When my gym membership came up for renewal this summer, I realized I was missing out on a lot of opportunities to exercise simply because it was difficult to squish a good hour-long session into my hectic schedule early enough before the gym closed.
I love the atmosphere at the gym; all the various cardio equipment to choose from, going with my girl friends as motivation and for socializing, the huge mirrored studios I quietly sneak into when classes aren’t in session so I can carefully watch my reflection and perfect yoga postures.
But I socialize with my girl friends when we get together over the weekend and I didn’t necessarily need to see them again at the gym. And through several years of yoga practice (and mirror evaluation), I had now developed a ‘feel’ for what the correct posture should be without constantly needing to check my body alignment.
While a yearly gym membership is excellent for my health, it wasn’t being as kind to my wallet. It seemed as if I was wasting a lot of money on pricey annual fees for a membership I wasn’t using as much I should be.
I sat down and carefully drew out a list of the pros and cons to justify rejoining my gym. I could switch to a 24-hour gym, which would make the membership fee worth every penny since I would no longer be constrained to certain times. But while my current gym is located around the corner, the only 24-hour gym in this area is clear on the other side of town.
Con, I hastily scribbled, the gas money needed to get there!
After several days, I was still agonizing over what to do, and my gym was beginning to call every day now to persistently remind me how my membership was up for renewal.
I finally broached the subject with my boyfriend over lunch.
“So,” I concluded, spearheading a piece of romaine, “although this is a huge expense, I certainly don’t mind investing in something that’s good for my health. I can comfortably afford it and all, but I just don’t know what to do.”
He chewed thoughtfully on his pesto for a moment. “Look, you said yourself you’re struggling to get there as much as you’d like to. Why don’t you take the money for your annual membership and use it for something more useful then?” He pushed a glossy magazine towards me and thumbed open to a sporting goods advertisement. “If the biggest obstacle is making it to the gym in time, why don’t you buy your own piece of exercise equipment and use it at home instead?”
A bell went off in my head. “Matty, you’re a genius!” I cried. “That’s perfect! And a sturdy cardio bike would be exactly within my budget.”
We spent the next week comparison shopping for an adorable reclining bicycle, and I was lucky enough to find a great deal on a $500 bike that had been reduced to almost exactly what my annual gym membership would have cost.
When the phone rang again, I carefully put down my book and answered this time instead of gritting my teeth and letting the machine take over.
“Jennifer,” the chirpy voice announced. “We here at XXX Gym just wanted to remind you that your renewal fee will be due next week. If you don’t renew your membership now, you’ll miss out on some great savings for our exclusive members.”
“Oh, that’s ok.” I stopped pedaling for a moment and proudly glanced down at the new recumbent bike that was now nestled near the television in my bedroom. “I don’t think I’ll be renewing this year after all. Thank you, though, for the reminder.”
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