For the past five years, I've had a love-hate relationship with my gym membership. I love being able to go into any of the gyms in the city, especially when I desperately need to use the bathroom, and I love having access to amenities like a sauna and steam room. But what I don't love is the incredibly expensive bill I receive every month for what I consider to be average facilities.
I know I sound like a gym snob, but if I'm investing in a membership, I want to feel like I'm getting my money's worth. My favorite style of training is Olympic lifting (i.e. power cleans and hang cleans) and the gym I go to only has two locations in all of New York City that have the area to do this style of training, and they aren't close to my apartment. Additionally, they have a rule where you can't drop the weights, which is necessary when you do Olympic lifts, and it truly irks me.
There's nothing wrong with machines, but I rarely use them and prefer to train with free weights. I also love to do functional training like sprints, sled pushes, and ball slams, and most gyms haven't updated their equipment or workout areas to accommodate this style of training. Yes, having a membership and somewhere to train and shower afterward is absolutely handy, but when I think about how I'm spending my money, my membership never really feels worth it.
I've been contemplating getting rid of my membership for the past two years, but I kept it because I didn't feel like I had any other alternatives to working out. Since the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit, I've gotten a lot more resourceful and creative, and I've realized I don't need a gym membership. When I think about it from a financial perspective, I'm still paying the same price for a membership when I have limited access to the gym, I can only train for a specific amount of time and days a week, and, for now, I can't use the "luxury" amenities. Definitely not worth a couple of hundred dollars when I have basic equipment at home and can work out whenever and for however long I want.
Sure, I'll miss doing barbell power cleans, but I can also do them at home with dumbbells or a kettlebell. As a certified trainer, I'm capable of making up my own workouts whether it be a 30-minute dumbbell workout or a bodyweight ab workout. When I want to do yoga or a low-impact workout like Pilates, I either use the Nike Training app, the Sweat app, or simply do YouTube workouts.
The landscape of businesses seem to change every day due to the pandemic, especially in the wellness industry, and I prefer to support independent studios, gyms, and trainers by taking their classes on their respective digital platforms. Plus, for independent trainers, I know they'll get 100 percent of the money made from each class instead of having the gym take a portion of income from each class or session.
I'm not saying I'll never step foot in a gym again, but until we have more information on the coronavirus and it's under control throughout the US, I will be safely and happily working out from the comfort of my home — and saving money while I'm at it.
If you're like me and want to train at home but aren't sure were to begin, I recommend trying the following workouts:
- A four-week muscle-building workout plan for beginners
- A four-week workout plan to lose weight and build muscle
- A four-week workout plan to get back in shape
- A 20-Minute HIIT workout
- A 30-minute yoga-flow and meditation