Don’t “eat” your gym membership

Here’s something to help you get your butt to the gym:
The fitness industry banks on the fact that you will not exercise. Actuarial studies have found that the average gym user will go less than twice a week. With the average monthly cost of health club memberships reaching $55, that’s approximately $39 worth of the membership goes to waste each month. Health clubs almost always oversell the space in the gym, expecting a large percentage (up to 67%) not to show very often!

Why do people spend all that money and rarely use their membership?
Overconfidence, says a study performed by Stefano Dellavigna an assistant professor of economics at the University of California at Berkley, and Ulrike Malmendier , an assistant professor of finance at Stanford.

First, we tend to overestimate the number of times that we will go to the gym, which leads us to buy more expensive membership that rewards the frequent visitors with financial savings. The busiest month in health clubs is January, when people are hot to trot on their resolutions, but guess what? That crowd quickly fades away, and you may be locked into your club contract for a year.

Just because your wallet is skinnier, doesn’t mean you are. The only way to tip the scale (both literally and figuratively!) in your favor is to use the membership that you have purchased!

How can you make sure you are getting your bang for your buck at the gym?

  • Create an exercise plan that works in your daily life. If three times a week is doable for you, schedule those workouts in advance and put them in your calendar. Treat the gym like a business meeting. If it’s in your calendar you have to go!
  • Buddy up. Find a friend who goes to your gym and make an “appointment” to meet each other there!
  • Sign up for classes. Some classes, like spin, request that you reserve your space ahead of time, and you may be penalized if you fail to show up. This is a great way to hold yourself accountable!
  • Freeze your membership! Lots of people love exercising outdoors in the warmer weather and don’t use the gym as much when they are able to walk, jog, swim or play sports outdoors. If you find you don’t use the gym in the summer, inquire about freezing your membership.


Posted on June 10, 2015

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