just wasted $1,800. That would have been a nice Roth IRA contribution!
Maybe you aren’t like the people I mention above, but are more like me, someone who uses the gym on a regular basis. The gym hates us. I try to negotiate for a lower membership fee and I get $10 a month knocked off my membership. The guy next to me who never comes in gets half price for six months. It’s frustrating.
So what are your alternatives if you don’t want to get hit up with $50 a month or sign a full year contract? Or if you aren’t sure you will even keep working out? Fortunately there are many great alternatives out there.
Body Weight Options
I use the perfect pushup and enjoy it a lot. It gives me a great, quick workout and allows me to vary the standard pushup. Plus they are small, so they store easily and travel well too. I highly recommend them.
I also like chin-up bars. You can set these up in a doorway in your house and door chin-ups in the comfort of your house. Personally, I hate chin-ups at the gym because the only place to do them is usually taken. If you are worried about it holding your weight or what it might do to your wall to trim, don’t be. Most hold up to 300 pounds and they have padding so that they never damage your walls or trim.
Combined these three items will run you roughly $100 and give you a great upper body workout. Who needs the gym?
Home Based Workout Programs
These are all great, but maybe you want something more? You are in luck. You can choose a DVD based workout like P90X or Insanity. Both are great at giving you a workout that will never bore you. Each time you workout, you are doing something completely different. The cool thing about these workouts is once you go through the DVD’s, you can go through them again. By changing up the workouts so frequently, your body is always trying to adapt so you can continue to cycle through the DVD’s over and over.
If you are doing either P90X or Insanity, I recommend a heart rate monitor. Not because you need one to do the exercises, but because it will further motivate you. In fact, I recommend one in general. I use the Ironman Road Trainer and love it. I wasn’t sure about the chest strap, but I really don’t notice it when I am wearing it. The watch is simply to set up and use. I was using it in less than five minutes after opening the box. What I like the most about it is that you can review your workout to see how many calories you burnt. I am a competitive person and really enjoy trying to burn more calories working out than I did the previous session.
I hope that this post has given you some options when looking at working out outside of the gym environment. There are many other options on top of the ones I list here, but I am personally familiar with these so I only commented on them.
Readers, have you paid for a gym membership and not used it? If you work out outside of a gym, what do you do?