Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Why We Gave Up Our Gym Subscription

 Soon after we got married, we joined a YMCA right around the corner from our apartment. It was convenient, helped us feel more motivated to work out, and also made us feel like we were contributing our money toward a worthwhile organization (read more on what the YMCA does in local communities).

Once it was decided that I would be going to seminary full-time this fall, we quickly re-evaluated our monthly expenses.  Certain things stood out to us right away as things that would have to go in order to get our monthly spending more in line with what we could manage on one income.  The first thing to go? Our YMCA membership.

I loved being a member of the YMCA for a variety of reasons, and still encourage others to consider joining if they can afford it because of its work in the community.  However, I also knew that the $60 a month we were spending for our family plan (which included a pool, gym, and class membership) was too much for us at this point in our lives.  So we cancelled our membership, said goodbye to our convenient treadmill workouts, and embarked on the good-old-fashioned way of exercising - in our neighborhood and at home.

It's been eight months now without our gym membership, and it hasn't been easy to stay motivated, especially in these cold winter months.  What has worked so far?
  • Workout DVDs:  Although I know Jane Fonda is the first thing to come to mind when you think of "exercise videos", I was pleasantly surprised with the variety of workouts that are out there.  If you subscribe to Netflix, there are a variety of yoga, Pilates, dance, and kickboxing workouts you can stream instantly.  Check your local library for workout DVDs also.  I am particularly fond of a women's kickboxing program I watch on Netflix - it makes me feel powerful!
  • Classic aerobics/exercise moves:  Those traditional sports/gym class moves are actually pretty effective.  Try crunches, squats, and hand weights (or soup cans) for a few easy moves that give results.
  • Fitness magazines' routines you can do at home:  These have surprisingly been my favorite and most motivating form of working out.  My favorite are the No-Equipment Workouts from Women's Health.  Check out their free videos, downloadable 15-minute workouts (my favorite!), or a total transformation monthly workout plan.  
  • Morning walks around our neighborhood: These walks are relaxing, energizing, and provide time to think, reflect on my work for the day, and have some time outside before diving into school work.

 To try an at-home workout for yourself, You can download a printable, free lower body 15-minute workout here!   

Working out at home isn't easy, but once you find a couple methods that work for you time-wise, fit into your budget, and that you enjoy and feel motivated by, it can become a habit that is less expensive and just as rewarding as a gym membership!

To read more about comparing the costs of different forms of working out, look LearnVest's helpful chart and analysis here.

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