I Quit My Gym Membership… Now What?

I pulled the plug on my ten-year membership… what do I do now?

I have been the member of a gym for as long as I can remember. I can recall heading out with my parents as a kid and clumsily riding the stationary bike while listening to Queen on my Walkman. In high school, I used the gym to beef up (?) for volleyball season and, post-college, I indebted myself to a treadmill in a desperate attempt to run my expanding wine belly away. Now, many years later, our relationship has slowly cruised into meh territory. Truth be known, I like to go several times a week, but for what? Ride the elliptical for 30 mundane minutes? Jog to a wall of TV screens? Lazily half-stretch while checking my phone? I’m done. I need a kick in the pants.

Just this week I threw in the towel — I quit my gym. It was kind of exhilarating, I’m not going to lie… as I walked away from the desk, my cheeky swagger slowly turned to panicked nervousness. Oh no, what if I don’t exercise anymore? Did I just quit my fitness safety net? A sea of worry flooded my head as I somberly shuffled my beaten-up trainers toward the elliptical. As I climbed on and started to do whatever it is we do on the elliptical… (glide?), I began to think of the positive effects of quitting the gym (besides saving $55 a month). Here’s what I came up with:

Work out with intent and focus. One of my biggest personal obstacles — the dreaded plateau, going through the motions and not exercising with focus, i.e. not pushing myself. But without the comfort of a gym membership, I have to find a way to work out with purpose, and make the most of it.

No more rut. Goodbye elliptical. See ya later, treadmill. Adios, stair master. I’m going to spice up my fitness life with everything that is NOT the gym. I’m inspired to hike at sunrise, go to yoga classes, ride my bike, trail run at dusk, take a boxing class, explore my neighborhood. Rut no more!

Work out at home. The gym is often a two-hour ordeal –1-hr drive to and from, and an hour to actually work out. Working out at home saves time. Plus I can do these amazing workouts by Australian fitness guru, Tanya Poppett, in the comfort of my own space.

Group exercise. My friends and I always want to work out together but, because they don’t have gym memberships, it never works out. Now we can schedule classes, take hikes, and yoga together.

+ Does anyone else feel me on this? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

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6 years ago

Definitely feel you on this one! I despise the gym. Right now I get my workouts from Yoga with Adriene and Kayla Itsnes! I can do them in my own house. Its definitely much better than a membership. Plus I save 60+ dollars a month.

6 years ago

Good for you! Great ideas.

I also became really tired of the gym (partly because of the commute to it) and hadn’t been going for awhile so it was an easy break up. In addition to your ideas above there are so many workouts available on YouTube and exercises that can be done with dumbbells, etc that don’t require machines. Also, there are community centers where I live in MN that have machines and offer some classes if I want to commit to a shorter term option.

6 years ago

1000% agree! A lot of people tend to rationalize the cost of a gym membership as an incentive for going–which is great if it works for you, but I just found myself feeling guilty whenever I didn’t go. I find biking, running, hiking & doing yoga to be much more enjoyable & energizing, especially when I can do it on my own time. I can listen to my body and give it what it needs–no guilt required.

6 years ago

I’m definitely saving money without a gym membership, though I’d love to go back! These days, I do home workouts with Zuzka Light and Yoga Works, plus take cardio hip hop classes at a nearby dance studio.

6 years ago

The cost of yoga classes is enough to make one broke. I agree on the gym though – you can get outside and have more fun!

Alba marina
6 years ago

I’m totally agree with you. If you don’t feel passion for work out at the gym don’t do it. Find something that you really enjoy, I recommend you to try Bikram yoga, is fantastic, it works everything mind, body. You should try it.

Congratulations for this fantastic blog

5 years ago

I am off the gym as well and enjoy riding my bike and swimming, two things that make me feel good and get me outdoors. There are thousands of free yoga videos on you tube but Melissa West far surpasses them all. I highly recommend her! I have been doing her videos and following her on Facebook for several years. She has lots of free videos for every level.

5 years ago

You’ve really captured all the esnletiass in this subject area, haven’t you?

5 years ago

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5 years ago

Hi, I am still a member at my gym and not wanting to push myself to go today as I don’t even feel well. So I cleaned my place and did my favorite yoga The Awakening. I’ve noticed I’m wanting to do it more often. A man at my gym has been pursuing me for quite some time and even though he is Catholic he is NOT safe. As many men aren’t that go there. I got to the point where I close my eyes when I work out on the machines and stretch. I wear earplugs due to the LOUD music that they play over and over. All those TV’s trying to sell you stuff. The men and women pumping iron in front of mirrors checking themselves out and you too. I’m harassed. Today I don’t want to be around it all. I think I will get my bike fixed and start riding the trails. Walk more in nature parks. Have a nice day everyone.