Starting January 1st, formerly empty gyms all over the country will suddenly become overflowing with people set on making this year the year they finally get in shape.
And whether their reason is to lose weight, gain muscle, improve overall health or something else entirely, New Years resolutions are the number one reason people of all fitness levels pony up the cash and decide to finally join their nearby gym.
But as a former personal trainer and gym-addict, I’d urge you to save your money and take a different—and more successful—approach and not get a gym membership this year.
Here are 5 reasons why you shouldn’t join a gym this New Year:
You probably won’t even use it
When I used to work at a gym, I’d see a flood of people join in January. They’d act really enthusiastic about getting in shape, and often make it in two or three times a week, diligently doing their treadmill workout or trying a new class or two. But after about a few weeks, they’d start coming in less and less until finally after a month or two, they’d stop showing up altogether.
In fact, nearly 4 out of 5 Americans don’t even use their gym membership—except maybe at the beginning of the year.
And whether it’s because you’re intimidated by the (unnecessary) machines in the gym, you hate the commute or you just don’t know what workouts to do, save your money and work out at home or outside instead.
The equipment sucks anyway
I’m always shocked when I go into a gym I’ve never been in before and there’s not even a basic pull up bar, a jump rope or a few kettlebells for people to use.
In fact, most standard gyms (not including CrossFit gyms) are overflowing with fancy machines and may only offer a few piddly free weights. You’re better off buying a few basic pieces of equipment for your own home, and focusing mostly on bodyweight exercises instead.
It costs too much money
Depending on where you live (gyms in cities are more expensive), a gym membership can cost anywhere from $30 a month to $200 a month, and that’s not even counting the initiation fees. That means you’re spending $360 to $2,400 on a membership to something you might only use once or twice a month (or, not at all if you’re like most gym members).
Want a better way to use your money? Get a few trusty pieces of home workout equipment like a doorway pull up bar, jump rope, even some parallettes or a kettlebell or two. Not only will these be one time expenses that will more likely than not last through a lifetime of workouts, you’re also more likely to actually use them since they’ll never be too far away.
It takes too much time
For most people, a trip to the gym consists of the time it takes to drive there, changing in the locker room, a 45 minute or so slow paced workout or a class, a shower and maybe a trip to the smoothie bar—altogether taking anywhere from an hour or two every single time they go.
So it’s no wonder many people have trouble finding the time to work out—an hour or two of your day is a lot to commit to 3-6 days a week!
Working out at home will not only save you money, it’ll also cut the time you spend getting to and from exercise by more than half—especially if you do more efficient forms of exercise like HIIT.
Bodyweight training is better anyway
You’ve probably noticed that most gyms don’t prioritize bodyweight training, focusing instead on shiny equipment to lure in members. But most machines are mimicking bodyweight exercises anyway—just in less efficient, less beneficial way.
For example, when you sit at a biceps curl machine to bust out a few sets of curls, you end up only using your biceps muscles. On the other hand, if you were to stand up straight and do biceps curls using a pair of dumbbells—or better yet, just do some pull ups—you’ll not only work your biceps, but also your core muscles as well.
And since bodyweight training helps our body work like it’s supposed to work, you’re better off skipping the gym altogether and just doing your workout at home instead.
Skip the gym this New Year
So this year, rather than forking over the initiation fee and monthly membership costs, consider skipping the gym altogether.
You’ll not only save money and time, you’ll also be more efficient and more likely to keep up a consistent workout schedule throughout the entire year rather than just the first few weeks.
Image credit: deanetr
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