Joining a Gym: Investing in My Health

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve always been a little bit heavier than the other girls out there. In high school, I noticed that my hips were wider than my shoulders. My waist was defined, but as a teenager, being told that I had “child-bearing hips” didn’t do wonders for my self-esteem. My rear end drew the attention of many a boy, but I’ve never been comfortable with the “junk in my trunk.” I wasn’t in plus-size clothing, but I was in double digits.

So in early 2006, I finally dropped that extra weight — all 35 pounds of it. I did it through diet and taking walks. Not only did I get healthier, I saved a ton of money. How? Well, I was getting most of my meals at one of New Jersey’s ubiquitous diners and many other restaurants (chain and local), spending a lot of money to stuff my face. All of those late-nite platters of “disco fries” finally got to me. I wasn’t comfortable in my body.

Now, four years later, the weight’s creeping back onto my frame. I hadn’t been on a scale in two months when I went to a doctor’s appointment and they put me on one. I wasn’t happy with the number I saw — about 15 pounds has found its way back. I knew my pants were tighter, but I didn’t realize how bad it’d gotten. My diet isn’t terrible — I eat lowfat/fat-free dairy, avoid red meat most of the time, and don’t drink my calories. I’m going to blame it on the sweets, mostly.

The Plan

A few of the lovely ladies I work with have been going to the gym down the street for about a year now, and I decided it was time to start tagging along. Two weeks ago, a co-worker who’s a longtime friend of mine told me about a promotion the gym was having for new members through the end of March (which was only a few days away): $20/month gym membership, with no contract.

I went to speak to the manager and she laid it all out for me. To join the gym would cost $60: $20 each for the first and last month of my membership, plus a $20 “processing fee.” Considering most gyms in our area charge upward of $50 a month plus $100-$200 in signup fees, this was a deal that would be too hard to pass up. So I said I’d join.

The Catch

There’s always a catch, right? This one floored me: To get this incredible $20/month rate, my monthly fee had to be billed to a gym member’s credit card. Really?!

Luckily, my co-worker friend was gracious enough to allow the use of her credit card for billing purposes (the perks of a decade-plus friendship!). So I’ve given her the initial $60 and will pay her $20 monthly. And I know she’s super-responsible with her finances, so we have no worries about her CC balance being affected by my $20 each month. However, I have to ask the gym manager if I can eventually put it on my own credit card without losing the great rate. I have a feeling that’s not going  to be an option.

Working Out

So far, I’ve been to the gym a total of three times, mainly because I had a few days off this month and don’t live nearby. I’ve done well with the treadmill, elliptical and the weight machines, but I need to get into a routine. That I have no desire to buy clothes in bigger sizes is motivation enough.

I’ve got my gym bag all packed up and ready for this morning — and the next day, and the next… Wish me luck!

19 comments to Joining a Gym: Investing in My Health

  • I wanted to check in and see how this was coming along. Are you still frequenting the gym? Do you still consider it a good investment?

    • Nicole

      @Leslie: Due to becoming pregnant, I haven’t been going for the past few months. But I’ve started up again and will be using the membership for another few months. At $21/month, it’s been worth it to go a few times a week, especially since it’s just down the street. And I can cancel without penalty — so I think it’s been a good investment!

  • Exercising… sigh; it can be hard for us to get our bodies to exactly where we are happy with them! 🙂 However, I find that exercising can help you feel a lot better especially if you have a job where you spend most of your time sitting on your ass and stressing out mentally but not physically…

    “My diet isn’t terrible – I eat lowfat/fat-free dairy, avoid red meat most of the time, and don’t drink my calories. I’m going to blame it on the sweets, mostly.”

    You might want to check out “Mark’s Daily Apple”: While what you are doing is well-intentioned, low-fat is not all it’s cracked up if it means high carbs; you should check out “intermittent fasting” and “healthy fats”, and yes, blame it on the sweets 🙂

  • Good luck!

    I need to shed 20 pounds to be satisfied and 40 pounds to be back to my ideal weight, but I have to have a workout buddy. I just don’t motivate myself when it come to exercise. I was walking 3 times a week, but my buddy started flaking out regularly and has since disappeared…

    Anyway, like I said, good luck!

  • That’s a great price as long as you can keep yourself motivated to go.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve joined a gym only to quit after 1-3 months. I FINALLY got it through my head that I’m not the type to drive out of my way for exericse.

  • I’m confused, why credit card? My bank card is obviously debit/credit so it’s coming from my checking account really. The gym is so worth it, you will love going. I’ve been going steadily for 4 years, haven’t slimmed down much but at least I can say I work out 🙂 The best deal I’ve found is Planet Fitness, no contract $75 and $10 per month. I loved working near one, but once the job ended I left knowing that I would never drive 5 exits just to work out…


    • Nicole

      It had to be whatever payment the gym member I was piggybacking off of used. She pays by CC bc it keeps the account active (no debt for her), so that’s what we had to do.

  • Good Luck! I think the key to a successfull gym membership is variety. Doing the same workout day after day is going to get boring, especially indoors. I like to mix up the workouts, but taking different classes and using different equipment each time.

  • Good luck….. I work out at home because the gym’s round here are pricey but both options work well for me. $20 per month is a great deal, please keep us posted with progress.

  • As long as you go, gyms are a great deal. Especially if your gym offers free classes! Most private pilates/yoga studios charge you as much as a gym does and you’re getting far less.

  • I like to exercise on my own. At my own pace. Without having to talk to people or get distracted.

    Seriously though, what is up with that billing??

    • Nicole

      I have no idea — I can’t see how billing on my friend’s credit card is going to do anything for their bottom line! Maybe they hope we’ll forget about it and let it bill forever?

  • We joined the YMCA a few years ago, and I love it. If you start taking a class, you might feel more motivated to go. Pilates keeps me going back every week, even when the weather’s nice and I’d rather do my cardio work outdoors. There’s a new Y a mile and a half from my house, so on Saturdays, I run to the Y, take Pilates, and run back home.

    • Nicole

      @SMR: I’m pretty motivated right now, except I seem to have aggravated my shoulder last week. I think I actually will get more exercise indoors, sadly. But you are a runner, so I can see why you enjoy the outdoors! =)

  • I’ve always had trouble going to the gym myself. Most routines I’ve found just weren’t fun. For me what has worked recently is at home workout programs. There are some great programs that have given me the routines I’m looking for and helped me meet some great people to push me to getting in better shape. I think the key is finding what works best for you. For some it is the gym and for others it’s not. It’s all about getting and being more healthy. Good luck with your gym membership and if you are looking for healthy info or just want to chat feel free to contact me through my website.

  • Having workout buddies to motivate you is going to be very helpful. Without my husband pushing me to do our workouts they don’t happen. And sometimes I still go kicking and screaming. I do find getting outdoors (especially for cardio) is more fun and feels less punishing.

    • Nicole

      I’m pretty independent, so the “workout buddy” thing isn’t for me. I’ve tried it in the past with friends, and I feel like it gave us both an excuse to slack off when one of us wanted to stop — the opposite effect of what the team system should accomplish, of course!

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