I’m going to cancel my gym membership today, and I feel pretty good about it.
Of course, the usual rigamarole has cropped up in trying to do something as simple as canceling. I called the club, as I don’t know my membership number but wanted to see if I could just cancel it on the phone. You can’t, of course. You either have to come in and make an appointment with the manager to cancel it (my Dad, who sold cars for many years, would have loved this tactic), or you have to send a letter to their main gym, which includes your membership number. Of course, they couldn’t find me in the system, even though I’ve been going to that gym for more than 24 years. When I went in to join, shortly after moving to Cleveland, the assistant manager pressured me into buying a two-year membership and then asked me out on a dinner date. I went out on the date, oh yes, and negotiated a lifetime membership at a much lower monthly rate. We actually went back to the club that evening to draw up a new contract. At the time, this was a national chain and I could go to any of the gyms in the country, so I came out the winner winner chicken dinner on that one. Dad would have been proud.
I don’t know how much you pay for your membership, but for a long time, I paid $8 a month. This was a pretty decent gym and a hell of a deal. The dues occasionally increased but it was still a real deal; I paid $13 a month for another block of years. I lived fairly close to two different locations and availed myself of all their amenities.
When I moved to where I live now, 11 years ago, the closest gym became a pretty far drive for me – it’s about 20-25 minutes to get there and back, and when you add in an hour or hour and a half of workout time, going to the gym became a major, major time investment.
The ownership company of the gym went bankrupt years ago and the gym closest to me has been sold something like three times over in the past five years.
About three years ago, the main road I take to the gym became so very torn up with potholes that it was like driving through a war zone. Detouring around the main road added at least another 10 minutes to the commute, which was ridiculous.
They shut down the road for almost a year to redo part of it. I basically quit going, because the detour made the time commitment something like three hours just to go to the fucking gym, which is unreal. If I’m going to spend three hours at a stretch at the gym, it better be because I want to look like Madonna, not because I’m spending most of that time in my car.
The road, was, unbelievably, worse after they redid it than before. They didn’t fill in the holes, they just lightly paved over them, so it was super bumpy and then the holes opened up easily after the next snow/plowing. My car was out of alignment after one drive to the gym. You literally had to slow down to almost a stop to safely cross some of the holes; going around them was not an option as it’s a very narrow road and heavily trafficked on both sides.
To add insult to injury, the gym became increasingly in need of repair. Almost all the lockers were rusty, and leaks in the ceiling necessitated rain buckets be placed periodically on the upper-level track. And of course the increase in douche bags who insist on talking on their phones the whole time has increased proportionally.
You can guess that I basically quit going. I think I went to the gym on average of twice or maybe three times a year over the past two years. And my membership costs increased with each new owner; now it just wasn’t dramatically lower than the cost of many other gyms, gyms which are less dirty and decrepit, just a tiny bit lower.
It finally hit me. I’m perfectly capable of working out on my own. I have the discipline and knowledge, the training, and a decent enough stable of equipment and videos that if the weather is really too bad to be outside (though I ran through the entire winter this last year), I can exercise indoors. Yoga mats, dumbbells of different weights, a barbell with different plates, ankle weights. Ballet workout, brazilian butt lift stuff, cardio, navy seal, denise austin, rodney yee, you name it, I’ve got it. It’s not the same as gym equipment workouts, so I’ve kept the membership, thinking one day they’ll fix the road, one day I’ll have time, one day I’ll go back to major machine workouts. But that doesn’t happen.
There is a workout room at my apartment complex, with a couple of treadmills and extremely ancient, oversized universal equipment that’s rusty and too difficult for me to use. There is a gym at my work, I use the equipment there sometimes.
Hell, I could pay a day rate and go to the rec center in my town twice a year, and it would be a lot less than my gym membership. *light bulb*
I’m getting rid of the gym membership, and am more committed to being fit than ever. I don’t need this place in order to be fit, I finally realized, and had convinced myself somehow if I got rid of the membership, I was not losing a commitment to continued fitness. I know that sounds weird, but mentally, that’s how I viewed it.
It’s time to stop paying for things that do not serve my life the way it is now, in more ways than one.