Gym memberships – something that is popular among young adults these days. Few years back it was all the rage. There was always someone beside me who signed up for an expensive gym membership. It almost became a status symbol.

Just to give you an idea of gym membership prices:

It seems that Asian countries charge more for the gym membership compared to western countries. The above gym memberships are those of the entry level of normal private gyms. Of course there is always the higher level gyms, or the premium membership prices in the average gyms. I do not know of Western countries well though, and honestly I am surprised they cost so much lesser over there. So perhaps this post is only valid for my Asian readers.

Gym memberships in Singapore were much higher some 7 years back, where people easily pay upwards of 150 USD per month. Yet when I talked to the people around me, I realized that despite paying for a gym membership or signing up for personal training classes, few actually took the time beyond the first 3 tries to make the effort to work out. There are always reasons. I need to do over time, I am too tired, I have a dinner appointment, etc. The reasons are endless. And so, the memberships (paid annually) goes down the drain with each passing day that they did not utilise the facilities and the equipment.

If you are a bodybuilder, or perhaps someone who simply loves workout, by all means. The facilities and the wide range of equipment of the gym is suitable for you. You will be making full use of it and it suits your goal / hobby. Even if it is 200 USD per month, I would even say it is worth it. Afterall going to the pub twice a week will probably cost much more than 200 USD per month.

But if you are just the average man who has no interests in making yourself look like Van Damme and have no time to pump the iron at least 3 times a week on average, why are you even signing up? Or if you are the common woman who has no determination to model after your fighting fit idol, why are you wasting money on the gym membership?

In Asia, other than the overpriced private gyms, there are also city gyms operated by the Government. Yes there are lesser equipment there, perhaps with a few more people. They do not operate 24/7 like the private gyms, but come on, how often do you go to the gym after 2300h or even at 0300h in the morning? Let us be realistic. City gyms charge a nominal fee for you to use their equipment as they are seen as public good (an economic term), something meant for the public. Pay only when you go.

Like new year resolutions, many people sign up and told themselves that they will workout at least twice or thrice a week. Like all other new year resolutions, such determination gets busted quickly. Let us be realistic, we all know ourselves. Sure there are people who wants to change to a healthier lifestyle, I do not deny that. But before that 3 minute fire (a term translated from Chinese) in you burns out, try out the city gym first. Use the cheap or even free facility first. Work out for 3 months and ask yourself if you still have that willpower in you to change this aspect of your lifestyle.

But even if you do not have that city gym in your area, there are so many ways to get a free workout. Doing push-ups at home is free. Doing sit-ups in your room does not cost money. Running is a cardio exercise you can do 24/7. Need to pump some iron? Books and water are heavy. Make some improvisation. Check out workouts in Youtube. There are so many ways to get the exercise done. If after 3 months you still decide you need that equipment, by all means. You have now proven to yourself your discipline is at least something you can be confident of.

If you just need to exercise to keep fit without actually pumping iron, there are many ways to do it. There are always free ways to get it done. In fact, gardening is hard labour, though not everyone has a garden. Get what I mean? I have never paid for any gym membership yet I am fit enough to pass my annual physical test required of my job. I have climbed the mountains of Nepal and trekked the trails of New Zealand (admittedly NZ was entry level easy). I am also fighting fit. Yet I have never paid for a single gym membership. I did go to the city gym when I needed it. Other times, I just do the basic cardio and static exercises on my own. I watch Youtube for workouts if necessary.

As mentioned in other posts, your wealth is like a snowball. Little by little you will accumulate. Little by little it will grow. I do not mean you should never sign up for a gym membership. If you need to, by all means go ahead. But what if you do not actually need it, but still sign up for it? Are you not scraping off some of the snow off your snowball? Is that not money earned with your ‘blood and sweat’?

At the end of the day, if you are paying for something, does it bring value to you? If yes, is it worth it? Only you can answer that question yourself.

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