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Friday, October 31, 2014

Why I Don’t Want You to Keep that New Year’s Gym-Membership Resolution

Be flexible! You can take your workout anywhere
“I’d rather buy shoes anyway,” my friend said, showing me her new pair of Jimmy Choos. “Who needs the gym?”

Her epiphany came after a sobering budget check last January, when she realized she had spent over $900 for a gym membership in 2013 but used that membership maybe once a week. Factor in parking fees, commuting costs, plus gym necessities (read: lots of Lululemon attire), and she was spending quite a bit of money on something she hardly ever used.

I wanted to say she should have sucked it up and let that financial reality check get her ass to the gym more often, but I knew my friend better than that. Workouts just weren’t a big priority, and she would rather spend her Saturday afternoons browsing the Nordstrom Rack clearance sale than racking weights.

While I have minor gripes with gym ambiance, working out remains a huge priority for me. I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying a strenuous, intense workout and the zillion
benefits of putting in that hard work.

But I get it. Some folks are just not gym people. Telling someone they “should” do something when it just isn’t a priority is just a futile guilt trip into disaster. When you hate the gym, it becomes too easy to throw the baby out with the bathwater and completely blow off your workout.

Recently I read some sobering statistics about gym memberships. The average gym member visits twice a week. Thirty-nine dollars of the $58 average monthly membership cost goes to waste. Over two-thirds of members never use their gym. Personal trainers outnumber gyms two to one.

I could go on, but you get the sobering reality. Americans are pouring a ton of money into fitness options they rarely if ever use, and gyms happily exploit this you-better-join-if-you-want-to-lose-weight mentality every December.

You know the story. It’s mid-December, you’re feeling a little, um, girthy from overeating Christmas cookies, you’ve already spent serious money on holiday gifts, and so you reason what’s an extra $500 anyway? So you happily plunk down the money, convinced you’ll finally get the lean, toned, perfect body you want for that April Maui vacation.

Except that January rolls around, the gray weather and holiday-gift debt has got you down, and you use your new membership maybe three times that month. Guilt, remorse, and empty promises get you even further down.

That's why I don't want you to plunk down a large amount of money for a gym membership if you'll never use it. If you will, and rabid dogs couldn't keep you away from the gym because you're determined to get a stay fit and lean, this blog isn't for you. Rock on!

If you’ve go cold feet but remain determined to work out consistently, double the stakes. Put your money where your mouth is and buy a training package at the same time. Yes, you will wince as the perky front desk attendant rings up your triple-digit credit card bill, but all bets are your butt will be working out come early January. “People commit with their wallets,” my friend JJ Virgin says. Here’s a great way to test that philosophy. Go big or go home.

If you'd rather be, well, anywhere except for the gym on any given day, consider these seven alternatives to get a fabulous workout without making a serious gym-membership commitment.

  1. Consider alternatives. I know that “$499 a year if you commit now” sign becomes tempting, but you’re better off spending $99 (or whatever) for a month trial and seeing if the gym is for you. If it is, your gym will likely be running a Valentine’s special or you could just ask the manager for the New Year’s special. If it’s not, you just saved $400 and a lot of guilt.
  2. Rally a friend. You probably have a bestie who either goes to the gym regularly or wants to join a gym like you do. Do it together and make a contest out of it, a la the Seinfeld episode “The Contest.” Make the stakes big. The first person who backs out of working out has to pay up a certain amount of money or take the other person out to dinner, that sort of thing. Make it fun and you’ll be far more likely to comply. 
  3. Make a home gym. I talked about this extensively in last week’s blog. Creating an at-home gym presents its own potential problems – among them, being a little too convenient – but with the right mindset and discipline it can become a godsend to anyone on a tight schedule or who dreads visiting their gym. Don’t get overly carried away with equipment and commit to – in the words of Nike – just doing it.  
  4. Hire an at-home trainer. Yes, I know this isn’t in everyone’s budget, but having an experienced trainer design a personalized, challenging program in your own home, even once a week, can become a splurge worth considering. Last-minute cancelations or blowing off your workout just got a lot harder. Try the The Jinifit Virtual Training System™. If you want the next best thing to actually having me in your living room, check out The Jinifit Virtual Training System™. For about the price of a year gym membership, you can get the same effective, butt-kicking workout I use with my upper-echelon clients like Gene Simmons. Learn more about it here and save almost $300. 
  5. Start an exercise club. Congregate a few like-minded folks and like a once-a-week (or more often, depending on schedule) meet up that incorporates challenging workouts. Maybe one day you'll do an aerial yoga class, the next day an Ashtanga yoga class, then a Barre class, then… Well, you get the point. Mix it up, make it challenging and fun, and you'll probably make a few new friends in the bargain. 
  6. Try this advanced 7-minute workout. I have a platonic (girl) crush on Gretchen Reynolds, the NY Times fitness writer. She conveys complex, science-based information in entertaining-to-read blogs, and I think she's tops in her class. So of course I swooned over her recent 7-minute workout blog. Time-crunched, gym-phobic folks, you've got no more excuse not to work out with this efficient, effective, Jinifit-approved workout.

Let's talk 2015. After considering these alternatives, will a gym membership be among your New Year's plans? Do you have another no-commitment workout plan I missed? Share yours below or on my Facebook fan page.

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Fitness expert and strength coach Jini Cicero, CSCS, teaches intermediate exercisers how to blast through plateaus to create incredible transformations. Are you ready to take your fitness to a whole new level?  Find out now!  Take Jini's "Are you Ready?" Quiz at© 2014 Jinifit, Inc.

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