5 Good Reasons to Quit the Gym Forever


Ever join a gym and then never go? Yup, me too. When I lived in Manhattan, I signed up at an overly trendy gym in SoHo, and I definitely made the effort -- at first.

But it was only a matter of time before I was taking a different subway line to a new job, and I couldn't be bothered to walk the few extra blocks in the rain, sleet, snow, etc. to work out. When my contract was up, I vowed to never again spend money on something I would never/rarely use. Since then, I've officially quit going to a gym, collected Jillian Michaels and Hemalayaa's Bollywood Workout DVDs (so much fun!), and haven't looked back.

Here, five reasons why you should break free too ... 

1. The Internet -- The idea that you need to spend anywhere from $25-$900 a month on a gym membership and personal training is obsolete now that you can get the same results at home for free. I know I sound like an infomercial, but I'm not talking about purchasing a cumbersome piece of equipment that's eventually going to become a drying rack for laundry. I'm talking about checking out a website that offers free, full-length workout videos. You can mix and match and do a different workout any day without investing in anything -- it's basically the ultimate commitaphobe's antidote to boredom. A couple to try: ExerciseTV and SELF Magazine's Workouts.

2. French women don't, so why should we? -- We already know they don't get fat, but now, we have proof that they stay slim without sweating their brains out in a spinning class. Their secret? They get their physical activity outside -- most often via soccer, tennis, or cycling.  

3. Gyms are crawling with germs -- Do you know how easy it is to contract Folliculitis from a communal-use yoga mat? How about MRSA? Recent research shows that you have to arm yourself with a slew of antibac product if you want to be sure to defend yourself against infectious bugs at the gym. Forget that -- I'll just stay home to contend with my boyfriend's and my own germy Perfect Pushup and hand weights, thanks!

4. It's inconvenient/time-consuming -- Unless your gym is in your office or apartment building, you probably have to do some schlepping to get there. Not to mention the whole changing into workout clothes part, figuring out where to stash your keys, remembering a locker combination like it's junior high all over again, then waiting your turn for an elliptical, etc. This can all add up to a total time-suck. You might actually be able to get more "workout time" in simply by doing it at home or just beyond your front door.

5. Rodents -- No, not that they're in the gym. (Unless you live in NYC ...) But when you're going from machine to machine only to run, bike, or row your way to nowhere, don't you feel a little like a caged hamster? Maybe running around outside or dancing to your favorite tunes on Pandora would be better for both your body and your mind. 

How do you feel about working out at a gym?


Image via lu_lu/Flickr

exercise, general health, gym spy, personal trainer, weight loss


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knfisch knfisch

I have a treadmill, p90x, a pull up bar and lots of other odds and ends. I basically made a home gym. Makes it harder to find excuses. Since having my son 4 months ago I l've lost 50lbs. I know that never would've happened had I had to find time to get to the gym. Its so much easier to go for an hour run during nap time than it is to wake up before the kids and go somewhere else to workout!

Phone... PhoneGrease

I love the gym. I know if I am at home, I won't do anything.


I joined the gym for the classes. I can take unlimited yoga classes (and in my case unlimited means 2/week IF I am lucky) for 34$ a month. WAY cheaper then a real studio. There are alot of other classes that I could take if I wanted too as well all for that same low price. Plus there is a pool and I take the kids swimming there on weekends - they are free since they are under 12.

Chait... Chaitea.mom

I signed up for the gym, but I never make it out there. The closest one to me is a half an hour away. It's a pain, I would rather work out from hom (where I have a lot of stuff anyway)

betha... bethany169

Biggest waste of money ever for me.  I signed up for the most expensive gym in our area because there was one close to my home and one close to my office, and it was open 24 hours (you know, in case I ever really get the urge to work out at 3 am!!).  But there's no childcare and no pool and I've maybe used it 10 times in 8 months.  I thought I would use the treadmill when the weather was bad, but twice I went there to run because it was rainy outside and the power kept going out so they were wasted trips.  I just got a free elliptical from a friend so I'm just going to keep running when it's nice outside and cross train at home when it's not.

Lynette Lynette

I think about it sometimes because of the childcare while u work out.  It would be like a mini-vaction to workout all by myself!  And that they have a pool we could teach the kids to swim in.  But then I remember the winter I worked in that drop off care room at the YMCA.  My kids are never sick but when I worked there they got strep over and over and over again.  It was awful.  I would be afraid to drop off the kids there for fear that nothing has changed.  And then really there is no point to a membership.  Sure there are other gyms near by w/ drop in care but they don't have pools and for that I just can't justify paying that membership fee.  I'm naturally thin so working out is more for the mood lifting hormones for me.  I need to make more time for that even if I'm doing it at home! 

shajd... shajdinyak

No time for gym. We exercise as a family using Comcast on demand family exercise walk yoga. Dhs work has a gym, where he goes on his lunch break.

Jennifer Parker

Some of your points are valid but feel there are so many more positive ways you could have approached this article. Everyone needs to find their approach to fitness, for some gyms work for others they don't. But making a blanket statement that gyms are overpriced and unnecessary doesn't make sense. Instead, take the responsibility for joining a gym and then lacking the commitment to go. I applaud you that you have found another avenue to pursue your fitness journey but think articles like these aren't contributing to what the underlying goal is - that people need to move more and be healthy. Perhaps you can do a follow up article to further explore fitness opportunities outside a gym but will politely remind you each individual has different goals and different needs.

Victo... Victoria727

I totally agree with the author. Gyms (and those machines) bore me beyond belief so no mental benefit. I have a great time with dance videos, learn a new skill, have privacy (not worried about how I look) and it really pulls my mind into a zone where I don't hear negative, noisy chatter in my head (at the gym I'm thinking, I hate this, count one,  I REALLY hate this, count two, GET ME OUT OF HERE, count three). With tennis I'm having so much fun I don't realize I'm exercising. I good walk clears my head and helps me sort my thoughts (I forget about the exercise part again).

I think this article does approach the topic in a positive way and does contribute to the underlying goal. Why spend the money on something that's expensive, a huge hassle, feels like a punishment and totally boring and unmotivating? To each her own but I appreciate the author pointing out other ways (and much better ways for a lot of us) to ENJOY (and afford $$ and time-wise) our physical activity (and that's the only way some of us - ME - will ever meet our fitness goals).

Bluel... Blueliner

I couldn't do without the gym. I'm 8 months pregnant and still make it 3 or 4 days a week, when I'm not pregnant I'm there 5 days a week. I have videos that I NEVER use, I'm just not motivated when I don't actually go to the gym. Also, the I don't work out to be thin, I'm naturally thin, I never use cardio machines (I play ice hockey and walk for that), I just lift weights. I like to be strong and look strong, and I'd have to invest A LOT of money (and space) to have everything I like as far as weights and machines at home.

Also, if you know what you're doing, then lifting at the gym is far from boring and VERY motivating. You have to know how to change things up and push yourself, I'm always trying to add weight and it's VERY satisfying when you reach a new lifting goal!

The gym is also something that DH and I do together. It's our almost daily kid free time :)

It all come down to what you want out of exercise and what works for YOU, the gy might not be fore everyone, just as working out at home isn't fore me.

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