“Do I Really Need A Gym Membership?”

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I hear a lot of excuses from people as to why they don’t workout/live healthier.

  • I’m so busy! I just can’t find time to get to the gym!
  • I want to workout, but I have no idea what I’d do in the gym.
  • I want to get back into the gym, but it’s just too expensive!

Notice how the above excuses all involve some imaginary barrier to the gym? People actually use the gym as an excuse to NOT workout rather than a TOOL to help them workout. Isn’t that something?

But here’s the thing:

You probably don’t really need to be there anyway.

Here’s Why:

It all depends on what you’re after. You’d be surprised at just how little importance the gym actually holds when it comes to common goals like fat loss, weight loss, muscle/strength gain, conditioning etc. In fact, I’d argue that 98%+ of the population has no need for a gym membership. Think about it:

  1. You can walk, jog, run anywhere in the world. There’s your cardio.
  2. There’s plenty of muscle to be built with bodyweight exercises. In fact, I think they’re ignored big time.
  3. Losing weight has everything to do with energy balance which can be narrowed down to nutrition. Exercise really is just a bonus.

“WHOA WHOA WHOA Zach! Slow down there, pal. You’re saying the gym is basically a crock of shi-”

NOPE! Not saying that either! I love going to my gym. I love the fancy toys and heavy weights. I enjoy the drive. I enjoy the climate-controlled atmosphere. It’s my sanctuary.

What I’m saying is, if you care more about your goals than how you achieve your goals then you need not worry about the costs, commute, or time associated with the gym.

Bringing it back to what I mentioned earlier. Let’s expand on some of those things. Let’s discuss what each of those 3 points mean in the context of some of the goals you may have for yourself.


The Secret Sauce To Fat Loss

When people think about weight loss they usually mean fat loss. Unless you have a medical reason to lose weight or you need to make weight for a competition, you probably are just looking to “tone up” which is laymen’s terms for body recomposition which, back to laymen’s terms, really just means decreasing body fat in conjunction with increasing muscle mass thus resulting in a leaner, “toner” look. So, how do we do that? Enter the concept of: energy balance.

Energy balance is essentially this: Your body needs a specific amount of calories per day to maintain your current weight — otherwise known as “maintenance calories”. The amount of calories you need is dependent on several physiological and lifestyle factors such as daily activity level, exercise level, age, and lean body mass.

If your net calories are above maintenance level you will gain weight. If your net calories are below maintenance level you will lose weight. It’s that simple.

It doesn’t matter if you eat 2000 calories and burn 500 calories during exercise or simply cut 500 calories from your diet. As long as you’re in a net caloric deficit (your net calories are below maintenance level) you will lose weight.

So is exercise essential in weight loss? No. Is it important in fat loss? Yes.

Reason: When the goal is to improve our body composition, we want to rid as much fat as possible while preserving as much lean muscle tissue as possible. When done successfully we’ll drop fat, look small, feel lighter, and our bodies will appear much firmer and leaner.

Where exercise enters the fold is in the form of resistance training. A full body resistance training regimen that targets all major muscle groups executed 3x per week will be sufficient for most people in the pursuit of shedding the fat and increase that sexy, lean muscle and reshaping the way our bodies look.

But you don’t need a gym filled with heavy steel weights to carry out an effective resistance training program. Bodyweight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, and planks can be done virtually anywhere and have thousands of variations and modifications to meet any strength or skills level. Whether you’re working on your first push-up or you’re crushing 50 per set, there’s always a way to make it more difficult and continue progressing.

Don’t believe me? Bodyweight exercises can’t build muscle you say?

Stick around. My next article is all about debunking that myth and showing you just how to create a killer workout with just you, yourself, and your body.

The takeaway here: Fat loss needs only a caloric deficit and consistent, frequent resistance training — whether in a gym or a park, with heavy weights or your bodyweight. It doesn’t matter. Cut the calories + up your protein + up your resistance training. Fat will melt right off.

Weight Loss — It’s quite simple.

Losing weight, though perceived as profoundly difficult by a large pecentage of the population, actually requires the least amount of work. Remember energy balance? That applies here as well and if your goal is simply to move the number on the scale (and you aren’t concerned with body compositon) as long as you’re in a caloric deficit, that number will move.

Conclusion — Gym: Optional

You have to think of exercise as a tool. Whether you use exercise or not and what kind of exercise you do is dependent upon the task at hand (aka your goals).

If you want to run a 10k, you need to perform lots of long distance cardio. If you want to be a better basketball player you’ve got to do plenty of conditioning, strength training, and on-court drills to improve your game. If you want to be leaner then resistance training will help you get there.

All of the above goals require exercise, but none of the require a formal gym.

Unless your goals are specific performance goals like bench pressing or squatting a specific weight for personal or competition reasons and you need specific equipment to train those movements, you really don’t need a gym.

Quit relying on the gym and start relying on yourself. Dedication, strong work ethic, clear goals, and a solid plan are way more important in fitness than a gym with fancy toys.


If you enjoyed what you just read, clap this article up and/or leave me a comment! Your feedback is insanely important to me — I read and reply to all of it.

About The Author: I’m Zach Newman. Conversation is insanely important to me. Its why I love creating things because creation sparks discussion and discussion is the best way to learn from each other and create community. So please, hop in the comments and respond to the article, ask a question, or simply tell me what you had for lunch today — seriously, I’m curious. What DID you have for lunch today?

| Did you know I like other things besides health? It’s true! I’m a giant sneaker lover. I make dope sneaker content over on Instagram. Take a peak — Instagram |

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