As you probably gathered from the title of this post, I recently gave up my gym membership.
I’m not like Chandler. I love exercising, and I used to love going to the gym. In fact, last October we were considering moving to a lovely new place, and I was worried about the way that it would affect our lifestyle – mostly because we would no longer live across the street from a gym.
So what changed?
Well first of all, I have to say that I was lucky to be able to cancel my membership with very little fuss. I am on an annual plan that expires every August 31, so I simply didn’t renew it. It could not have been easier. If it had required a lot of arguing with membership representatives, I may have lost my nerve. It is a pretty clever set-up that they have for themselves, I must say.
So to start with, I should probably give a bit of background on my former gym-going habits. When I was a kid, my best friend and I did an “Introduction to Weight Training for Kids” at the local Y. It was a multi-week program, which basically consisted of learning how to use the various machines safely and properly. That was about it for me, because I was always incredibly active growing up (soccer, ballet, volleyball, ballet, basketball, ballet, golf, ballet, oh did I mention ballet?). When I was a super-athlete in high school, I worked out a bit in the school weight room, but I rarely had time because I was always at some sort of practice.
When university rolled around, I kept up with my dance, and dabbled occasionally in doing cardio classes at the school gym, but I was not very committed and didn’t really know what I was doing. I tried to bike and run places, but I wasn’t consistent about anything. I also went to hot yoga sometimes, but didn’t make too much of an effort because I didn’t like the timings of the classes.
After school ended, I was hanging out with people who LOVED going to the gym. They had favourite classes and instructors, and knew all of the Les Mills tracks. I started going to Pump, Spin, and Flow classes pretty regularly, and I would drive across town to work out with my friends even though there were far more convenient locations.
When I stopped spending time with those people, I started to use the gym across the street from me pretty regularly (if ineffectively), then religiously, then obsessively. I was thin and fit but I was unhealthy, and my body let me know. I started to work out at home a lot more, knowing that I could always choose to go to the gym if I felt like it. I was basically working out at home 3-4 times a week, and going to the gym 2-3, but enjoying my at-home workouts as much (if not more).
Then, we went on strike.
My picket time was 6-10am, which covered my usual gym-going time. All of the walking was murder on my knees and hips, and I had very little energy for a workout after getting home each day. I also was worried about the awkwardness of running into managers at the gym (there were a few regulars who I saw frequently at my morning workouts) during the strike, so I stayed away.
I got into the habit of working out at home. I acquired some kettlebells and an exercise ball, and upgraded my weights. I got back into running. I realized I didn’t need the gym, and that renewing my membership would actually be an irresponsible waste of money. So I let my membership expire.
We are still having beautiful weather, and running outside is a treat. I am a little bit worried about what this winter will bring. I’m happy to run in cold, but icy and slippery sidewalks are a definite no-no. I picked up an old exercise bike in the street that is nothing fancy, but I can definitely make use of for days when I want cardio, but a run isn’t in the cards. Yes, I miss knowing that I can pop over for a spin class or some yoga, but now I’m free to try other things. I don’t have to feel guilty knowing that I am paying a lot of money for a membership I’m not using. I’m looking forward to going to the barre studio more, and swimming laps at the public pool. There are all sorts of possibilities! I have proved to myself that it is possible to be fit without being a slave to the gym, and it is a great feeling.
So I quit the gym, and the world hasn’t ended. If I’m stir-crazy by January, I may rejoin, but for now I’m loving life!
Questions for you:
Do you have a gym membership?
Have you ever tried barre?
Do you work out at home?