Approximately 14% of all Americans have a current gym membership. Of the Americans who have a gym membership, a mere 37% actually use it in some way. Given the data, it’s no surprise that you might still be on the fence regarding such a big investment.
The benefits of gym memberships include affordability, availability of fitness equipment, and access to skilled personal trainers. Most gyms are open 24/7 and can provide the motivation you need to get fit and exercise. Some gyms even offer group fitness classes where you can meet new people.
We just want to make it clear that we’re not trying to sway you either way, as gyms aren’t for everybody. So, let’s go over some key gym membership benefits.
1. Gym memberships can be affordable.
In recent years, the average gym membership cost has been steady at a little less than $60 a month.
With the extra fees that come along with gym membership prices, you’re looking at somewhere over $700 a year (average).
But, you can get a gym membership for a lot less than that!
Gyms like Planet Fitness and Crunch Fitness have memberships starting as low as $10 a month. To put the monthly price into a bit of perspective, that’s about the cost of two cups of Starbucks coffee.
So, you might be looking at closer to $200 a year for a decent gym membership. That can easily pay itself off if you’re going often enough and seeing results.
2. Gyms can be a great source of motivation.
Sitting around at home with no access to fitness equipment isn’t at all helpful. That’s why a gym membership might be exactly what you need in your life.
When you step foot into a gym for the first time, you’ll probably be overwhelmed by just how much gym equipment you now have access to. Better yet, you now have the option to join group fitness classes or work one-on-one with a certified personal trainer.
When you have a good first workout, you’re much more likely to come back again for another workout. Plus, seeing results after you stick to your gym routine for weeks or months will provide continued motivation in the long-term.
3. You’ll have access to equipment you don’t have in Your Gym at Home.
The average home gym costs at least $1,000, but obviously it will cost you a lot more if you want a greater variety of home gym equipment. To put the cost into perspective, that’s how much you’d be spending on a gym membership over the course of five years.
The downside: You only have access to the equipment you buy.
Most gyms have just about any type of fitness equipment you can think of. That includes free weights, Smith machines, cardio equipment (treadmill, recumbent bikes, ellipticals, etc), and practically an unlimited amount of weight plates.
The vast amount of equipment allows you to switch up your routine and add in a little variety without having to constantly buy new equipment.
4. Some gyms are open 24/7.
The great part about having a home gym is that you can use your own gym equipment whenever you want. The downside of gym memberships is that quite a few have set operating hours.
That’s less than convenient if you don’t have a normal work schedule or you want to dodge the crowds at the gym.
The good news is that gyms like Planet Fitness and 24 Hour Fitness are typically open 24/7. These give you complete access to gym equipment whenever you need or want it.
5. You can work one-on-one with a personal trainer.
The average cost of a single session with a personal trainer will probably cost you at least $40+ an hour.
Though this can add up if you schedule several training sessions a week, there are some gyms that offer free fitness training with each membership.
While not everyone needs a personal trainer, they can be useful. That’s because personal trainers are typically certified in their industry and are highly-qualified.
A personal trainer can also help you to design a training routine based on your goals, walk you through the major gym exercises in your routine, and provide you with motivation along the way.
If you’re finding it difficult to get started working toward your goals, a few sessions with a personal trainer might be all the motivation you need to get going.
6. Group fitness classes are available.
According to a 1999 study, you’re much more likely to stick to a health and fitness routine if you’re attempting it alongside friends and family. That’s why group fitness classes can be useful if you really want to reach your goals.
There are quite a few gyms out there that offer free group fitness training along with your monthly membership fees. These classes are run by trained professionals and serve as a great source of motivation and socialization.
Some examples of group fitness classes include Zumba, circuit training, and boot camps.
So, think about joining the gym with your friends and go to group fitness classes together. Or, just register on your own and be prepared to make new friends.
7. You can choose any gym that meets your needs.
In most areas of the country, there’s a pretty high population of gyms.
In fact, cities like San Francisco have about 16 gyms per square mile. That means you don’t have to settle for whatever gym is closest to home!
You have the ability to choose the gym that’s right for you. That’s great if there are certain styles of exercise or equipment that you’re looking for in particular.
For example, there are gyms that focus more on Olympic lifts and strength training while others prioritize cardio equipment.
So, make sure to do your research before joining a gym.
8. You’ll have fewer excuses not to get fit.
If you don’t have access to healthy food or gym equipment at home, then you have all the excuses in the world not to improve your health.
Having a gym membership can help you to get rid of most of those excuses. After all, you have access to just about any equipment you could possibly imagine and can sometimes hit the gym at any hour of the day.
If you struggle with excuses, consider a gym membership.
9. You can meet new people.
Home gyms are great, but they don’t allow you to get out into the world and meet people with similar interests.
Getting to the gym even once or twice a week exposes you to people also looking to improve their fitness. That can be vital as a gym newcomer.
Other people can be a great source of motivation and even teach you a few things about fitness and exercising. Plus, you can meet people anywhere at the gym, whether you’re looking for a spotter, attending group fitness classes, or even just walking next to a person on the treadmill.
In all honesty, you don’t need a gym membership of any sort. But, it can help if you truly want to reach your fitness goals.
Once you’ve decided that a gym membership is right for you, you need to know exactly what you’re looking for.
So, think about….
- Monthly cost (and annual fees)
- Equipment available to you
- Availability of personal training sessions or group fitness classes
- Operating hours
- Target community (some are more for experts, others for beginners)
- Your own fitness goals