Not Buying It – Gym Membership

I used to be a gym-bunny. In those days I was corporate suited and booted, childless and of course much younger. A career-girl and all the time in the world for myself.

10 to 15 years on, I am probably in the best shape of my life. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t find me appearing in sports illustrated in a swimsuit. No tight abs for me, bearing 2 children can cause a lot of collateral damage.

However I’m fitter than I have ever been, and there’s not a gym membership in sight.

Gretchen and I agree that ‘What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while‘. The key, for me, to fitness is to keep moving and to incorporate that into daily life. That’s something I was unable to do sitting behind a desk 5 days a week 9-5.

The biggest change to my fitness level however came when I took up running, regularly.

(My regularly used Saucony running shoes)

By regularly, I mean 3 times a week, at set times. It’s in the diary. It’s not a nice-to-do, I go regardless. The hardest step when running is the first one out of the door, the others just follow along.

The reason I don’t ‘buy’ gym membership anymore, is that for me it was a way of solving a problem through making a purchase. I no longer believe I can ‘buy’ a solution to fitness or health (or much else in life either). Really I was lying to myself. By committing to a membership, I felt I would or ought (deserved) to be in shape. But tomorrow never comes. I didn’t use the membership regularly and when I did go to the gym the time wasn’t used efficiently. It was almost as though just being there was enough, be that on the treadmill or in the sauna. I’d paid my money and therefore health, fitness and well-being would ensue.

I googled ‘lying to yourself’ and came across this – going to the gym is the first lie exposed in Karen’s post.

Running works for me, it may not be for everyone. But I remain convinced that a gym membership isn’t going to make much lean for me, apart from my wallet.

“Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.” – Michael Jackson

(This post should have been published yesterday, but we were advised in the UK that 28 March 2012 might be our Summer. Literally, that might be it, so make the most of it, I did.)

{ 40 comments… add one }
  • Megyn @MinimalistMommi March 29, 2012, 5:49 pm

    I’m on the opposite end. If I have a gym membership, my chances of working out go up exponentially. I love working out with other people and the abundance of classes. When I did have a membership, I worked out so much more than I do now. We have a large weight bench & set at our house and parks nearby, but I barely work out (other than dancing a lot and very occasional yoga…oh and jumping on the trampoline with the boys). I think for me, the gym reminds me of being a gymnast. I just love the atmosphere! But I agree, a lot of people with a membership don’t use it enough to make it worth it. I hope that we can afford a membership for me one day. For now, I’m trying to convince The Hubs to work out with me (he much prefers to lift on his own).

    • simplybeingmum March 30, 2012, 8:28 am

      Hi Megyn, the gym is well suited to some people. For those that use it – is a great way to get your daily exercise in. I have a friend who religiously goes at set times and to set classes. But she’s also the type who always does what she says, regardless – I’m wondering if you may be like that yourself? Focused and self-motivated? I too hope you can get a membership soon!
      ps – Lifting weights with the Hubby would be my worst nightmare! My heart sinks whenever he offers to run with me (which fortunately isn’t very often)!

  • Megyn @MinimalistMommi March 29, 2012, 5:49 pm

    I’m on the opposite end. If I have a gym membership, my chances of working out go up exponentially. I love working out with other people and the abundance of classes. When I did have a membership, I worked out so much more than I do now. We have a large weight bench & set at our house and parks nearby, but I barely work out (other than dancing a lot and very occasional yoga…oh and jumping on the trampoline with the boys). I think for me, the gym reminds me of being a gymnast. I just love the atmosphere! But I agree, a lot of people with a membership don’t use it enough to make it worth it. I hope that we can afford a membership for me one day. For now, I’m trying to convince The Hubs to work out with me (he much prefers to lift on his own).

    • simplybeingmum March 30, 2012, 8:28 am

      Hi Megyn, the gym is well suited to some people. For those that use it – is a great way to get your daily exercise in. I have a friend who religiously goes at set times and to set classes. But she’s also the type who always does what she says, regardless – I’m wondering if you may be like that yourself? Focused and self-motivated? I too hope you can get a membership soon!
      ps – Lifting weights with the Hubby would be my worst nightmare! My heart sinks whenever he offers to run with me (which fortunately isn’t very often)!

  • Jane March 29, 2012, 8:25 pm

    My trusty pair of Asics & my own free will take me pretty much anywhere. I walk daily even if it’s raining. Well a downpour no, but a sprinkle shower yes.
    I walk my own neighbor, or someone elses, or the parks or the urban downtown – just anywhere to keep the scenery changing.
    I’m too curvy shaped to be a runner unless I want to blow out my knee’s, but walking for miles on end is blissful for me.
    I prefer no headphones/iPods or the like as walking is the perfect time to get away from the constant electronic clutter & gives me time to think new thoughts, find answers to issues & invent new dreams.
    Weird thing is, I live in a huge neighborhood yet I rarely see people out whenever I go walking. Well I see more pizza delivery guys than residents I’ll put it that way. People are so inclined to stay holed up in their homes I suppose even when the weather is spot on – no wonder my nation has such a weight problem.

    • simplybeingmum March 30, 2012, 8:32 am

      Walking is fantastic exercise and indeed much less demanding on the knees. Baz Luhrmann quote coming up… ‘Be kind to your knees – you’ll miss them when they’re gone’. I’ve started walking also (in addition to running), I do 3 miles a day to and from school, and now try and walk with a group of friends once a week. I agree you see so much when you walk, life doesn’t pass you by – you’re part of it!

  • Jane March 29, 2012, 8:25 pm

    My trusty pair of Asics & my own free will take me pretty much anywhere. I walk daily even if it’s raining. Well a downpour no, but a sprinkle shower yes.
    I walk my own neighbor, or someone elses, or the parks or the urban downtown – just anywhere to keep the scenery changing.
    I’m too curvy shaped to be a runner unless I want to blow out my knee’s, but walking for miles on end is blissful for me.
    I prefer no headphones/iPods or the like as walking is the perfect time to get away from the constant electronic clutter & gives me time to think new thoughts, find answers to issues & invent new dreams.
    Weird thing is, I live in a huge neighborhood yet I rarely see people out whenever I go walking. Well I see more pizza delivery guys than residents I’ll put it that way. People are so inclined to stay holed up in their homes I suppose even when the weather is spot on – no wonder my nation has such a weight problem.

    • simplybeingmum March 30, 2012, 8:32 am

      Walking is fantastic exercise and indeed much less demanding on the knees. Baz Luhrmann quote coming up… ‘Be kind to your knees – you’ll miss them when they’re gone’. I’ve started walking also (in addition to running), I do 3 miles a day to and from school, and now try and walk with a group of friends once a week. I agree you see so much when you walk, life doesn’t pass you by – you’re part of it!

  • Rachel March 29, 2012, 8:50 pm

    Going to the gym was never something that appealed to me. I have in the past gone as an encouragement to others such as my husband and my mother, but my “homemade” routine works well for me. I walk in the evenings after my babies have gone to bed and I do a Pilates DVD three times a week. So inexpensive too, seeing as the cheapest gym membership in our area is about $35 a week. I know there are those who are truly motivated to get healthy by having a gym membership (my husband included), but I agree that oftentimes people buy them and never use them if for no other reason than the inconvenience of getting to the gym and changing clothes. Nothing is more convenient than my neighborhood sidewalk and my regular clothes.

    • simplybeingmum March 30, 2012, 8:35 am

      Hey Rachel… so glad you’re getting your exercise in. When you have children at home it can be difficult. Pilates is something I’ve dabbled in, and really need to get back to as I have lower back pain, and my core needs strengthening. I may try a DVD… as you say ‘homemade’ routines can work so well. And walking… fab exercise!

  • Rachel March 29, 2012, 8:50 pm

    Going to the gym was never something that appealed to me. I have in the past gone as an encouragement to others such as my husband and my mother, but my “homemade” routine works well for me. I walk in the evenings after my babies have gone to bed and I do a Pilates DVD three times a week. So inexpensive too, seeing as the cheapest gym membership in our area is about $35 a week. I know there are those who are truly motivated to get healthy by having a gym membership (my husband included), but I agree that oftentimes people buy them and never use them if for no other reason than the inconvenience of getting to the gym and changing clothes. Nothing is more convenient than my neighborhood sidewalk and my regular clothes.

    • simplybeingmum March 30, 2012, 8:35 am

      Hey Rachel… so glad you’re getting your exercise in. When you have children at home it can be difficult. Pilates is something I’ve dabbled in, and really need to get back to as I have lower back pain, and my core needs strengthening. I may try a DVD… as you say ‘homemade’ routines can work so well. And walking… fab exercise!

  • Trish March 30, 2012, 12:00 am

    I started doing crossfit at a gym about 3 yrs ago, and have gradually worked up to going to the gym 4 days a week, and doing crossfit on at least 2 of those days. I used to run, but I have never had upper body strength. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anywhere near ripped abs, but I do have better uppper body strength than I have ever had. This is important to me because I ride horses, and at my age (47) I find that I can’t just expect to be able to handle my horses without that upper body strength gained from my workouts.

    I don’t know how to define crossfit, but it works your whole body, for the most part relying on your own body weight and free weights. I get a routine each week from a trainer and repeat it at least once. I find it is much more efficient than working out using machines. I also have a direction to go with my workouts, instead of randomly going from machine to machine. The crossfit workouts are also typically less than 20 minutes.

    For me crossfit works. In addition to the workouts I also do some type of conditioning that involves intervals running uphill on the treadmill or on the stationary bike or on the stair climber. It never gets easier, but I really love feeling like I have some strength in my upper body.

    • simplybeingmum March 30, 2012, 8:37 am

      Hi Trish – I’ve heard some great things about crossfit, but can’t find anywhere locally that does it. Free weights is one of my favourite forms of working out. I’m wondering if it can be done from home – will have to check it out. Great to hear how much your strength has increased!

  • Trish March 30, 2012, 12:00 am

    I started doing crossfit at a gym about 3 yrs ago, and have gradually worked up to going to the gym 4 days a week, and doing crossfit on at least 2 of those days. I used to run, but I have never had upper body strength. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anywhere near ripped abs, but I do have better uppper body strength than I have ever had. This is important to me because I ride horses, and at my age (47) I find that I can’t just expect to be able to handle my horses without that upper body strength gained from my workouts.

    I don’t know how to define crossfit, but it works your whole body, for the most part relying on your own body weight and free weights. I get a routine each week from a trainer and repeat it at least once. I find it is much more efficient than working out using machines. I also have a direction to go with my workouts, instead of randomly going from machine to machine. The crossfit workouts are also typically less than 20 minutes.

    For me crossfit works. In addition to the workouts I also do some type of conditioning that involves intervals running uphill on the treadmill or on the stationary bike or on the stair climber. It never gets easier, but I really love feeling like I have some strength in my upper body.

    • simplybeingmum March 30, 2012, 8:37 am

      Hi Trish – I’ve heard some great things about crossfit, but can’t find anywhere locally that does it. Free weights is one of my favourite forms of working out. I’m wondering if it can be done from home – will have to check it out. Great to hear how much your strength has increased!

  • Amy March 30, 2012, 2:16 am

    I can’t justify a gym membership. I’ve looked into it before and it’s a choice between swimming lessons for my children or a gym membership for me and it’s no contest really. I exercise everyday, do wii Yoga, walk 3 kms everyday carrying my toddler to pick up my son from school. I’ve committed to this and it’s free (actually saves me travel money). I’ve yet to start running. I know I should though. Baby steps.

    • simplybeingmum March 30, 2012, 8:39 am

      Hey Amy…running isn’t for everyone, and walking is fantastic exercise and so much kinder on the knees. My gut feeling would be skip the gym and keep doing what you are and maybe build up a little on the walking over time, that sounds as good to me as any membership – it’s saving you money rather than getting you to spend money!

  • Amy March 30, 2012, 2:16 am

    I can’t justify a gym membership. I’ve looked into it before and it’s a choice between swimming lessons for my children or a gym membership for me and it’s no contest really. I exercise everyday, do wii Yoga, walk 3 kms everyday carrying my toddler to pick up my son from school. I’ve committed to this and it’s free (actually saves me travel money). I’ve yet to start running. I know I should though. Baby steps.

    • simplybeingmum March 30, 2012, 8:39 am

      Hey Amy…running isn’t for everyone, and walking is fantastic exercise and so much kinder on the knees. My gut feeling would be skip the gym and keep doing what you are and maybe build up a little on the walking over time, that sounds as good to me as any membership – it’s saving you money rather than getting you to spend money!

  • Kate March 30, 2012, 3:33 am

    collateral damage!! I like that!! I have a lot of collateral damage from just one

  • Kate March 30, 2012, 3:33 am

    collateral damage!! I like that!! I have a lot of collateral damage from just one

  • Jo H. March 30, 2012, 11:20 pm

    I’ve done both, although only classes at a gym, not heavy training. When I had more free time those classes worked to get me moving. Now I walk with a neighbour, and it’s social time as well as exercise. We keep each other going. The big thing that I have realized is that exercise of any kind has to be a priority because it takes time, no matter how you’re doing it – but it’s well worth it.

    • simplybeingmum April 19, 2012, 1:01 pm

      Walking or running with friends is a great form of exercise. I run with friends, and a group of walkers has also developed now. It’s very social – much more fun than doing ‘exercise!’..

  • Jo H. March 30, 2012, 11:20 pm

    I’ve done both, although only classes at a gym, not heavy training. When I had more free time those classes worked to get me moving. Now I walk with a neighbour, and it’s social time as well as exercise. We keep each other going. The big thing that I have realized is that exercise of any kind has to be a priority because it takes time, no matter how you’re doing it – but it’s well worth it.

    • simplybeingmum April 19, 2012, 1:01 pm

      Walking or running with friends is a great form of exercise. I run with friends, and a group of walkers has also developed now. It’s very social – much more fun than doing ‘exercise!’..

  • Tara Bush May 6, 2012, 12:39 pm

    Hi i went to the gym for one day and then couldnt walk for three sort of defeated the object really, so now i walk three miles a day and cycle twice a week and wow guess what, i can still walk or even run around after my five lovely children after. Think i’m going to try running but it may be a slow process. Love your site by the way.

    • simplybeingmum May 6, 2012, 10:18 pm

      Hi Tara – lovely to get a comment from you! I’m a firm believer that a gradual change is better than going at it full pelt. Sounds like you have a great routine. Running is good exercise without a doubt, but so is walking (and cycling). Just keep moving! Every little bit you do is worth it! Jo

  • Tara Bush May 6, 2012, 12:39 pm

    Hi i went to the gym for one day and then couldnt walk for three sort of defeated the object really, so now i walk three miles a day and cycle twice a week and wow guess what, i can still walk or even run around after my five lovely children after. Think i’m going to try running but it may be a slow process. Love your site by the way.

    • simplybeingmum May 6, 2012, 10:18 pm

      Hi Tara – lovely to get a comment from you! I’m a firm believer that a gradual change is better than going at it full pelt. Sounds like you have a great routine. Running is good exercise without a doubt, but so is walking (and cycling). Just keep moving! Every little bit you do is worth it! Jo

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