So each and every month, like clockwork, the gym membership money goes out of your bank account. Maybe going to the gym is an act of joyous pleasure to you, in which case you can skip this post because clearly spending the money on the gym is worth it to you. But if you’d like to save money and still stay fit, read on.
The truth is, you don’t need a gym to stay fit. For a long time I stayed with my gym because I live in Central Florida and it gets way too hot to work out for months at a time. I reasoned that the a/c in the gym made me more likely to work out. I’m pleased to say I was wrong. I still get my cardio in, and it is also possible to get in weight-lifting and even yoga or Pilates.
Cardio. Cardiovascular exercise involves moving muscle to get your heart and lungs working. It’s pretty easy to find cardio exercise without a gym. I run because I’m addicted to the endorphins and running gives ’em to me. When I decided to fire my gym, I realized that running in the early morning during the summer works just as well as taking a big chunk of time I can barely spare and heading to the gym. Other alternatives: walking, riding a bike, hiking, playing with kids outside, and doing yard work.
Weight Lifting. I’m in the process of building my home gym. I’m not about to blow a bunch of cash on one of those machines that simulate the gym machines, though. I’m going with free weights. At this point, I’m watching Craigslist like a hawk to find someone who wants to unload her weights for a good price. I suppose you could even go totally “free weight” and use stuff you have around the house. You could use half-gallon milk cartons and fill them with sand or water. I’m going for the cheap weights rather than the totally free weights, but if it trips your frugal happy switch, go for it!
Classes. This is the difficult thing to replace from the gym. I love me some yoga and tolerate Pilates well enough. This, my friends, is why God made DVDs. I invested in a $10 yoga mat and a DVD before I found some good yoga stuff in the public library. There’s always YouTube. If the socialization aspect of classes is what draws you, this one is easy. Find a group or form your own. My local running store sponsors a free weekly run for runners of all ages and skill levels. There’s a bike mafia that rides in my town; I’ve always wanted to join them but I haven’t had the chance yet. What’s available near you? What compatible friends would love to join your Fired My Gym group?
So go ahead. Fire your gym. You don’t need it to stay fit, and I know you’ll appreciate the money you save.