If you’re reading this blog, I’m going to assume you’ve already reached the breaking point in your life that forced you to decide that you NEED to be fit to be really happy. Maybe you’ve already found a gym or a group of people to work out with, maybe you’re going it alone. Maybe you’re just getting started searching out the path you’re going to take to spring yourself into a life full of fitness, happiness, and all around awesomness. If you’re still searching out your own fitness path, beware the pitfall that most run into when they’re at the same juncture in their own lives: The cheaper the better.
Most traditional health club style gyms market their facilities with great looking photos of fit, happy people. Sleeveless, ripped, smiling while members of the opposite sex swoon in the background. Then they hit you with the idea that “You can get fit for only $10 a month!”. “Awesome!” you may be thinking, “that fits my budget perfectly!”. The problem with this is that for $10, you’re going to get $10 worth of fitness, if that. There’ll be machines there for you to use. Maybe some free weights. The gym will be filled with people mostly walking on a treadmill, or the elliptical. Nobody will really have a plan on how to get in shape, they’ll just know they should be at the gym. There may be a personal trainer there of some sort, who’ll probably give you one free lesson to try and entice you into buying more sessions with them. That’d be a little bit of a step up, but soon they’ll have you standing on a BOSU ball with little weights in your hands, telling you how functional this movement is.
Really? When will you ever need to balance on a BOSU ball while flailing your arms around hanging on to some tiny pink dumbbells?*
I’ll let you in on a little secret…the gym that charges you $10 (or more at some places) per month, doesn’t actually want you to show up. Typically these gyms have enough equipment to serve about a third of their clientele. They need to sell more memberships than their gym can handle, so they don’t actually want you there. They do want your money though. Which is why their rates are so cheap. Why would you cancel? The fee is small enough that most people are willing to keep it going so they can “get back to it” when their life settles down (because that’s why you stopped going right? It’s not because you lost motivation in the vacuous, boring eternity of treadmills and cable machines).
The key to finding a program that will provide the fitness you want, is to find a gym or group of people that motivates you and cultivates a culture of improvement. This often costs more than $10 a month. A lot more. Let the traditional style health clubs continue their race to the bottom of the barrel and see who can charge the least money. If you want real fitness results, invest in them. They’ll be worth more to you in the long run than most any other investment you can make.
* Note – there are good trainers out there. Some of them even work at traditional gyms. I don’t mean to put them down. If you find one of these gems, and you make progress, stick with them.