I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with gyms. In the past few years I’ve tried, joined, and quit a few ones. None of them could convince me to stay.
About two years ago I joined my current gym. I had just started running and mostly wanted access to their treadmills, so I could still run during the harsh, long German winters. As our financial situation has always been quite ‘unpredictable’, I chose the cheapest gym I could find, which cost about $30 per month. Most other gyms in my area cost up to $90 per month, so I thought it was a pretty good deal, and signed a standard 24 months contract.
That gym is very close to my work place, but a 30 minute drive from my house, so I only went there during the week after leaving my office. At first I liked working out there. It was warm, dry, and safe.
But after a few months, some things started to bug me. Like the fact that you have to pay extra for a shower. Or that there are no trainers that care about you. Or that the treadmill TVs have no sound, no remote control, and are often not working at all. Or that there are no fitness classes. Or that it’s crowded with huge muscle heads and skinny Barbie dolls. Or that there is no AC, so the temperatures are unbearable during the summer months.
I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. I didn’t enjoy going to the gym anymore. I hate wasting money on something that I don’t like, even if it’s just a relatively small amount. So I decided to end my contract, which was actually quite easy. My membership ends in January, so I still have the opportunity to go a few more times if I really want to. And I probably will. I’m still paying the fees, after all!
But there are other activities that I enjoy a lot more! My tiny village has an adult education facility (Volkshochschule in German), which offers a decent variety of fitness classes. I didn’t like the yoga class I took two years ago, but I totally love their Zumba and Pilates classes! As you pay for each class individually, the costs quickly add up, but I’ve decided that they are worth it.
I also still love workout videos, either online or on DVDs. My favorite fitness channel on YouTube is Blogilates. I highly recommend it! Those workouts are actually quite challenging!
And guess what, my husband has started running! He’s always been a very fit guy, but running was never his thing, and he prefered biking and weight training. But a few months ago he picked up running, and is now constantly asking me to run with him.
I’m also considering getting a bike trainer, as a Christmas present for myself, so that I can stay in shape for our outdoor bike rides on sunny summer Sundays.
See, you don’t really need a gym to workout! That said, I might change my mind again one day, and join another gym. But next time I’ll be way more selective, and make sure I’ll find one that I really, really love.
What’s your opinion on gyms? Love them or hate them?