Gym Memberships Aren’t Worth It

And 5 ways to beat the system.

Raise your hand if you have a gym membership. Now, raise your hand if you actually go to the gym. Didn’t raise your hand to that second question? Well, you’re not alone.

Most people who are gym members don’t go to the gym. In fact, 67% of gym members don’t go at all. 67%! With the average membership costing $60 a month, why are people burning through all that cash?

People dramatically overestimate their willpower to go to the gym. In one famous paper, Paying Not To Go To The Gym, two economics professors from Berkeley and Stanford describe how members were offered a $10-per-visit package or a monthly membership worth $70. More chose the monthly membership and only went to the gym four times a month. As a result, they paid 70% more per visit than they would have under the other plan. Why? People are too optimistic that they will be frequent gym goers, which would make the monthly plan seem worth it.

But, there is good news! You don’t have to go to the gym to get in an awesome workout and I’m here to save you money with some free options.

5 ways to burn calories without breaking the bank:

Go Running

You don’t have to be a born runner or even in shape to start running. Start small and stick with it for a few weeks. You’ll be a runner in no time! Still need motivation? Check this out.

Pinterest It

There’s more to Pinterest than wedding inspiration. Type in “at-home workout” in the search bar and pages of free workouts will fill your screen. Your body won’t get bored with the variety of no equipment workouts. See for yourself!

Get a Dog

Okay, so this one may not be totally free, but seriously: dogs are powerful motivators to make you more active. A study published in the Journal of Physical Activity & Healthy found that dog owners walked more each week compared to people without dogs.

Spring Clean

It’s called houseWORK for a reason. Mopping floors for 30 minutes can burn 100 calories! According to a study by The British Journal of Sports Medicine, cleaning also can reduce stress and anxiety levels by 20%.


You don’t have to have moves like Jagger to gain the benefits of dancing. From ballet to hip-hop, dancing provides many health rewards including better balance and improved mood. So, turn up the music and get two-steppin’.

None of these ideas strike your fancy? There are thousands of ideas online. Check some out some more ideas from Greatist, Huffington Post, or even WebMD. My point is, working out is important, but if your gym membership isn’t getting the job done, then, in the wise words of Elsa, let it go.