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
Rachel

I'm a student, so my gym membership (at my university) is free. That said, I definitely don't take as much advantage of this as I should. I've been increasing my use of it this summer, though!

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Guest

Yup, I have one but it's at YMCA. I used to swim a lot so i like being to exercise in a pool.

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Christie

Nope, nope, NOPE!! I lost 30 pounds in the last 18 months at home. I CAN do it on my own without a bunch of overpriced machines to help. And I saved so much in gas and time! There were days I could work out for 20 minutes and shower before I had to be somewhere; if I was at a gym only, no workout would have been possible that day. The simplest things are often the best.

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rbee

We pay for a family membership.

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Hilding

I pay for a membership, but don't use it as much as I should.

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Molly

Yes. About $50/month. But, it motivates me to go work out more than anything else, so it is definitely worth it for me.

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Melanie O' Donovan

I dont pay for gym membership as where I work has a super gym on-site. Which of course means that in the year and a half I've been working here I've used it once, for the showers.

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Pam

I don't pay for a gym membership because I'm an unemployed college student. Even if I had the extra money, I don't think I'd join a gym again because I can get a better and more fulfilling workout being in nature and walking, hiking, etc. Seriously, who likes walking/running on a treadmill?

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Guest

I've learned that the best way to achieve your goals is to surround yourself with people who share those goals. I like to have a gym membership so I can pair up with meatheads that can't wait to get pumped up. It inspires and motivates me when I go. I don't let that stop me from shaping up at the local park or even at home in the event I DON'T wanna be surrounded by 'roid ragers.

Guest's picture

I'm currently working out on my own, but I'm considering rejoining the gym. Outdoor exercising is good for the soul, but less so in the triple digit temps. Or the single digit temps, for that matter. :) My concession may be to join the no-frills gym on the corner instead of the gym-with-pool-and-classes-that-I-never-made-use-of a little further down the road. The corner gym has the equipment I need to get the job done, and at half the cost.

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Lani C

Nope. The park or my living room work for me!

Ashley Jacobs's picture

I am the same way! My living room or the local park works for me too. :)

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Selene Montgomery

No , we don't pay for a gym memberhip.

Guest's picture
Selene Montgomery

I Like Wise Bread on Facebook as Selene Montgomery

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Carol

I do not pay for a gym membership. Instead, I walk and weight-lift a LOT - in my own yard! We have an acre to tend to with a large veggie garden, native wildflower gardens, chickens, etc., in order to be as sustainable as possible. I also walk our three dogs in the neighborhood regularly. Although I miss yoga classes at a gym, yoga CDs are almost as good - for me, at least.

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amberwitch

I have at times paid for gym memberships, but currently I keep in shape by running, biking and doing yoga. last time I bought a membership I almost didn't use it - not worth the cost.

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Joelle

I use the gym at my apartment complex. So, it comes with the rent. And it is conveniently located right in front of my apartment.

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Renee

I don't pay for a gym membership - we use P90X at home!

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Renee

I like your facebook page/status update

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Tamara

I pay for a gym membership. It's the most basic membership option and I take advantage of my employer's discount, so it's $24.99/month. Between the unpredictable weather in Colorado and my allergies, it's just worth it to have reliable access to a gym with a variety of equipment and classes. I workout at home too, but having the gym available keeps me from getting bored.

Guest's picture

Yes, I do and go 4-5 times per week!
https://twitter.com/#!/mocove/status/88248208605712384

Guest's picture

I don't have a gym membership, but I do have a Pilates class I pay for once a week. $12 a class comes out to $48 a month.

That's more than a lot of gym memberships I've heard of, but I can cancel any time.

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Tamara

I like the Facebook page!

Guest's picture

Yes and my husband and I go together plus the fitness center is a 3 min. walk from our house - that really really helps :-)

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Christyna

No way would I pay for a gym membership. A personal trainer, or a specialized course, maybe, but not a simple place to exercise- that's what my bicycle and my neighborhood are for.

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Leslie ~

Yes, I support our local Y. I am fortunate to be able to afford a membership through my employer. I have been able to lose 125 lbs since I started at the gym a little over a year ago. Could not be happier.

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Frank B

I've never paid for a gym membership. I prefer the Rocky IV workout method where I lift heavy things around the garage or run/cycle through the town I live in. The best shape I've ever been in was thanks to the U.S. Army and we didn't use a gym to get in shape, just lots and lots of running and push-ups. Although it did help to have a Drill Sergeant yelling at you 24X7 to stay motivated.......

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Stephanie

I live in a condominium complex with an outdoor swimming pool and a pretty decent gym, so I don't "pay" for a gym, other than the money that goes towards condo fees. Having the gym in the same building where I live is FANTASTIC because I don't have to get in my car - it's right there! Not to mention, I don't pay for cable TV because the gym has cable tvs in front of the all of the treadmills, so if I ever want to watch a show, it forces me to go down there and exercize! Perfect on so many levels...

Guest's picture
Sylvia Rajsk

It's important to go easy on yourself and you wallet! Go outside, and embrace the sunshine! Do not stress yourself out by getting a gym membership and feeling like you "have" to go...that's makes you want to go even less. (Just my opinion.)

Sylvia R.

Ashley Jacobs's picture

I agree!

Guest's picture
Chase

I pay for a gym membership.

Here are a few reasons as to why:

For one, people in cold climates (like myself) don't always appreciate having to be active in the cold weather. Sure, there are options like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, etc; but being able to stay active in a gym is an escape from the frozen tundra outside.

Another reason is because cardio alone is generally not enough. What many active people don't realize is that muscle helps burn fat. So if you walk or jog an hour a day or a month and it doesn't seem to be losing the love-handles you could do yourself a favor and build some muscle to help increase your metabolic rate and thus increase the calories you burn. It makes it much easier to weight train in a gym.

The last reason is because I believe that a financial investment into something will motivate you to utilize said thing. And everyone knows a huge part of any successful exercise regiment is sustainability and the motivation to keep at it.

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Donna Wasneski

I absolutely and gratefully pay a monthly gym membership. Group exercise classes (16 to 20 a week) are a key component to my Food Addiction Recovery. The motivation to keep going from our instructors, constant updating of effective moves, keeping the body moving in new/unique ways, daily steam room visits (my pores love this) and clean locker/shower facilities are a few positives to my gym. I have made and reconnected with friends.

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Heather C.

I'm not a gym person but my husband pays! :) He finally found a small gym he likes. lol thanks for the chance!!

mhcommet (at) yahoo (dot) com

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Jo T

I live 3 miles from a nature preserve where I hike daily so no gym membership. But I pay $35/year for the preserve. That plus strength training at home with a pair of 5 pound weights and an exercise ball.

Guest's picture
Heather C.

I already "Like" you on Facebook! (Heather Commet)

mhcommet (at) yahoo (dot) com

Guest's picture

I don't pay for a gym membership - I try to find free or donation-based yoga classes, or just pay as I go rather than pay for a gym membership. I don't like working on machines anyway.

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Brad

I do not pay for a gym membership, although I have been debating it recently since a Planet Fitness moved in to a local shopping center and is only charging $10 a month with no contract.

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Moira

I do pay for a gym membership. I tried they whole "yes I will work out at home and outside" and it does not work for me. My apartment is too small to get a really good work out and I live in Seattle, where the weather makes it a pain to go outside.

So after my gym hiatus I am back! I don't have room for a squat rack or full set of free weights or a POOL, so yeah well worth the money as long as I go regularly, which I do.

Guest's picture

My tweet! http://twitter.com/#!/lilmsmoneybags/statuses/88256541588856834

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Anna

Yes, I do belong to a gym. I use it for a variety of exercises and to add variety to my workout. I run outdoors when the weather is nice and use the gym for weight training and cardio to alternate my routine.

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Bridget

I do! I like it because I can do fun classes, and with friends who have memberships at the same gym, it's a good time to connect with them too.

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Debbie M

Currently I jog, do ballroom dancing, workout with a video, and go "mall walking" with friends. In the past (and probably in the future when the mall closes) I have had a gym membership. The variety of weight machines is nice and I really like some of the exercise classes but the aerobics machines are incredibly boring. I bring a book, but then I don't work so hard.

We quit the gym when they tripled their prices. For my next gym membership, we will probably go with a much cheaper one with no classes--just machines. I may figure out a way to listen to music instead of reading so that I'll jog on the treadmill instead of walking.

Guest's picture
paulke

My building has a gym. I'm not sure if that counts either way: technically I am paying for it through monthly assessments (along with other common-area things) but I'm also not specifically purchasing a gym membership.

Before I moved here I had no gym membership.

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Deb Beyer

I'm a recent retiree who had a gym membership at one time but let it go, both for financial reasons and because my work-out partner lost interest and dropped out soon after we signed up (as many people do). When I wanted to begin exercising again, I knew it had to be both economical and convenient enough that I'd actually continue to do it. As my preferred exercise is swimming, this created a problem. I live in a small town with no community pool and in a northern climate, so the abundant lakes are usable only part of the year. The nearest pool/gym combos are 10, 15 and 20 miles away and each is very costly. My answer was a local hotel. For a reasonable yearly fee, I can swim daily. No, the pool is not an Olympic-sized, laned lap pool, but it's big enough that 130 laps in an hour is a decent amount of joint-friendly exercise for someone my age. I soon learned which hours were least likely to put me into competition with hotel guests and other local families with kids, and I often have the pool to myself. It works for me.

Guest's picture
Kelly E

I take advantage of my employer's wellness plan. We get $300 a year to spend on anything fitness related. My membership is $20 a month, and my work reimburses me for it! :)

Ashley Jacobs's picture

I think that's a great reason to have a gym membership. If your employer is going to pay for it, why not have one?

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Guest

No, I don't have a gym membership. I don't want to waste gas driving there so I workout at home by going for walks and working out to my Jillian Michaels dvds.

Guest's picture
Kelly E

http://twitter.com/#!/AngelMom037/status/88260410771374080

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Sarah

I tried to get a gym membership and had one for a few months. Then I realized I didn't actually use it enough to justify the expense. Now I just walk around the mall every once in a while.

Guest's picture

I preffer to excersise outside, Besides the view and contact with nature, Its soooo very freeee.

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Hannah

Yes I do. I am training for a triathlon and I use it regularly, esp. as I live in an unpredictable climate and can't always exercise outside. I get really sick of the frugal advisers always saying to drop the gym membership!

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Wendy

I do pay for a gym membership at the YMCA. I enjoy using the variety of equipment and the occasional class. One of the biggest reasons I go to the Y instead of another gym or even exercising at home is the childcare. Plus having access to their pool and discounted swim classes and sports teams for the kids makes it a really great deal.

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J

I usually do pay for a gym membership (I'm between gyms now).

It's ridiculously expensive in NYC (nets out to about $120 a month no matter where I go) so I'm always bouncing around on specials to get half that rate. It's polluted and loud in the City and the seasons are pretty harsh, so having access to an indoor facility helps with motivation.

I've also learned that the gym has to be within a 5 block radius or else I won't go.

Guest's picture
Susan

I do not have or pay for a gym membership. I like the variety in equipment and amenities available at state-of-the art gyms. However, I prefer to workout in the privacy of my own home. I don't like to be gawked at as I exercise. Also, I enjoy working out very much to exercise DVDs or simply taking walks at parks.

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kristina wittchen

Yes, and I love it!

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Jennie

I want to, but I don't have the money right now. The good news is that the aquatic classes I want are available at my community pool center, so I can take them, or at least try them, for a much more reasonable price.

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Jason Evans

I pay for a gym membership and I don't regret it! It is not an expensive cost and I think it is well worth the cost as long as you use it!

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maryp539

I did at one time but stopped because I never felt comfortable working out at a gym. They only seem to be set up for people who are already fit and trim, not those of us who are fat and want to get into an exercise routine to slim down.

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Rachel

No, I try to always rent at apts that have small work out rooms. I really only need a treadmill, exercise bike or elliptical.

Guest's picture

Absolutely not. Gym memberships are a frivolous expense and a luxury. You can Google just about anything, and 'workouts without equipment' is one of them. Having been in the Army, I can tell you - working out and improving your fitness is 90% and 10% physical.

Guest's picture

90% mental and 10% physical*

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Eddy Chen

Yep - $20/month each for me and my wife with Bally's

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Eddy Chen

Also tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!/iknoweddy/status/88275965561675776

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Eddy Chen

Also liked you on Facebook

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Ashley

My husband and I used to pay for gym memberships, but after 4 months of not going we decided to cancel. I prefer to run outdoors over on a treadmill... and since we began working out with P90X, there is no need to pay additional money for a gym membership. We can use that money toward other things... like a vacation or a massage!

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Elisabeth

No gym membership for me! I would rather work out at home or outside anyway. There are a lot of free workout plans and exercises online that I follow!

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Elisabeth

tweeted my answer: http://twitter.com/#!/egood33/status/88279731065208832

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Sue

I have a summer membership at my local Y this summer, so I can use the pool. If it works out well, I will join in the fall.

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Aaron

We used to - but quit due to lack of activity. Plus - it's summer!

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Susan D.

I don't have a gym membership anymore. I tried it years ago, went and exercised there daily for months, and it seemed to do nothing for me. I dropped it and started exercising at home. It's more effective for me. And it costs me next to nothing.

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gt0163c

I pay for a gym membership but am then reimbursed by my employer. It's convenient that my membership fees are the exact amount reimbursed, so aside from having to wait a few weeks to get the check, my gym membership is essentially free.

For me, working out at the gym works best. I like the variety of classes I can take (included in my membership) and definitely make use of the personal trainers there (a few sessions a year are also included in my membership). The variety of equipment available also lets me work around some issues that I have with my knees. And I've made some good friends there, so I have plenty of workout buddies for conversation and encouragement.

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Betty

No, not while the weather is nice in NJ! I can walk in the park, and do other exercises at home. I'm thinking of joining in the winter. Even then though, I can walk in the mall. We'll see...

Guest's picture
Betty

Tweeted response on Twitter. http://twitter.com/#!/1bets1/status/88285130103332864

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Diane

I don't pay for a gym membership, though I'd like to have one. We walk & bike in our neighborhood & nearby areas, and I enjoy exercising outdoors. It's not so much fun in the heat of a Louisiana summer... I'd like to have a gym as an option, for inclement weather. It's just not in the budget now.

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Eric

I pay for a membership at Gold's. It's okay although I'm not thrilled with them - have considered trying out Crossfit despite the expense to get the help of trainers, etc. I prefer to work out away from home because I work from home and need to get out of the house. :)

Guest's picture
Eric

I "like" your Facebook page.

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Ernest S.

Yes, I pay for a gym membership -- but I actually use it 4-5 times a week. I like to lift weights and run on a threadmill (to save my knees), so it makes sense for me. It's a great place for me to unwind and de-stress after work, plus I've made several friends there so it feel like I'm part of a community.

Guest's picture
tara

I pay for a membership and It's actually a pretty expensive one, but I find that the price is what motivated me to get into the gym more. I tried to go at least 3 times a week, and now I'm so used to going, I'm upset if im not there 5 times a week. When I had a cheaper membership I'd hardly ever get to the gym!! And forget being motivated at home, haha!

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Ernest S.

I liked "Wise Bread" on Facebook.

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Eric

http://twitter.com/#!/starkeee/status/88289632751591425

Posted on Twitter too

Guest's picture
GM

I don't have one currently since I'm saving extra cash to move to a nicer place. After that's done in October I plan to get my membership back at the Y. They have free childcare and are the most welcoming, least superficial gym of the ones I've tried. (Lifetime, I'm looking at you here.)

Guest's picture
Guest

I pay for a community health club membership because it has a rubber walking track which I and my 79 year old walking partner find more comfortable than concrete. I also use the raised exercise mat, which is easier to get on and off of, plus some of the more traditional machines. I think its a great value and it's small enough to be homey. We go 3 times a week and have done so for the last 4 years.

Guest's picture
Guest

I pay for a community health club membership because it has a rubber walking track which I and my 79 year old walking partner find more comfortable than concrete. I also use the raised exercise mat, which is easier to get on and off of, plus some of the more traditional machines. I think its a great value and it's small enough to be homey. We go 3 times a week and have done so for the last 4 years.

Guest's picture
GM

I like you on facebook.

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Leigh Ann

Have not paid for a gym membership in a few years--reassigned that money for a new baby and decided that I'd use the beautiful outdoors and parks for my exercise;)

Guest's picture
Suzan

I do pay for a gym membership. I didn't for years but my cholesterol and health suffered. The membership is what encourages me to keep working out, and working out hard. I use the gym five times a week and take my showers there so I figure that saves on my home water and gas bill. I lost 20lbs and feel great, I'm hardly ever sick anymore, that is priceless. However, I bought a 2 year membership at a warehouse club and it works out to $12.50 a month, definitely worth the price for me.

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Bill

I pay for a gym membership because it's more convenient and I'm more likely to work out harder and more regularly if I'm paying for it. I also use the sauna and jacuzzi after every work out. Another incentive to keep at it.

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Lydia

My employer has a relationship with a large university down the street that enables employees to get discounted memberships. Much cheaper than the YMCA or any other gym in my area. I've been a member for about a year and absolutely love it! I would recommend that others investigate whether or not any of the colleges and universities in their area allow community members to sign up. Could be a big savings!

Guest's picture

Yes, but I only pay $10/month and my insurance covers most of the cost (yay!). I hit the gym 3-5 days a week.

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Maria Jimenez

Yes, through the YMCA

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Anika H

I don't pay for a gym membership. I just work out with videos at home. I would go to the gym if it was free!

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Joyce

My husband and I pay for memberships at Planet Fitness ($10/month each) - we don't have room for a treadmill in our house and there are plenty of days during the long Maine winter when you can't run outdoors!

Guest's picture
Bellneice

On a regular basis, most gyms are too crowded for me. Gym owners oversell for the available space because they know most people will stop showing up after a few sessions. The local YWCA is just as bad. I pay for yoga classes at a local studio - on a per class basis. Exercise is important, and a scheduled class is a great way to make time for exercise in your life.

Guest's picture
Lisa

No gym membership for me! I exercise the hillbilly way. I walk a lot, garden, push a reel type mower around my yard, and dripped sweat while foraging blackberries the other day. It takes a bit of hand/eye coordination to get the berries without getting the stickers too.

Guest's picture
Alex

I work at a university. We pay a small fee to use the brand new student facilities. It is totally worth it even if I prefer to be outside.

Guest's picture
Anthony

I paid for a gym membership for a year (under contract). I definitely was NOT worth it. I get just as good an exercise at home!

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Anthony

Oops... can't win without an email address...

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Sarah V

I do not pay for a gym membership but I do pay for a personal Pilates instructor.

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BB

We used to have a family membership at our local YMCA. We didn't use it much over the year that we had it so when it was time to sign up for another year, we decided not to. There is part of me that likes the gym once I get there but getting there is the hard part.