Alternatives to The Gym

Alternatives to The GymGyms 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 to the gym 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 to the gym out there.

Alternatives to The Gym

Simple Negotiation

The first option really isn’t an alternative at all. Just negotiate with the gym for a lower monthly fee. You can just walk in and ask for a better rate or get help from a third-party service as a way to reduce gym membership costs.

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.

If you have never used an ab wheel before, it is a must. It is probably the best ab workout you can do. Here is a YouTube video showing you how to do it. It’s simple yet extremely effective.

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.

Final Thoughts

I hope that this post has given you some alternatives to the gym and paying a monthly fee. If you find yourself never going, there is no reason to renew the membership. When you do, you are just continuing an unnecessary payment plan. Find alternatives to the gym like what I listed above. Read this post for more gym alternatives. Whatever you do, be smart with your finances and your health.

Readers, have you paid for a gym membership and not used it? If you work out outside of a gym, what do you do?

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    • moneysma says

      Good point….when working out at home, it’s easy to get distracted and become lazy. I find that I have to set a schedule for myself. Otherwise, I let other things take priority and skip the work out.

  1. says

    I used to have a gym membership that was 110/month, but I DID use it. I had to quit though because I couldn’t afford it. Now I run on the beach, play beach volleyball, and do the Nike Training Club app at home. Thankfully I live in California so I have good weather to do some of these things.
    Budget & the Beach recently posted..Week in Review-9/9/12My Profile

  2. says

    I paid a lump sum up front for my gym membership because it was cheaper per month that way. I ended being injured for about 90 days and then out of the country once I recovered. But I’m back at the gym now. There’s nothing like investing in your body.

    I’ve done home workouts, too. Body weight exercises are my favorite. You can build gym equipment too if you’re so inclined. Instructions abound on the internet on how to do so.

    -Christian L. @ Smart Military Money

  3. says

    I’ve also fallen in the trap of buying a membership and rarely using it. I usually would do ok for a month or two, or until summer, then I would stop going and never go back.

    I now stick to body weight exercises only and outdoor activities on occasion like riding my bike or hill sprints. Personally I’m not a fan of p90x because it causes me to over-train. I like to play hockey as well a couple times a week and you simply can’t perform at a high level doing other things while in p90x. If you’re doing that program only then it’s fantastic though and you will see great results if you follow through.

    A couple excellent resources I’ve found for body-weight conditioning are You Are Your Own Gym and Convict Conditioning. Both are great.
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    • moneysma says

      Great point about p90x taking a lot out of you. You really have to be disciplined to not over train. I fall into that trap myself sometimes.

      • says

        @moneysma: I use P90 which is the program before P90X and like it a lot. I think a lot of people make the mistake of ordering P90X first because thats the famous one, but you are right that one is designed for people like you that work out a lot already. Before starting on P90 I worked out a few times a week doing light jogging and yoga and was in reasonable shape. Its perfect for me because I can make it through but not easily. For anyone out there who is like me I think P90 is perfect and I plan on working my way up to P90X.

  4. says

    I’m one of those people who actually has less motivation to work out at home. When I’m at the gym, I’m surrounded by people working out, so I feel motivated to work out myself. I’ve done the TRX group demo at my gym and I enjoyed the group setting, but because I’m already busy teaching several fitness classes a week, I can’t commit to their boot camps, but wish I could. Although I’m the one pushing people to work harder, sometimes I need that extra push myself. :)
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    • Jon says

      I try to go at odd hours in hopes of missing the swell of new people at the gym. After a few months, I’ll slowly start to go back to my normal gym time since most are no longer coming.

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