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Is Joining the Gym for Suckers?

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by Rachael Taylor (subscribe)
My husband and I run a small mixed farm on the Mornington Peninsula. You can check us out online at heritagefarm.com.au or in person at our fortnightly tours
Published September 30th 2012
So here's the thing: gyms are expensive!!! And the only way to get a cheaper rate seems to be signing up for a long time. So, is it worth it?

I joined Fitness First in St Kilda, for the sucker rate of $38.41 per fortnight, on a twelve month contract. It's gym close to where I live, and I had grand plans for the amount of exercise I would do. A pilates class a week, a game of tennis every Sunday, and regular swimming.

There were two pilates classes available per week, both on when I had classes at uni. The tennis plan went better, but then came our long dreary winter, and I'm just not committed enough to play tennis on a soggy court.

My disappointment in my membership got me thinking: does anyone really do well out of it?

The classes are often on at inconvenient times, and can be found elsewhere pretty cheaply. Seriously, you can get a yoga class and a dinner for $12 through Urban Yoga, right in Melbourne's city centre. Another option is to check out your local neighbourhood house. Many offer seriously discounted classes.

Should I join a gym? Or a tennis Club?
There are heaps of tennis clubs around: Check out the ones close to you before you join a gym.


Membership at the Parkville Tennis Club is $137 per year, and less if you're concession. That's two months of a gym membership, for your own key to the courts, and complete freedom.

There are plenty of beautiful runs you can do for free, and if you like the social nature of treadmills next to each other (does anyone like that?) then there are plenty of running groups to join.

Should I join a Gym or a Running Group?
The scenery is a lot nicer outside of a gym


I suppose that if you use the gym every day, or want to use high class equipment that your specific gym owns then it's worth it. I should probably even apologise for asking if you're a sucker!

If you're like me though, and just starting out on a fitness kick, I highly recommend you check out other cool fitness options in your city. And if you must join a gym, don't get sucked into a contract.

Do you think you get value out of your gym membership? I'd love to hear where your favourite places to exercise are (and if they cost you money).
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It's probably better to go to classes at your local community centre. It will be closer than the gym and less expensive.

I used to have a gym membership, but then I got a pilates machine, Wii Fit, and aerobic step. Now I just do my exercise at home.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12050) 2143 days ago
Anytime Fitness Rosebud got me back on track and now I'm back bush walking ;) I like this article as not everyone will want/need a gym and this gives some great alternatives.
by Michelle Coates (score: 2|529) 2132 days ago
I used my gym (Fernwood) regularly for several years but it was a nightmare trying to cease membership. Be warned!
by May Cross (score: 3|3035) 160 days ago
Morrison Bay Park, Putney (Sydney NSW) . Ryde council have installed exercises machines in the park for all to use for free. Been there for quite a few years now. I have never seen anyone actually using them. Maybe they would be better located along the Parramatta river walk, as lots of people exercise along that walkway everyday of the year.
by kitte (score: 0|7) 2203 days ago
Gyms have their pros and cons. If you need the discipline of a particular routine, guidance from a fitness instructor and means of measuring your improvement (increasing weight level during weight training, or calorie counters on cardio machines), it's a worthwhile pastime. If you don't, then you're probably better off saving your money. If you're not sure if you'll sit out a 12-month contract there are gyms that offer no-contract deals. There are also huge differences in yearly membership costs; they generally range from about $400 to $1600, and the most expensive ones aren't necessarily the best. Bear in mind also that in an unpredictable climate like Melbourne's, it's not always easy to encounter suitable weather for a jog.
by Nigel (score: 1|16) 2207 days ago
I use my city Fitness First regularly and have been a regular gym goer for around 7 years. There there is the one close to home so that also gets some use. Timetables change and sometimes it will suit and sometimes it doesn't, I will do my favourite body attack, treadmills are great for security being female, or for cold weather or right now when air con is a blessing also. Boxing they have the gloves. I've enjoyed a steam room on the odd occasion.

A gym is as good as your commitment.
by darle (score: 0|3) 2197 days ago

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