The Reasons People Are Ditching Their Gym Memberships This Year

5 minute read

By Jordana Weiss

One of the most insidious beliefs that people have about gyms is that it’s impossible to get in shape and stay active without a gym membership. Search online to find all the ways you can stay active without an expensive gym membership.

There’s absolutely nothing a gym provides that you can’t get for free. If you’re thinking about ditching your membership, know that there are so many ways for you to work out and maintain your physical fitness without spending tons of money.

The Cost of a Gym Membership

A large statistical survey found that an unbelievable 67 percent of people with gym memberships never use them once they’ve signed on to a monthly plan. Because of all this revenue that they’re essentially getting for free, the health club industry brings in around $22 billion per year.

A gym membership costs, on average, $58 per month. That amount doesn’t include the initial down payment that you’ll have to pay to start your membership. It also doesn’t include any of the other costs associated with going to the gym like gas or transit fees.

These Inexpensive Exercises Will Help You Get in Shape

You don’t need fancy equipment and a booming sound system to exercise. Instead of paying for a costly gym membership every month, we’ve got some tips on how to help you save money by working out at home.

1. Running

Running is one of the cheapest workouts there is — it’s totally free. All you need is a good pair of running shoes, which you probably already own if you’ve ever been to the gym.

If you’re at a loss of where to start, you can download an app like Nike Run Club or Couch to 5K, which will help provide a bit of guidance to get you started and keep you motivated along the way. Running also allows you to get to know your neighborhood and ensures you’re getting plenty of Vitamin D as you spend time outside.

2. Online Workout Videos

If part of what you miss about the gym is the exercise classes, you can fill that gap by doing classes online. There are so many different workout videos available on YouTube, individual websites, or even apps. All you have to do is decide what kind of class you’re interested in. Yoga Glo offers a ton of different yoga classes on their site or you can pick a YouTube channel that suits your interests.

3. Strength Training

Strength training is a key part of any workout. If you miss your gym’s variety of weights and other exercise equipment, rest assured that it’s possible to develop a great strength training routine using a few cheap exercise tools and weights.

Resistance bands are a great way to do strength training on the go, and they can be purchased for a relatively low cost. A set of dumbbells or kettlebells will typically cost less than $70, and there are dozens of different exercises that will strengthen individual muscles using only a small set of weights.

4. Light Cardio Training

If you live in a place where running outdoors isn’t an option, you can get your cardio indoors using a few simple tools. A jump rope, which can be purchased from any toy store or online, will let you get in a quick, high-intensity cardio workout anywhere. You can also use other simple tools like a hula hoop or aerobic step platform to add cardio to your daily workouts.

If you’re devoted to the gym’s wide variety of cardio training equipment and have the space in your home, you can purchase a small exercise bike or a miniature elliptical for less than $150.

5. Core Training

If your primary focus is your midsection, there are tons of ways that you can formulate an ab-targeted workout at home. Simple crunches, planks, and push-ups are always effective, but if you get tired of doing those on repeat, you can mix it up with a few cheap core training tools. A balance ball or abdominal machine can both be purchased for less than $60, and they’ll add interesting variety and resistance to your daily ab workout.

Build Your Home Gym on a Budget

If you’re interested in creating a workable home gym, complete with machines and equipment, there are ways to do it on a budget. Sure, top-end machines like the Peloton bike start around $2,245 (not counting the monthly subscription fee), but most equipment is much, much cheaper.

Here’s how to build your home gym on a budget.

1. Do your research and shop around

If you can’t live without an elliptical or treadmill in your life, there are ways that you can purchase one sensibly while staying on budget. Shop around and compare prices and specs of a few different models. A salesperson in a sporting goods store may be able to help you.

Once you know what you want, compare prices from a few different retailers. Online sites like Amazon, Groupon, and eBay often have good deals on exercise equipment. If you’re buying online, make sure you know the company’s return policy and factor in shipping to the final cost.

2. Buy used or refurbished exercise machines

A quick glance through online marketplace websites like Kijiji and OfferUp will give you plenty of options for buying gently used or pre-owned exercise machines. Depending on what you’re looking for, you can negotiate the purchase directly from the seller online or purchase certified refurbished gym equipment from professional companies like Fitness Factory. Going with a refurbished machine might be more expensive, but it gives you a guarantee that it will work and often includes the original warranty.

3. Pay attention to sales

January is the busiest month for exercise equipment sales, as people purchase expensive pieces of exercise equipment to try and keep themselves on track for their fitness goals. The best time to look for sales on gently used exercise equipment is in February, once everyone realizes that they don’t actually need or want an exercise machine in their home. May is also another time when exercise equipment tends to go on sale.

4. Ask at gyms

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to buying a new piece of exercise equipment, ask around at local gyms. They’ll often get rid of equipment as new machines come in and are sometimes open to passing their old machines on to customers. The worst they can do is say no.

If you get a piece of equipment from a gym, you’ll know it’s been maintained and should be in good condition even as it’s being retired.

5. Choose a set of weights if you don’t have as much space

Typically, a set of dumbbells or kettlebells will be much cheaper than an exercise machine and they don’t have any moving parts that need to be maintained. If you’re looking for a cheap set of weights, start by looking in online marketplaces, garage sales, or on Facebook Marketplace. Once you get them home and clean them up, they’ll look as good as new.

Start Your Search Today

As you can see, getting in shape is possible without an expensive gym membership. You just have to do your research. Start a search today to find cheap exercise equipment near you if you want to build a home gym. Don’t forget you can also search online for easy and effective workouts. Your fitness journey starts today!

Jordana Weiss