It’s that time of year again.
Over the past few weeks, millions upon millions of people have made new fitness and weight loss resolutions for 2019. They’ve filed into their local gyms, started memberships, and signed contracts.
And pretty soon, almost all of them will stop going. In fact, many never showed up at all. They started the membership, maybe grabbed a bagel, and were never seen again.
Why is that?
Whether you’re struggling with an underused gym membership or simply trying to avoid a similar fate, we’re here to help. Keep reading to find out why we don’t use our gym memberships – and how to change that.
Though maybe you don’t spend quite that much. Planet Fitness has built a veritable empire through $10 a month memberships, after all.
But you still have to consider the sign-up fees, annual fees, and other extra costs. Planet Fitness has a $39 annual fee and other chains, like Gold’s Gym and Lifetime Fitness, charge $50 to $100 for “initiation”.
All in all, you’re looking at anywhere from around $164 to $1,330 per year. And some gyms charge even more!
Now, that actually isn’t a bad investment if you’re using the gym. Even if you only went to Planet Fitness twice a week, it averages out to just over a $1.50 per trip. The more expensive the gym, the more you have to go to get your money’s worth – but the point is, the membership fees themselves aren’t the problem.
The real problem is, most people don’t go to the gym nearly that much. One study found that the average gym user was only going 4 times per month. And another survey discovered that 63% of members weren’t going at all!
People in the Britain waste over $700+ million dollars per year in unused gym fees. In Australia, the figure is a staggering $1.8 billion.
Why are we spending so much money for something we barely use?
Here are some of the most common excuses for why people avoid the gym.
This is one of the reasons people sign a contract in the first place. They think that by committing upfront, it’ll make them more likely to stop making excuses and go. This is known as “pre-commitment” and it can be pretty useful – sometimes.
Unfortunately, it rarely pans out for people who want to start a long-term gym routine, and that membership continues to eat a hole in their pocket for months, if not years.
But that’s exactly how the gyms like it.
You see, gyms actually make more money when you don’t go. Think about it. The more people that attend the gym, the more space and equipment and staff they need. They’d also spend a lot more on maintenance.
So, actually, it’s more profitable to sell memberships to people that don’t work out at all. And that’s why the big chain gyms cater directly to those people.
Let’s use Planet Fitness as an example. They advertise themselves as a “judgement-free zone” and have “lunk alarms”, give out free candy at the front desk, hold monthly pizza and bagel days, and their gyms are filled with leather sofas and massage chairs.
Compare this to the smaller gym down the street, which is just an old warehouse filled with free weights and weird smells.
Planet Fitness makes it no secret that they’re targeting people who don’t go the gym much. And in the end, that’s how they’re able to keep their membership prices so low.
The average PF branch has 6,000 members – but their facilities have a maximum capacity of about 300. Only a small fraction of their members show up, especially if we don’t count the folks who only pop in for free bagels or a massage.
It’s an effective business plan, but it comes at your expense.
As promised, we’re going to cover some ways for you to stop wasting money on your gym. As far as we see it, your options fall into two main categories.
Actually Go to the Gym
Again, it’s not the membership fees themselves that are a problem. If you actually use the gym a lot, it can be a great deal.
But how does someone that only uses the gym a few times a month or less become a regular gym goer?
One way is through accountability. There are different strategies for this, but our favorite is finding an accountability partner.
Don’t Sign Up for a Gym
If you still can’t quite convince yourself to get the most out of your gym membership, then don’t sign up in the first place. But that doesn’t mean you should say “screw it” and give up on exercise entirely.
In fact, some of the fittest people around don’t have a gym membership. They simply use one of the less expensive, less time consuming, or more convenient methods of working out. Here are a few to choose from:
So, why not combine the two? Instead of watching Netflix in your underwear while you waste hundreds of thousands of dollars on a gym membership you’re not using, apply the strategies above to get fit while saving money.
Now, that’s a goal for 2019 that can really make a difference!