Is getting in shape this year’s New Year’s resolution for you? If so, you may want to think about how you’re going to get in shape. That is, whether you’ll be joining (or renewing) your gym membership. As with any sum of money you’re going to throw at something with the hopes it will work, there are both pros and cons to joining a gym.
Some gyms, such as Planet Fitness or Blink Fitness offer lower and quite affordable monthly memberships. Having a basic and inexpensive gym membership can be motivating when you see so many others working out and staying fit. Keep in mind, however, that these memberships are basic and will probably only have cardio machines (ellipticals, stair masters, treadmills, stationary bikes, etc.) in addition to a stretching area and weights. Sometimes, these kinds of gyms offer tutorials for you to learn how to use the equipment. But often, no-frills gyms will not offer towel service or group fitness classes. And perhaps paying less might motivate you to feel as if you don’t need to work out as much because you aren’t blowing as much money.
If you’re interested in a slightly nicer gym, other gyms, such as New York Sports Club, (which has branches in Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and Boston) offers perks like towel service, swimming pools (in some locations) and group classes (like kickboxing, total body toning, spinning, and yoga). If you’re still interested in a gym with fewer perks, but feel like group fitness classes will inspire you to get to the gym, these kinds of gyms could work for you. If you are willing to invest in a luxury gym and are interested in a different variety of classes and many perks, options such as LA Fitness or Equinox provide specialized classes, like Tai Chi, Barre, or Hot Yoga.
You can also emulate the effects of a simple cardio machine in real life. Instead of running on a treadmill, maybe you want to try plugging in your headphones and heading for a run outside, or instead of a workout bike, try the thrill of the wind in your face on a real bike outside. Many exercises can also be performed without weights and simply by using your own body weight. Here is a list of 50 exercises you can do anywhere.
If you’re interested in mostly classes, a service like ClassPass might be a more motivating option in lieu of a gym. Or if you love spinning, you can purchase a Peleton bike and have access to unlimited spin classes from the comfort of your home.
Perhaps you don’t like classes, and love playing sports. You might consider joining a local intramural sports league to get your sweat on playing your favorite sport.The social aspect to this option is only a bonus. You can also find many workout videos online for yoga, pilates, and other mat exercises. Maybe you want to buy a set of weights and use those at home in place of the gym. All these options are viable as long as you commit and follow through with your goals.