Ask The Readers: Do You Pay For A Gym Membership?

By Ashley Jacobs on 5 July 2011 (Updated 12 July 2011) 178 comments

Editor's Note: Congratulations to Sarah V, Raina, and Alex for winning this week's contest!

Staying healthy and being in shape is something most people strive to do. For many people, this means paying for a gym membership. However, some people opt to work out outside the gym to avoid paying a monthly membership fee.

Do you pay for a gym membership?  Or do you prefer to exercise outside of a gym environment? Why?

Tell us if you pay for 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 — one for random comments, one for random Facebook "Likes", and another one for random tweets.

Mandatory Entry: 

  • Post your answer in the comments below 

For extra entries (1 per action):

  • Go to our Facebook page, "Like" us, and leave a comment telling us you did, or
  • Tweet your answer. You have to be a follower of our @wisebread account. Include both "@wisebread" and "#WBAsk" in your tweet so we'll see it and count it. Leave a link to your tweet (click the timestamp for the individual URL) in a separate comment.

If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, July 11th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after July 11th on the original post and via Twitter. Winners will also be contacted via email, Facebook, and Twitter Direct Message.
  • 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.
  • You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.

Note: Due to recent changes in Facebook's promotions guidelines, we have restructured the entry format of our giveaways.

Good Luck!

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Guest's picture
Cindy Moore

No, I prefer to walk and swim.

Guest's picture
Shelley

Nope. I belong to a running club (costs £30 a year) and they give me access to the changing and showering facilities at a university gym. I once belonged to the YMCA in Oklahoma City and it gave me access to any Y in the OKC area, which was a bargain at the time. When I moved to Salt Lake City, I belonged to a community gym for which my property taxes helped pay and maintain. It had virtually every sport opportunity I could imagine wanting at the time. Both that gym and the Y were reasonably priced. Nothing I've found up here in Newcastle upon Tyne England is remotely reasonable.

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Alissa A

I do pay for a gym membership, but at a reduced rate because of my health insurance!

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Matt

Not in the last 10 years. Dumbells, pullup bar, a bosu ball, and surfing. Saves money and I can do it with my wife (which is great!)

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Susan

My new year's resolution was to quit the gym (and it's $55/month membership fee), and do exercise I actually enjoy. In the winter that was a bit trickier, but I did yoga at home with some rented DVDs and DVRd shows, and dropped in on a couple dance and Zumba classes around the city. Now that it's warmer, I can kayak, ride my bike, take longer walks at lunch time, and take advantage of free outdoor classes provided by the park district.

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Lynn

Yep. $52 a month and I'm there 5 days a week - all in a group exercise class.

Guest's picture

We haven't in the past, but I think my husband and I will get a membership when we finished our introductory membership. We both work at home, and having a gym membership gets us out of the house and creates a break in the day. At our age, going to the gym is cheaper than going to the doctor.

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Emily

I use to have a school gym membership, and now (thank goodness) my work has a free one. Though if necessary, I'd probably pay for one since I love working out.

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Guest

Yup. Actually, a YMCA membership - there's a YMCA across the street from my office (a huge perk). The reasoning that puts me over the edge of the gym-or-not-to-gym battle is in two parts: 1. Group classes are a huge motivator for me, as I was raised on team sports, and 2. The Y offers a plethora of classes, so I haven't gotten bored and stopped like I did with my previous yoga classes, salsa classes, golf lessons, etc.

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Nicholas

Nope... I have no gym membership. I would rather exercise outside but I really need to get back into a routine.

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JBP

We just signed up for a gym membership out of our "health budget." When it comes to fitting in the funds in between other expenses and savings, we realized there's not much benefit to living a financially responsible life if you aren't healthy enough to live it!

Guest's picture
a

Yes, I joined a health club two blocks from work. Worth every penny! It's in a fancy hotel, and it's usually almost empty. Quite often, I'm the only one in the pool. I've been able to get off blood pressure medication from the exercise.

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Rebekah

I exercise on my own at home. It's partly that I don't want to pay for a gym, and also because I don't have the extra time it takes to get back and forth to the gym.

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Kate

Nope. For years I've used a variety of workout videos and now also run outside. That way I can do whichever workout I feel like whenever I want in whatever clothes I happen to grab. I won't get distracted and lose count of reps, and someone is constantly reminding me about my form. Since I can't stand gyms, this has been an ideal solution for me.

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Katy

I did join YMCA, mostly for the swimming pool and group exercises.. since my husband works for an employer on the discount list, we only have to pay $33 for the family membership!!!

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Raina

No, I used to but it's such a waste of money. Truly, the best exercises are those you can do without equipment: crunches, lunges, walking/jogging, squats, push-ups.... So I do those at home and also own a couple little pieces of equipment.

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Aaron

Yes, Gold's Gym for $10/mo. Easiest way for a friend and I to work out together to keep each other motivated.

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gina

I pay for my gym but don't use it nearly enough!

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Keith

nope, i have free weights at home and workout there. liked on facebook!

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mike c

Yes my family and I do pay for a family gym membership. It is a membership to the YMCA which is about 60 dollars per month. This includes all exercise classes, lifting weights and any time indoor pool access. We do so mostly because of the pool since we do not have a pool in our neighborhood. The monthly fee also includes daycare in 3hour increments for kids. Pretty cheap price for our area.

Guest's picture
Lynda

yes i do and i use it! (at least once a week - hey that still counts!)

Guest's picture
Lynda

i like wisebread on facebook

Guest's picture
Lynda

tweeted http://twitter.com/#!/oshkoshbgosh123/status/88419842427854849

Guest's picture
Anne

I do pay for a gym membership. However, I get my money's worth by taking classes 4 to 5 times a week, and using their showers. I could never get the same fitness results if I simply worked out at home. Plus, the classes and the trainers at my gym are a form of motivation for me to push me beyond my comfort levels.

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Dee Dee

Nope, no gym membership for us. Hubby and I walk 21/2 to 3 miles in the evening. Love the great outdoors.

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Michelle

nope. i don't like the gym. i prefer working out by doing something fun like playing tennis!

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Cyndi Bowman

Yes, I have a family membership at the YMCA, and it's worth every penny.

Guest's picture

I haven't bought a gym membership in years. When I lived in the city I walked past a gym on my way home from work, so I had absolutely no excuses not to stop in. Now that I have to drive out of my way to get to one, I know I'll never stick with it. Instead I simply walk or bike outside.

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Cathy L.

Nope, I live in Southern California why would I want to be indoors? I love to walk the beaches, hike in the mountains and stroll in my own beautiful neighborhood!

Ashley Jacobs's picture

I live in Southern California too and feel the same way!

Guest's picture
Anne

We have a YMCA membership and it's great. We can go to any YMCA in our area.

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Steven Hernandez

Unless you are already in the habit of working out a gym membership makes no financial sense. I can't tell you how many yearly membership fees have gone to waste. No matter how little the cost or how good the deal, unless you are working out well on your own a gym membership is pure folly. I live in Texas where the weather is hot and a good sweat and a good workout is easy to come by. All you have to do is walk outside of your door.

Guest's picture
Therese

I pay to take exercise classes at the University where I work because the building is across the street so that I can go directly home from there.

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Steve

I do @home workouts. I save about $30/month.

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Sally

No, I don't belong to a gym.

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Heather

I used to pay for a gym membership. Right after my Dad died of a sudden heart attack at age 59, out of fear and shock, I joined an upscale, expensive gym. It was right near my workplace, and was the ultimate luxury. After four years, I relaxed, and my workout motivation was no longer to avoid death. My more level-headed thinking at that point caused me to join a very small, down market gym, where I worked out for two years. Then I got a side job - a route where I deliver newspapers to 100 homes in my neighbourhood. This forced exercise has kept me jogging in all kinds of weather, six days a week. Now, instead of paying for the privilege of working out, I get paid to do it.

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KSookie

Sure don't! If I want to work out, I can use my apartment's fitness center (granted, it is small) or turn to the outdoors! Run some stairs at a local stadium, ride bikes around a park trail, or walking my dog does it for me!

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Lisa

We live in a town that has a fee included in our HOA dues for the gym. It is a mandatory fee per month. I know that may sound crazy. Since we pay about $600/year , we use it alot.

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Jen

Yes, I have a club membership at the local college gym. It offers community members a very reasonably priced membership. As someone who's been working out for about 20 years, I feel a real need for the atmosphere of a gym and the many free weights and equipment. When I don't have that available, I feel as though I'm not getting all the exercise I need.

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Dawn

I pay for a gym membership because of the pool and the weights. Lap swimming is a great form of relaxation, and I could never hope to get the workout at home that I can get from all of the machines.

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Aaron M

I joined a gym just a couple of months ago and used it religiously during the first 30 days, and have dropped off drastically since. I am wanting to get back into the routine, but just haven't gotten there yet. We do enjoy having a pool to go to though.

Guest's picture
Aaron M

I liked your facebook page.

Guest's picture

I used to pay for gym membership but I do not any more. I believe that most of the exercises can be done for free at home and outdoors for free. You can walk, jog or run outside (which is more fun) than running at the treadmill. It is more fun to ride a bike outside rather than using a machine at a gym. And you can do several exercises at home based on some simple fitness equipment.

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Sarah M.

Yes, we pay for a gym membership (although we don't use it as much as we should).

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Sarah M.

I'm following on FB.

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Kim

I do not - I prefer the privacy of my own home. Thanks!

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Kristin

Our family paid for a YMCA membership for almost two years. Some months, we'd really get our money's worth...most most months were worthless when it came to getting in shape.

Just a week ago, I made the call to cancel. We just can't afford to keep paying for something we're not using!

Guest's picture
Kristin

I had a paid gym membership about 20 years ago, but I hardly used it. I prefer punch cards now if I can get them (like at the pool). I'd rather buy 20 entrance punches at a time for an overall savings, knowing that I've paid per visit not per month.

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Carmen

I have had a couple of gym memberships over the years, but have decided they're not for me. If I have to get in the car and drive somewhere to exercise, I just won't do it. I'd rather put on my walking shoes and head out the door when spurred to move.

Guest's picture
Carmen

http://twitter.com/#!/cmouse01/status/88687086936408064

Guest's picture
Chris L

I do not pay for a gym membership. I watch fitness shows on cable while eating potato chips.

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KelR1

I've never had a gym membership. I know it would be a huge waste of money for me since I don't really "officially" work out, and walking my Jack Russell Terrier gives me plenty of exercise already!

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Guest

I have a gym membership. I have such nasty allergies that it's not practical to exercise outside. I end up making myself sick! So, in the long run I save myself money.

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Francesca

Although I think exercise is very important, I don't pay for a gym membership. I can't afford it! But luckily there are schools and parks nearby that I can play basketball, walk or run at; my husband plays baseball with his friends. There are also so many routines you can find in women's magazines, for example, that you could do at home.

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Tina

Yes, because the weather where I live is often rainy

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Maya

Like Rachel, I get a gym membership at my college. I use the gym independently probably once a week, but I go to yoga classes twice a week or play in the squash class twice a week. That being said, over the summer I work out outside or to yoga DVDs or workout DVDs! They kick my ass!

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Guest Lisa D.

I haven't had a gym membership for 2 years now. I run and do workout videos at home. This has saved me $288.00 each year. Yea!

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Kevin

Yes, at the YMCA. Have had a membership for over 13 years. Not using it as much as I should lately.

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razorbacks92

I used to pay for the Y, but my husband and I rarely went. The times that were best for me to go (right after work) were of course their busiest time, so it was hard to get to the machines. I quit when I realized we were wasting our money. I have yet to find the best way for me to get enough exercise, but walking with my husband after work (even in 106 heat) is by far the best stress relief I can get!

Guest's picture
razorbacks92

I liked you on facebook too.

Guest's picture
Laura

We used to pay for a membership to an aquatic center when my teen daughter swam competitively. I find, though, that it's much easier and faster for me to exercise at home - just don't like doing it around others. At home works for me!

Guest's picture
Guest

Yes, but I joiNed my University gym and pool for $25 month (for alumni) and i can bring guests for $5. beautiful Olympic pool, eat gym, and very light traffic due to student enrollment and summers off :)

Guest's picture
Guest

I refuse to pay for a gym membership. Instead, I go online to find the best places to walk/hike/bike near home and work. I get to discover new neighborhood features I'd totally miss in a car. I do pushups in the park and triceps dips on park benches. A park near my house has a chinup bar, so I use that as well. I have a small set of free weights I use at home. In the winter, I dance a lot...I do pay for dance lessons then, with the money I save by not paying for the gym. This fall I also plan to get back to horseback riding.

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Maria S

No, I am a student so I have free access to my school gym.

Guest's picture

I pay for a gym membership, but the reason I chose the gym that I did, is because many of the classes are taught outside. See, I am a big fan of working out in the sunshine, but I am also a big fan of the group exercise classes. Within my group of friends, I am the only one who seems to work out! So, it is a much cheaper option for me to pay for a gym membership and take the classes that come with it, rather than pay extra for a trainer or bootcamp group, which can charge a lot. No matter what you do, though, It's important to stay healthy! In fact, we just wrote a great post at Mango about staying healthy, on a budget! Check it out:
http://blog.mangomoney.com/how-to/healthy-waist-healthy-wallet-12-good-f...

Guest's picture
TK

I don't pay for a gym membership. Instead, I use a free website called "Training Mobs" to find cheap and free workouts in the area. I don't have a recurring bill, I meet cool people and I NEVER get bored. It's at www.trainingmobs.com

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Katie R

I prefer to run outdoors and do yoga than workout at a gym, but I do pay for a gym membership. For me, my 24 hour fitness membership is necessary so that I can exercise before work (starting around 4 AM) a few days each week. Plus, I got a GREAT deal on a 2 year gym membership from Costco.

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Katie R

I tweeted! https://twitter.com/#!/carrotrunr/status/89127479670882304

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Katie R

I liked the facebook update.

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Paula

I pay for a gym membership because I get the best workout in classes. I know I'm never motivated to work as hard when I work out alone. That said, I also run a good deal outside the gym.

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Coco

I pay membership at the YMCA. It's just re-opened up last year and everything is new. Since it's in a neighborhood that doesn't get a lot of attention, most times the fitness room is empty. Almost like having my own private gym! In two months, I've lost 10 pounds. That's enough motivation to keep me going! Another plus is location, only fifteen minute walk from home.

Guest's picture
Kevin

I've had a gym membership of one gym or another for over 15 years and I use the hell of all of them! I also exercise outdoors as well: skiing, hiking, mountain biking. Each type of exercise has it's own reward. I could never squat, bench press or deadlift outdoors but I can never enjoy the beauty of the outdoors while in a gym.

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missyllewe

Yes, my husband and I are both members of a local gym. I go 5-6 days a week and really get my money's worth. They have high quality yoga classes, zumba, boot camp, and boxing all included in the price of the membership. <3

Guest's picture
Jared

I prefer working Out at home.
Work-out videos.

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Rebecca R.

I paid for a Curves membership for one year and used it for 6 months. I would have done much better, I think, if I'd had a partner to work out with and challange me. Oh well! I don't pay for one anymore.

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Lisa

I work on a military base so I use their gyms for free. However, I would pay for a membership if needed. Monthy fees motivate me to use the service!

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GAIL

No, we do NOT pay for a gym membership! My husband fixes the spin bikes, this enables me to have a free membership, his is paid for by his company. This is frugal!

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kelly

I do not have a gym membership. I can walk outside for free.