Ask the Readers: Do You Have a Gym Membership?

By Ashley Jacobs on 21 January 2014 (Updated 28 January 2014) 94 comments

Editor's Note: Congratulations to Chrissy, Amanda, and Christina for winning this week's contest!

Gym memberships are especially popular in the winter, what with exercise-related resolutions and cold weather that's less than great for outdoor activities. As such, you probably won't get the best deal at this time, but access to a gym's facilities and personal trainers is still worth the cost for many people.

Do you have a gym membership? Is it a worthwhile expense for you? Why or why not? If you don't have a gym membership, would you consider getting one if the price is right?

Tell us whether you have a gym membership and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways — here's how you can win!

Mandatory Entry:

  • Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

For extra entries:

  • You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:

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Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, January 27th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after January 27th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.
  • You can enter all three drawings — once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.
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Good Luck!

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Mary Happymommy

I don't have a gym membership. I might consider it if they had a good daycare center to leave my kids.

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Eva

I don't have a gym membership. I went online and printed a list of exercises I could do while at work sitting at my desk. I take the stairs whenever possible. It is the most I will do when it comes to exercise. I am doing some exercising at least and I am also saving money.

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Jennifer Marie

I do not have a membership, but I can tag along with my friend!!

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Christie

Nope! (It's cold here, I rarely want to work out and if I had to leave home to do it, it would never happen in this weather!) The high today is in the single digits and it was a negative number when I woke up. Yeah, I think I'll just work out at home. Besides, the gas to drive to the gym would almost double the cost!

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Gillian

I do have a gym membership, to the local YMCA. I respond very well to group exercise classes, and with the member discount on class fees, I basically get the additional membership benefits (ie, the gym I'll be going to this evening instead of venturing out in the cold) for free.

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Stephanie

I do have a gym membership and feel that it is definitely worth it. When I started the membership, I was provided 4 free visits with a personal trainer, who set me up with a website that gives me my daily workout. I had absolutely no idea where to start and what to do at the gym when I first joined, so printing out the scheduled workouts not only helped me to know what I should be working on, but they give me a goal to reach as well. The gym has been a godsend at helping me get back into shape. The gym also has cardio and zumba classes that have been a lot of fun. They also have a day care, which, as a single mom, was a huge factor.

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Sam

I only have one because I've gone back to school. When I was in the "real world" I kept a very low hour part time job with the YMCA that allowed me a free membership to all Y branches throughout the city.

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lostAnnfound

I do not have a gym membership under my name, but my daughter does. Her membership allows guests, so she takes me with her and I pay half of her membership, which is $20.00/month total.

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Guest

Yes. We have a gym membership. It is used primarily by our teen sons. We have long winters and the gym is essential to their wellbeing.

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Luke Liukonen

I just joined a gym, right before the mass crowds took over. I joined a 24 hour $10 a month gym. I was surprised that I wasn't harassed for personal training like my dad was at a different 24 hour gym $10 a month gym. At $10 a month + 40 a year annual (my first year was free) I can work out on machines that have an upfront cost of thousands of dollars (even pre-owned), plus I don't have to worry about maintenance and its walking distance from my apartment... my biggest worry is canceling, since I have a history of both Snap Fitness, Bally's Total Fitness and Blast Fitness trying to charge me after cancellation

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Monica

I don't have a gym membership- I would much rather go try to get in shape outside by walking and playing with my kid and the dog. The dog needs exercise more than I do and you can't do that at a gym.

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Allison

I don't really have a gym membership, but I am required to pay rec fees for my graduate school. Although, I don't use the gym there because it actually is pretty small and always crowded, so I hate having to fight for equipment. Instead, I either work out at home or at the fitness center at my apartment complex. I know I'm paying for the rec center, so I should use it, but I hate that many people.

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Kelli

I will never own a gym membership. I just think there are SO many free options for fitness that paying for a gym seems silly to me. But, I know many people who use it and love it, and I don't hold anything against them. But I think that's an easy thing to strike from my budget, as I feel great about just walking, jogging, bicycling, or hiking to stay in shape.

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Maren

Yes, I have a membership to my local YMCA. With my health insurance reimbursement (as long as I go 12+ times per month), it comes to $16/month for me (or $32 for my spouse and myself)! Well worth it in terms of staying healthy, plus I often get together with friends there for a class or to sit in the hot tub. Much cheaper than going out to eat

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Matthew

Yes, I have a gym membership at the gym in the office building where I work.

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Stephanie

Yes- I go at work every day. Great use of my $ because I exercise and do not eat out!

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Gina

I have a membership but it's not a worthwhile expense since I never use the gym.

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Guest

I do not currently have a gym membership. This is due solely to the fact that I have moved recently and have not looked into gyms in my area. For the past 30 years, I have belonged to various gyms. I don't like January when all the "wanna be's" show up and take up the machines.

I have a full home gym in my basement that includes a computrainer bike trainer, an elliptical machine a treadmill, and weights/kettlebells/yoga mats etc..

I do not attend the gym much in the summer as I work out outside. However, it is nice to have access to a sauna and pool along with some different weight machines and an occasional fitness class. It is nice to have options.

I have always maintained a high level of fitness, but I can certainly understand the intimidation factor to those who may be just starting out.

If you are starting out, and are not a self motivating person to work out at home, I would suggest joining with a friend who will hold you accountable. If you are self motivating, to get in shape you could also get by with an inexpensive DVD or dvr a cable show workout or two, and some running shoes to run/walk outside. Using body weight you can work almost every muscle in the body.

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Guest

I don't have a gym membership. If it was really cheap, though, I would.

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Chris

My wife and I both have gym memberships. We paid up front for two years each, and it comes out to be about $15 a month each. It keeps us in shape and busy, so we aren't spending more money doing something else.

Guest's picture

I have a gym membership at work. It's $8.00/paycheck or $16.00/month.

I haven't gone since Thanksgiving. Hehe.

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monique

I do have a gym membership. It's worthwhile for me, because it encourages and motivates me to exercise and take classes at the gym several times a week. Luckily, I bought a 2-year membership at Costco, so it works out to about $15 a month. Also, I have gyms very close to my job and home, so it's always convenient to go.

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Elena

I don't have a gym membership because I exercise at home

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Mark.l.15

Yes, I got a great deal on it! 120 for a year worth of gym membership through my local recreation center!

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Dawn

Yes, I have a gym membership. The cost is justified for me because I have a very sedentary job as an engineer. I did try going without it for a while but found that, especially in winter, I just didn't feel as healthy and energetic without regular workouts. If I did not spend all day working in a cubicle then I definitely would reevaluate the need for a gym membership!

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Anu

I'm in school and use the gym available here for free -- it has all the amenities of a normal gym (minus sauna) and then some, like two Olympic pools and a full track/field, and tons of courts for racket sports.

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Liisa

No, I don't. I live in Albuquerque where the outdoor options are excellent 10 months of the year, so when I exercise it is usually walking or hiking. In the Midwest I had a YMCA membership mostly for the pool, hottub, and sauna. That was pretty awesome and I do sometimes miss it.

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Lani C

Nope, I just do a lot of walking around my neighborhood, or when it's not nice out I hop on our elliptical machine.

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Jen

I don't have a gym membership, I work out at home and outside. For my indoor workouts, I have P90X, P90X2, RushFit, Tapout, Insanity, and a few other DVDs. I own free weights, a yoga mat, a foam roller, a spin bike, a physio ball, a weighted medicine ball, resistance bands, and a pull-up bar. I run sprints outdoors, hike, and do workouts in the park (lunges, plyo, tricep dips on the benches, etc.). I used to have a gym membership. I got tired of being hit on by guys, seeing people on their cell phones, watching people eat candy bars while doing cardio (true story), and seeing others work out with bad form. I work in physical therapy, so the last one really irked me. Plus, I got sick more often thanks to all the germs in the gym and the inconsiderate folks who didn't disinfect the equipment after they used it. I'm in better shape now than when I worked out at a gym and I don't miss it one bit.

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elise

i joined a gym in my area for $10 a month, yes $10, full membership. i am going to use the lap pool, i have only used a stationary bike one time. i swim during the summer months and all outdoor pools are closed to april here in texas. i have a bad hip so doing land exercises are still tough. but the pool is wonderful. i go on average 3-4 times a week so this membership has already paid for itself. when i am off on school breaks they have water aerobics on weds morning, no extra charge so that is on my radar too. i would never join a gym for any more that $20 a month so this is such a bargain.. and it is a very very nice gym and pool!!

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Cliff wrangler

I'm doing a trial at Golds Gym, and it looks rally nice. If they offer me a good deal, I will probably join.

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KelR1

No, I've never had a gym membership. If it wasn't for the expense and how skeeved out I get by other people's sweat, germs, etc., I might consider it. I get my exercise courtesy of two Jack Russell Terriers who LOVE long walks. If I need more than that then I'll work out to an exercise DVD in my living room.

Donna Freedman's picture

Not now, mostly for logistical reasons: We're a one-car couple and I work at home. More to the point, I'm not willing to get up at 5 a.m., drive to the YMCA, swim/lift/whatever and then return. (Public transit to the place would take more than an hour in each direction.) Also not interested in working out at night.
This is not an ideal situation, but for now it is what it is.

Guest's picture

Yes, but I shouldn't! :(

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Betty

I go as a guest on my husband's membership. At his gym, you can pay $15, or $20 and bring one guest every time you go. So we really get two memberships for $20. Very worth it for us. My husband actually enjoys it (not me), and i can get an extra walk in at night time.

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Allison

I don't have a gym membership. I have the great outdoors and YouTube.

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Megan

I've always had a gym membership and my current one is the most expensive, I never imagined I'd pay the amount I do, but it's worth it to me for the classes I take and the amenities they have. Some months, the price per visit is a little too much, but when I'm on track, it's a minimal per day cost!

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Danielle E

I don't have a gym membership. I try to workout at home when I get a chance

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DeeDee

I do not have a gym membership, but I try to walk on a regular basis.

Guest's picture

I don't have a gym membership, because there is gym in my apartment complex. The gym at my complex is, obviously, not as big as a paid membership, but dealing with less machines saves me money.

If I found a cheap gym membership I would consider purchasing it. I think seeing an extra fee come out of my paycheck would inspire me to get in the gym more often.

The membership would have to present itself to me somehow (social media, Groupon, etc.). I'm not going to search for a cheap membership when there's already a facility at my place.

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Chrissy

I've had a gym membership for about three years, only for the purpose of swimming. I've got an exercise bike, stepper and other equipment that I use at home, but I love to swim and it keeps me motivated. So, the gym membership is worth it to me for the motivation it provides.

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J. Pario

I don't have a gym membership.

I check out exercise DVDs at the library instead, which changes up my routine on a regular basis, a good thing for people who get bored easily.

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Ernest S.

I recently joined a Crossfit gym (or box, as they call it). It's pretty pricey (about $150 per month), but I honestly feel like I am getting an incredible workout as well as some excellent coaching. Sometimes there is only 1-2 people in the class, which means we get a lot of personal attention. Also, in addition to strength and endurance, the coaches work on helping me build better mobility, which translates to me being more effective in my daily life.

I know being frugal means cutting back on expenses. But in this case, I really feel like I am getting a lot of value from my membership, not to mention all the friendships I have gained from being part of the Crossfit community. Plus, I'm inspired to be more healthy, which causes me to spend less in other ways (e.g., drinking, eating out, etc.).

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valletta

Yes, but it's a local club/cabana/gym with great pool so worth every penny. Most people use the club for tennis so everything else is mostly empty. Great deal. Also has room for BBQs, bocce ball, basketball. Cool place. $120 month for two of us. Much cheaper than having our own pool :)

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Emily

I have a gym membership and I love it. I get unlimited group classes, and I can bring my husband for free, so it's like 2 for the price of 1. It's on my way to work and open early, perfect for me since I'm a morning person. The people there are great, too!

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C.j.

no I don't have a gym membership. Between a full time job and other health issues I'm too tired to work out at a gym

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Laura J

We do not have a gym membership, but would love to get a family one if the price was right!

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Emily

I just joined a gym again after going about 6 months without one. It's actually pretty nice to have something to do in the evening that is out of the house, productive and (relatively) inexpensive.

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Cathy K.

We do! That said, we don't take advantage of it nearly as much as we should!

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Maria Held

Yes, we have a family membership at the local YMCA.

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Natalie

I have a gym membership and go to classes because even though I could do all of my exercises at home, I'd not work anywhere near as hard.

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Liz

I do have a gym membership - I find it vital for cold weather months in New York! I try to find a gym that covers my needs while being relatively inexpensive, but the cost is worth it to stay healthy!

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Thrifty Writer

Have a gym membership that is coming to an end next month. Biggest mistake I ever made - signed up for it through work, and while it's cheaper than most memberships, the classes are at times that don't work for me, and I find it a pain carrying my clothes and everything I need for work with me, in the morning. I'm finally shaking it next month. I thought that by signing up, it would force me to work out, but alas, no.

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Barbara Montag

Yes I have a membership at the YMCA - a great place to work out!
Thank you.

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Kim D

Don't have a gym membership - prefer to buy 'packages' of classes at a nearby yoga studio. They don't expire and give me the flexibility of going to class when I'm available.

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Bethany

Nope, we save that cost towards our down payment. Can't wait!

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ellen

No, I do not have one.

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Diane

No, I don't. I wish I did, just not sure that I'd use it enough. I'd prefer to have a treadmill at home, but I don't have the space.

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Jon

My wife and I have an alumni gym membership at the Rec Center at my alma mater. I play racquetball three times a week, so it's not really practical for me to "work out" at home, and the cost of paying for a court at some other gym on an ad hoc basis far outstrips the monthly fee.

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Kim

I don't have a gym membership. I'd much rather go outside to walk my dog or bike

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Robynn

I used to have a gym membership, and I enjoyed going- especially for the classes- but when I really started to focus on budgeting and paying off debt, paying for exercise didn't seem that worthwhile. There is so much that you can do at home and outdoors, for free. I don't miss going to the gym at all, and my budget is much happier this way.

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Sally Tomkinson

I did have gym membership but decided it was not convenient with so many other things going on. Invested in a treadmill, exercise videos and weights of different sizes and are much more faithful and seeing more progress.

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Joye

I do have a gym membership. With daycare, it costs me about $65 a month. I have not used it in ages. I actually need to cancel it, and this post is giving me the push I need! I do work out at home, I walk a lot. There are plenty of free exercises one can do to avoid the cost. I am unfortunately late in learning that!

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Alexis

Yes, I do have a gym membership. While i love running outside, it's nice to have a retreat during winter months. Plus, i pay $14.95/month, which is a steal compared to other rates.

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Danielle

Of course! One of the best investments you can make is in your health. I go 5-6 days a week.

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DLB

We have a gym membership. We worked hard to find a neighborhood gym and not a corporate one - and it's cheaper too ($19/mo). I have been doing a high intensity class M-W-F for over a year now - it's scheduled in my calendar, and I do weights or run on T-Th-Sat. The class has given me the structure I needed, as well as the know how on the workouts I do on my own. I just wasn't motivated trying to work out at home. Now I get edgy and feel off if I don't do some type of exercise each day. Best money we've ever spent.

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Tan

I do have a gym membership that I fortunately do not have to pay for, as I am a part time fitness instructor. I love it and use it all the time!

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Johannah

I do not have a gym membership. I always wanted to try that, but I have no motivation to actually go -- and I have no friend to drag along -- so I just don't. Also being frugal means I think I can walk, run, or do something that doesn't cost a membership!

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T.Nichols

No, I don't have a gym membership. I much prefer working out at home whenever I want. I try to get in at least 10 minutes of exercise a day and have found that working out during commercial break, when I'm watching TV, is great. Working out at home is also cheaper.

Now if I were to find an affordable gym that offered affordable private sessions with an instructor then maybe I'd change my mind.

Until then ... home is where you'll find me working out and saving money.

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mikele98

no I don't have one - but I'd like one

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Dana

I have an unlimited monthly membership to a Crossfit gym for $125/month. It sounds high, but that gives me unlimited access to classes which are taught by great coaches in a very personal environment. I also get more out of it than my old gym membership, because there's more of a competitive vibe. So I'm seeing better progress in a shorter time frame. Recently the prices have raised to $200/month, but I'm grandfathered in at my price (at least for now).

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Guest

I do have a gym membership - I realized that I was never going to actually work out unless I felt guilty when I didn't do it, so spending money on the membership helps me get the incentive to actually go!

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SerenityNow

I used to swear that I'd never sign up for a gym membership when there are so many free forms of exercise out there, but after getting in the habit of jogging this past summer, I had to give in and sign up for a membership for the winter months. And I don't regret it one bit!

Guest's picture

No gym membership needed when I can jump rope in the garage! ;)

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Shelly

No, I don't have a gym membership. It seems too expensive and I feel like I should be able to exercise at home. It would be good to have a group class for some motivation and accountability though!

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An

Yes and I use the gym at least once a week

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Happy Love

I don't pay for a gym membership, but I do have access to my university's fitness center since I'm a part-time grad student.

I tend to prefer functional exercise (taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking in the back of a parking lot, etc.) and home workouts.

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Alissa A

I have always had a membership!

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Kristine R.

I have ALWAYS had a gym membership. I live in Ohio so exercising outdoors is not always an option. I feel like it is something I could never do without.

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Lynda

yes i have a gym membership. i bought a 2 year pass at 50% off from costco and i do use it!

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Jessica

I DO have one currently - but I'm actually considering canceling! Maybe this contest will help me decide. :)

Guest's picture

Nope - complete waste of money for most people. Unless you're a serious body builder or have motivational issues, I don't really see the point.

Guest's picture
Guest

YES I have a membership.
YES it is a worthwhile expense for me.

Through Costco, I purchased a membership to 24 Hour Fitness - at the time it was about $300 or so for a 24 month commitment. NO BRAIN-ER. This investment made perfect sense for me: I workout 5-7 days a week, I travel and can use 24HF facilities in any city, and I'm on a budget. I recently paid a nominal fee to upgrade access to a higher club level so that I could access the facility that is 6 blocks from work. For me this is an essential expense, just like my phone or insurance or rent or grocery costs. I do this for my current and future health (both physical and mental!).

The KEY to making a gym membership worth the cost is COMMITMENT. It will pay you back generously.

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Lauren

I have a gym membership and, for me, it's worth it. I go 5-6 days a week and since it's a 24/7 gym I can go when it's convenient to me. However, I've been thinking about switching to another gym in town that's a bit cheaper but has more offerings for families, such as a pool, group classes, etc. The only downside will be the hours, especially since it's closed on Sundays.

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Lisa

No. I use the gym in my building, exercise at home or occasionally use the large fitness center on the military base when I go to the base for shopping. The fitness center on base is great because there's a kids area for my son. It is also easy to exercise in my building because my son can also keep busy on the mats or watching PBSkids or Nick on the TV. There's really no need for me to pay for a membership at this time.

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Ting

I get YMCA membership through my school!

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Tabathia B

I don't have a gym membership, but would consider if the price was affordable and was for a family discount and had a great swimming pool and programs for kids

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Carmen

We don't right now, but am considering one near us. The place would give the stay-at-home parent an opportunity to exercise (free babysitting), offer swimming lessons to our toddler, and give the whole family a place for activities.

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Rachel S

I don't have a gym membership, because I own a horse that I ride several days a week. Grooming and riding can be great exercise, not to mention I also do barefoot hoof trims. If the gym were only a mile away and cost $20 a month and had unlimited classes, I would consider it.

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Amanda Sakovitz

No I dont currently have one.

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Raina

I don't have an actual gym membership, but I do pay for CrossFit classes at a local CrossFit box. I feel that it's more worthwhile to me than a gym membership which I'd get bored of, have no direction, and probably would stop using pretty quickly.

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prathee chandar

I don't. I go for running or play tennis as my workout regimen

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Christina

I do not have a gym membership right now, but I am seriously considering getting one with my husband, as we have been doing well with a healthier new year, and a gym near our house has a good price and no cancellation fee, so if we don't get value out of it, we can cancel.

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Thomas Murphy

I don't have a gym membership