Why you should (probably) overpay for your gym membership
There's a gym down the hill from me--a really nice gym.
It also happens to be a really expensive gym.
The “initiation fee” is something like 500 dollars, and the monthly membership is around $200.
When I saw the price tag my eyes popped out of my head (Looney Tunes style), and I decided to join the much cheaper 24 Hour Fitness, which is about a 15-20 minute walk away.
Things started off well. I was working out about 2 days a week for the first month… and the second month. Then, around month three, I started going once every two weeks… then once every two months.
Then I stopped going altogether.
This is the standard pattern. You want to get back in shape, and so your intense motivation carries you through the first month or two. But for everlasting change to occur, motivation is never enough. You also need a supportive environment that makes doing what you want to do easy.
And, in my case, the gym was just too far away. The environment I had chosen just made things too hard.
“A 15 minute walk was too hard? 😂”
Yes. I agree. That sounds kind of pathetic… but you would be surprised by how these little inconveniences, these little frictions, can wear down even the best of us.
If I look back on the time that I was in the best shape of my life, the only thing that was different was my gym situation.
I was living in this part of San Francisco called Duboce Triangle and, luckily, there was a great gym four blocks from my apartment. It was a 3-5 minute walk away.
This led to a 4, then a 5, then a 6-day-a-week weightlifting habit. And all that hard work paid off—I got into respectable, even impressive, shape.
But that hard work was possible because of my environment. It made it easy to get to the gym, where I could then do the hard work needed to achieve my goals.
This is why I’ve been reconsidering my aversion to expensive gyms.
Yes—the one down the hill is insanely pricey.
Yes—one month there costs the same amount as 10 months at my current gym (I got a good deal).
But if I care about creating the exercise habit, I’m not going to be able to rely on motivation alone. The thought of improved health and that amazing beach body I’ll bust out 2-3 times a year (San Francisco is cold) isn’t powerful enough…
Shape your environment—shape your life.
Make it easy to do what you want to do. Life is hard enough.
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