On the first day of my current job I had to be awake at 5:30am. I got up, worked out and hopped in the shower. My energy was high all day and I only had a cup or two of coffee. That is the beauty of working out from home. You can squeeze it in anywhere, even on the most hectic days.
The average amount spent by Americans on a gym membership is $55 a month. That’s $660 a year. Not to mention gas, clothes and parking. I used to spend $312 annually. Now I workout for free.
For seven years I was a member of 24 Hour Fitness. I loved the facilities and having every weight loss tool at my disposal. I even used a personal trainer there at one point (that was part of my debt!) and took “free” classes. Four of those seven years, I lived in Hollywood and was able to walk to the gym most of the time–then I moved to my equally walkable neighborhood in Los Feliz and had to start commuting. Hollywood is about two miles from the village where I live, but in LA time, that’s fifteen minutes away. Then I would search for street parking (read: I never paid for parking in the structure), travel up four flights of stairs to the gym and spend anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour working out depending on my routine that day. This easily ate up an hour and a half to two hours of my day each visit. Even when I used to walk, I spent forty minutes round trip.
What’s easy to forget is that most people do not go to the gym everyday. On my best stretches, I would go five to six days a week, but that would only last a few months at time and then I would not go again for six months. This pattern repeated itself over the course of my entire membership. I can’t imagine how many dollars I threw away in the months I didn’t workout.
Then last year, I decided to end my relationship with 24 Hour Fitness in favor of creating a comfortable exercise environment at home. We realized we had the space to add a machine to our apartment’s back balcony. My original thought was that the investment for a used machine from Craigslist would be less than one year of gym payments–and then be free forever after that.
But by total coincidence, when my husband helped a friend move, he noticed that he no longer wanted his elliptical and left it behind–so he asked if we could have it. And just like that, within a week of my hunt, we got one for free! I remember the first time I stepped down from it after a workout and was instantly in my apartment. It was almost hard to process; that’s it? I just…step inside?
For my last birthday, I received a set of adjustable weights from my folks. This means that the entire set ranging from 10 pounds to 45 are in the same unit and you can detach pieces to do sets with different sizes. It basically condenses your system into one and saves a ton of space. Now I can do my weight routine while watching the news, reading something for work, or running around the apartment to clean up in between sets.
For our wedding, we had one of those registries that allows guests to donate to various funds; one of ours was for P90X. We used the money and bought it second-hand from eBay. I’ve never tried it, but my husband has and he loves it.
If you make working out a priority, it can be free. I didn’t even touch on the huge park that is steps from our apartment or the fact that a lot of you are probably joggers. Those things are free too! Start now and give yourself an attainable goal in which to cancel your gym membership. I bet you will see free or inexpensive opportunities arise in that time if you are diligent in the search. Maybe your dream wedding or birthday gifts aren’t exercise equipment; but I can assure you these things are more rewarding to me on a weekly basis than a fondue pot or piece of jewelry.
Another idea is to limit yourself to only spending one year’s worth of gym membership fees to invest in home equipment. I bet you can do it. Goodbye guilt for wasting money on weeks you skip the routine. Goodbye cute sports bra with matching leggings–you can work out in your pajamas if you really want to! Goodbye time suck, creepy guys watching you and waiting for machines. Hello freedom! Not only is working out from home a huge money saver, it saves time and we don’t have to use our car to lose weight. What a concept. A great step to consider for those who are looking to make a small financial change with big results.