During this month when many are taking steps to give their 2012 better-body resolutions a go, I cancelled my gym membership. It isn't a decision that I took lightly; especially since I built a career uncovering the latest fitness trends and my gym card was the key that unlocked an office with a view for years. But like many forging through this economic maelstrom, I wondered if the expense was worth it.
Even though my convenient, clean, amenity-rich gym fit all of the classic what-to-look-for's when I purchased my membership a year ago, those same perks don't hold the same allure for me now. And my attendance record proves it: I am not going. I average three to five times a month!
Sure, motivation is part of it, but not in the traditional sense. I'm exercising, just not there. If I have the choice to run outdoors or on a machine -- be it elliptical, treadmill, step mill or arc trainer -- I'll pick the obstacle course that my neighborhood provides. Some of my best (and favorite) workouts have been the ones spent exploring my neighborhood and finding hidden stairways, playgrounds and paths. These creative aspects of exercise don't have the same sense of adventure when confined to the walls of a gym; except in group exercise classes--which leads me to the other reason that I decided to cancelled my membership.
I love exercise classes. Over the years, some of the most effective and fun workouts I've done have been while surrounded by strangers. The group exercise class schedule at my gym doesn't fit with my schedule and so a perk that drove my decision to join isn't really one. (Granted, when I signed up a year ago, I didn't think it would be difficult get to classes as it is now.)
There it is: why I won't be renewing my gym membership this year. Instead--besides lacing up my running shoes for my ad hoc routines--I'm looking forward to experiencing some of the numerous fitness classes Manhattan has to offer. And the best part to this plan: the value proposition is better because, at least when I purchase a series of classes, I will get exactly what I am paying for.