Americans know well that unused gym memberships don’t make us stronger, faster, or skinnier. But millions of us still seem to think that whether we make it in or not, maintaining a monthly membership is better than nothing. All told, only 20% of the forty-five million Americans with gym memberships actually get a workout in each week.
If you’re one of these guilty and inactive gym members, check out the latest Hidden Costs video on gyms and gym memberships. It’s worth considering the cash you could save (and the workouts you wouldn’t miss) if you quit this month.
Of course, gym memberships do one thing whether or not we actually use them. They stimulate the economy. Gym fitness is a $1.9 billion empire in the U.S. and the professional outlook for personal trainers is looking better and better. It’s no longer all about working with Hollywood starlets and professional athletes — everyone wants professional fitness input. And we’re apparently willing to pay for it now; trainers working in the right urban areas with the right clientele can command six-figure salaries.
So gyms are doing well, but what are the rest of us thinking? It’s true that you’re more likely to go to a gym if you’re a card carrying member, but it’s also true that a gym membership might just make you feel guiltier and lazier. How many times have you felt your will to exercise vaporize at the sight of the tight-bodied, lycra-encased gym rat on the elliptical or squat machine next to you?
How do these factors actually play into our state of mental and physical health? Check out this video to learn a bit more about the way many gym-goers (or avoiders) may be paying negatively for their memberships.
- Video Transcript
- Health: C+
- Locally: (B)
- In the 1990s, the popularity of gyms shot through the roof and yet the obesity rate has risen 30% in the same two decades. By actually going to the gym regularly, you can reap the benefits of controlled weight, disease prevention, improved mood, better sleep, and all around healthier living.
- Globally: (C)
- Today, 45 million Americans have gym memberships. Nearly half of Americans report working out at least 30 minutes 3 times per week. However, according to Medical News Today, only 20% of American’s with gym memberships actually hit the gym at least once a week – hardly an impressive percentage.
- Environment: C
- Locally: (C+)
- Working out at a gym versus outdoors isn’t always eco-friendly. Thirty minutes on the elliptical wastes.75 kilowatt hours of energy – equivalent to powering the Christmas tree for 6 hours. Also, there is the drive. Each gallon of gas you burn is about 20 pounds of carbon dioxide added to global warming. # On the other hand, at least you’re sharing the equipment, reducing manufacturing pollution.
- Globally: (C-)
- Most gyms are open long hours, if not all day. That means televisions, workout equipment, and air conditioner is blasting the majority of the day. However, green-gyms are slowly becoming in vogue. These gyms feature lockers made from recycled plastic, a strict reusable water bottle policy, energy saving LED lights, and exercise equipment which generates energy.
- Economic: C+
- Locally: (D)
- The average gym membership costs about $700-$800 per year (joining fee plus monthly cost)# but studies show 80% of people are overpaying for their membership and would be financially better off if they just paid a pay-as-you-go price.
- Globally: (A-)
- The gym industry in America is worth $1.9 billion. The fitness training occupation is growing at 24% annually – well above average. # The gym industry produces good paying jobs ($31,000 for a trainer) even with little education and sports clothing retailers are growing at 21% for a $114 billion dollar industry. A lot of money just from burning calories.
- Final Grade: C+