The Gym Membership trap starts with some of the very best of your intentions. Determined to finally take control of your fitness and carve out a new and improved body you commit to handing over a tidy sum of money on a regular basis. Your enthusiasm carries you easily through those first few visits.

But then you hit one of those horribly busy weeks and have to skip a session. The next week you’re under the weather and only make it once. Then your schedule just seems to fill up and the months go by, you’ve barely been. You keep thinking that you will get back on track, but it’s just not happening. So stop! Cancel that membership – you are burning money not calories! Let’s look at your options for saving that gym money AND actually getting your exercise routines back up and running without the expense.

Exercise for free

While we all know that you have many options for working out for free one of the hurdles is a lack of direction and guidance. Which is one of the reasons you talked yourself into that gym membership. However YouTube, for example, has thousands of free video tutorials for everything from boxing to yoga to interval training to kettlebells (and just about anything else you can think of).

Do a Pinterest search “exercise tutorial,” and there you will find hundreds of easy-to-follow tutorials. Search “fitness” Instagram for even more free videos!

Just go outdoors

Spring and summer are right around the corner, and you can and should take advantage of the beautiful weather by exercising in the great outdoors. It’s so much better! The wind in your hair, the sun on your skin, fresh air in your lungs — this is a huge upgrade and not even the fanciest gym can compete. After running on your local beach, doing jumping jacks in your local park or power walking through the urban jungle you will never feel the urge to go back into a stuffy gym and run on a treadmill. Being outside in nature simply makes working out more enjoyable and so easier to maintain as a habit.

Do one-off fitness classes that interest you

Getting a solid work-out schedule ingrained in your week is definitely the goal, but adding a little variety on top can be a great motivator. Now that you’re not chained to that dull gym membership there’s nothing to stop you taking classes that catch your eye. Most studios will give newbies a free class to lure them in. Groupon, Gustazos, LivingSocial, etc. also offers tons of great deals for one-time classes or packages. There are so many to choose from. Why would you ever pay full price to do the same one again and again?

A sense of community

One benefit people think they will get from joining a gym is a sense of community – it can for sure be motivational. But it can often turn out to be anxiety-inducing, distracting or both! The presence of other people with their apparently perfect pecs and butts can either make you feel watched or turn you into a watcher!

It could be argued that finding that community online, a few steps removed from IRL, is a more effective route. Gaining that group feeling from social media is easy. Instagram, in particular, has a fitness community that is large and very active. If Instagram is not your thing, look out for active fitness blogs, forums or chat rooms.


So say farewell to gross, germ-infested, sweat-stained rooms. Wear only what’s comfortable. Step off that tedious treadmill. And, most important of all, stop that cash flying out of your bank account.