Is a Gym Membership Worth it?

A few months ago, we decided to join our local YMCA. And a week ago, I cancelled our membership. It was really nothing against the Y. In fact, I really enjoyed my time there. However, with recent life changes, we decided that the $75/month just wasn’t going to be worth it.

Here were my reasons for cancelling: 1. We’re buying a house and every penny counts. 2. I’m pregnant and would rather do my workouts in the privacy of my home when I’m a giant, sweaty, heavy-breathing balloon. And 3. We’re moving 10 more miles away, so it won’t be as easy to just bop over for a quick workout.

But, like I said, I did really enjoy having a membership. I think group exercise classes are a blast. And the Y offers free child watch while you workout, so it was great for Lily. And great to have a break as a SAHM. Being around other humans is always good for us too!

Anyway… here’s some questions you can answer yourself if you’re ever thinking about joining (or leaving) a gym.

1- Do you need the motivation?

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Some of us just need a little extra kick in the butt when it comes to working out. And gyms can be a great motivator to get it done. Whether it’s because you want to get your money’s worth. Or you sign up with a personal trainer to take advantage of the guidance, as well. Or group exercise classes are also an easy and fun way to get you moving.

But, if you’re more like me and my husband, you might not need that extra encouragement to exercise. Not to mention, there’s so many at-home workout programs out there these days. My personal favorite is my yoga app, Down Dog! But there’s YouTube videos, programs like BeachBody, or just good old fashioned books like my Yeah Baby! book by Jillian Michaels (obviously geared toward pregnant women).

So, just ask yourself how much motivation you need, and maybe the gym is the right answer for you!

2 – Do you need the equipment?

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You may not have room for the type of equipment you need for your workouts. Especially, if you are one who likes to use a variety of gear. And if you really like to switch it up, buying all of the equipment wouldn’t be worth the money compared to a $10/month membership to Planet Fitness. Like, if you want to be able to use a treadmill, row machine, stationary bike, bench press, pulley machine, and dumbbells… you might just want to pay the fee.

However, it is always possible to get a good workout in with very little equipment. Most workouts don’t require any equipment at all. But, if you do the math, a few simple pieces of exercise equipment are still going to be more worth your money than a gym membership. My husband and I have a bench, a set of Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells, a yoga mat, an exercise ball, resistance bands, and a foam roller. These few things are all we need for a good workout. You could probably pay for these things with a year’s worth of gym membership fees.

3 – What is more convenient for you?

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Perhaps your gym is just a hop, skip, and jump away and it’s super easy to just bop over for a quick workout, or it’s on your way to/from work. Or maybe, you live somewhere that runs/walks are not exactly ideal. Going to a gym might just be the most convenient for you and your way of life.

But getting yourself to a gym might not be the easiest thing to do for you. If you’re like us, and it takes just as long to drive to the gym than it does to actually workout, maybe try an in-home gym or program.

4 – Are the extra amenities worth it to you?

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One of the biggest reasons that I got a membership to the YMCA was for the free child watch. I would just drop Lily off at the little daycare center a minute before my group exercise class started. It was great for her to socialize and great for me to get a break! A lot of gyms also have other great amenities like a pool, sauna, basketball court, jogging track, massage chairs, tanning beds, and snack bars. These might be really worth your money.

It’s really just a matter of if these amenities are important to you. When I was able to get to the Y two or more times a week, the membership was really worth it for the child watch. It’s not as worth it to me now that I can’t go as much, but you better believe I might be rejoining when there’s two little rascals driving me crazy and keeping me from getting my workout in!


Getting your workout in doesn’t have to be hard. You just have to decide what is easier for you… going to a gym or staying at home.


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