I’ve always scoffed at the idea of joining a gym. All too often people join their local gym with the best of intentions only to find themselves, six months later, realizing they haven’t been to the gym for six months.
You wouldn’t pay for cable if you didn’t own a TV would you? So why the crap would you pay for a gym membership that you derive no benefit from? It just doesn’t make sense.
Seeing that my natural body type is long and lanky, I’ve never really been that in to the idea of working out for the sake of working out. I’d much rather go play tennis with a friend, go on a hike, or hit the slopes in the winter. Why pay some company a pretty penny, when mother nature offers plenty of free (or relatively cheap) options?
I’ll tell you why…
- I live in Seattle. It’s freakin’ beautiful here and there is no shortage of free outdoor activities. Unfortunately, the rumors about Seattle are true… it really does rain a good nine months of the year. Could I go hike on a drizzly weekend morning? Sure. Will I? No.
- I didn’t just join a gym, I joined an “athletic club”. This basically means that in addition to a ton of free weights and machines, members have access to 8 tennis courts, a pickleball court, five racquetball courts, four basketball courts, a pool, a hot tub, a sauna, and about 10 daily classes (yoga, pilates, spin, barre, insanity, etc).
- One of my good friends/neighbors joined the same gym. We’ve booked Wednesday and Sunday nights in our calendar as Pickleball or racquetball nights. Having a set schedule and someone to be accountable to, will keep me consistent. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought to myself “I should go for a run”, but never actually did it.
- Childcare is dirt cheap. For $3/hr Girl Ninja and I can drop off Baby Ninja at the clubs day-care facility and be baby-free for two hours. THREE DOLLARS AN HOUR!!!! If I had to hire one of our high school friends to come babysit they’d charge me $10/hr minimum. The below market child care virtually covers the cost of the membership. Instead of joining a gym, I like to think I joined an elite babysitting club that just so happens to provide their members plenty of fitness options.
- I’m turning 30 in July. Call this a quarter life crisis if you will (yes, that means I plan to live to 120), but I want to be in the best shape of my life when my 30th comes. It’s not that I’m unhappy with myself (remember I’m relatively lean), but more a challenge to myself. How fit can I get? I have no metrics by which I’ll be gauging my success. I don’t care if I gain or lose weight over the next 8 months. I have no goal to bench X amount or do Y number of pushups by July. I simply want to be proactive in being healthy and push my body in a way I never have before.
If you care to know my general plan over the next 8 months it will look kind of like this:
- Sunday Night: Play pickleball or racquetball with friend, followed by 10min ab workout
- Monday: Off (maybe pool or sauna)
- Tuesday: High Intensity Interval Training. 20 minute workout that is way more efficient than going for a run.
- Wednesday: Play pickleball or racquetball with friend, followed by 45min arm workout.
- Thursday: Work out back and shoulders; 1hr.
- Friday: Another 20min High intensity interval training sesh.
- Saturday: Do whatever I feel like and my body is up to.
So yeah, although I still kind of hate the idea of paying $50/mo for a gym membership, it’s worth it to me right now.
My goal is to hit cardio hard twice a week with the interval training to lower body fat percentage, and then lift relatively heavy (4-6 reps in a set) to encourage muscle growth and definition. I have no idea what the results will be, but there’s no way I’ll be worse off for trying, right?
And yes, in case you were wondering I took a bunch of “before” photos the other day so that, come July, I can hopefully see some significant progress. I had to put them in a hidden computer folder so no one comes across my awkward body shots. Haha.
Have you ever joined a gym? Did you/do you feel like you are getting your monies worth?