Over the last few weeks, gyms and fitness centers across the country saw their numbers rapidly increase and then rapidly decrease. It happens every year. Though the average gym membership owner will go to the gym two times a week, there are tons of people who go once or twice in early January, lose their motivation, and do not return for another year.
According to The Hustle, 22% of gym members completely stop going to the gym six months into their membership and 31% say they never would've paid for a membership if they had known how little they would use it. Additionally, a Statistic Brain survey showed that the average gym member doesn't use two-thirds of their gym dues -- roughly $39 a month, or $468 per year.
A lack of motivation paired with expensive gym membership costs can make it difficult for average Americans to regularly exercise. Thankfully, there are things anyone can do to not only make the most of their fitness experience, but to stay motivated and even save money, as well.
Staying motivated and saving money at the gym
- Start early on in the year -- If you can get through the first few weeks of the year, you'll be much better off. The beginning of the year is actually a great time to join a gym because there are great deals all around the country. As long as you're not part of the crowd that quits after a few sessions, you'll likely have a membership for a much more affordable price. And don't worry, it'll stop being so crowded very soon.
- Do something active and fun -- Lifting a few weights and running on a treadmill is certainly better than doing nothing, but you might get a little bored with those workouts after a few weeks or months. In order to stay motivated and workout on a consistent basis, you should find a gym that offers something that you enjoy. Swimming is the fourth most popular activity in the U.S. and there are plenty of gyms that have great pools on the premises. Additionally, if you're really looking for something new and exciting, consider going to a gym that offers martial arts classes. Even an hour session of moderate intensity martial arts can burn up to 500 calories.
- Pay attention to hidden fees -- If you find a different gym, something serious comes up, or you are just too busy to work out at this point in your life, the last thing you'll want to do is keep paying for an expensive gym membership.
"Look to see if there are subscription or cancellation fees and if you need to notify them months in advance to avoid being charged," said Donna Rosato, money editor at Consumer Reports.
- Take better care of your body -- If you want to get your money's worth and keep going back to the gym, you need to do more to take care of your body than simply lift weights and exercise. You need to sleep right, you need to properly manage your stress, and you need to eat healthier. Eating and drinking certain products can actually offer plenty of health benefits. An eight-ounce cup of unsweetened pineapple juice, for instance, contains approximately 130 calories, 30 mg of magnesium, and 33 mg of calcium. Pineapple juice also contains bromelain, which has been found to help treat sports injuries by reducing bruising and swelling.
- Ask for a work discount -- Many organizations are registered with large chain gyms and offer reduced rates for their employees. These discounts typically aren't advertised at employee meetings, either. It's recommended to check with your human resources department and ask about any exclusive health and wellness offers.
- Ask for a student discount -- Similarly, many gyms offer discounts to students. Unfortunately, many high school and college students refrain from asking about any discounts and end up paying full price. The norm is usually between 10% to 15% off for students. If you are in school, however, check with your school's gym, first -- because that'll save you even more money.
- Consider paying a little more upfront -- Though larger fitness centers probably won't allow this, there are many smaller gyms that could use some extra cash up front. Some gyms might even consider cutting certain costs like initiation fees if you offer to pay a larger amount up front. As long as you have the money now, it could end up saving you in the long run.
As long as you can stay motivated and are conscious about saving a few bucks at the gym, 2019 could be your best year yet!