to gym or not to gym

A decision that I have struggled with since moving to the city has been whether or not to  invest in a gym membership. Where I previously lived, I had a trainer for about 6 months and went to the gym a few times a week. (This habit would of course waiver from time to time, but when I was focused, this was the pattern.) I have ultimately decided against a gym membership here, but I think depending on your schedule, lifestyle, and motivators it can be a good move. Hopefully this list of pros for each will help you decide which is best for you (or perhaps to ditch it if you currently have one.)

Gym Membership:

  • Machines of all kinds (cross training, treadmills, weights)
  • Many come with group classes included
  • Easy access to personal trainers
  • Depending on the gym, they usually have pretty good extras and amenities like showers, tanning, cardio tvs and more

Workouts on your own (without a gym)

  • Cost is much lower (and can be free depending on what your workout of choice is)
  • You aren’t held to any location or hours of operation specifications
  • Variety
  • In most cases you’ll have extra cash, so you can throw in a spin class or yoga class with the extra funds every now and then

I personally have seen better results working out on my own. I think it’s because when I had a gym membership I felt obligated to go there since I was paying for it, but didn’t really enjoy being there. So I just didn’t do anything. I like mixing it up or else I get super bored. For example this past week:


Sunday: Bike Ride
Monday: TurboFire (Beachbody Workout. I’ll post more info soon)
Tuesday: Bike Ride
Wednesday: Yoga Class
Thursday: OFF
Friday: TurboFire 20 Min HIIT
Saturday: Yoga Class
Sunday: The Color Run 5k race (I’ll post a recap after!)

There are times I do miss having the machines and atmosphere of being at a gym. I think there are enough Groupons and free trials out there for me to mix it into my routine from now and then.

Do you have a gym membership? Which works better for you?


3 thoughts on “to gym or not to gym

  1. Hey, just wandered over here through your old B&C site and this post just reached out at me. I also had the “gym or no gym” struggle when I moved to “the city” (though a different one in my case) last year. So far I am doing no-gym as well and frankly, I can’t see myself going back anytime soon. I find that with my urban life I have to walk a lot more, and with a new (and busier) job, I just don’t have *time* for a gym membership. Most days, I rely on all of my “natural” activity (walking to work, etc.) and then supplement that with a short high-intensity workout (usually 20 minutes or so–probably less time than it would take me to get too and from a gym).

    I’m curious about how you make it work during the winter months? Here in California I am lucky to have pretty mild weather year round, so doing a sprint workout outdoors (and just walking around) is almost always possible. I think the one thing that might drive me back to a gym would be moving somewhere with much colder winters.

    • Hi Catherine! Personally, I did a lot of at-home workouts this past winter. I’d run outside (sometimes when it was snowing) but that was only pleasant if the temperature was high enough. Lots of circuits with dumbbells, on-demand yoga videos, and T25-esque workouts were done. I also remember walking to a warm yoga class in the snow! It wasn’t easy, but there were times I’d still want to get out of the house, so I’d bundle up and end up at an indoor group class somewhere!

      Hope this helps!

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