As you know I have been making a concerted effort to be more active. So, when I saw this "Gym for the Win" campaign over on Where are my Knees, I thought it would be a great way to try out a local gym, see if its for me. The main objective though was to see if it was good value for money.
I haven't been a fully fledged member of a gym for years. I joined a local gym back in 2008 for a year, paying £25/month and went a total of twice! So it was a super duper waste of money basically. I was pretty reluctant to sign myself up to any kind of contract again as quite frankly I can't afford to waste that kind of cash, especially if I didn't actually like it.
So thanks to Money Supermarket I joined Eldon Leisure gym (part of Impulse Fitness) for one month, which cost £40. I would never have paid that if it was my own money to be honest. The cheaper rates were only available on annual contracts and as this was really just an experiment I just went for the one month option.
After signing up and paying upfront I was booked in for my body assessment. This is where they put you on a special machine and measure your body fat and muscle mass etc... With the aim of seeing results at the end. Unfortunately I couldn't get booked in for 6 days so I had to wait. After the body assessment I was then booked in for my gym induction (there was some confusion with this as I assumed they would happen at the same time) which was another 5 days. So basically I had paid for 11 days worth of gym membership, and couldn't actually use the facilities.
On the day of my induction I got a call from a lovely lady asking to rearrange to 7pm, she suggested I try a spin class at 6 to "warm-up" which seemed like a good idea at the time. Holy crap! Spinning is evil, I couldn't walk or sit down for nearly a week!
I then had a 10 minute induction on a few of the weight machines and the exercise bike, and was then left to my own devices. I managed a 30 minute work-out and left feeling OK, if still a little scared of the machines I wasn't introduced to.
The gym itself was quite small and very busy, so there was a lot of waiting around for machines, and I felt pretty self conscious. The fitness classes (which is the bit I was most looking forward to) were first come first serve, so you had to arrive at the gym an hour early to book a place then wait. A telephone booking system would of been so much more convenient for those going straight from work.
My final week of being a gym member I was struck down with a chest infection so couldn't go, in total I visited the gym three times in the month, so each session cost me £13.
Obviously if you are going to go every day and go to classes etc... It could be worth the money, but for a complete novice like me I just felt like an alien in that environment and it didn't encourage me to go back.
In conclusion I don't think the gym-environment is the right one for me. Paying £25-40 per month for a service which you don't enjoy seems crazy to me. I mean I totally get that some people love it, and maybe their gym is nicer than the one I tried but to be honest I think I will stick to my zumba at £3 a session and my running (for free).
I definitely think doing some form of physical activity is super important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle (and being able to eat cake), I don't think the annual membership system works well for all.
This is part of my Lazy Girl series which follows me in my attempt to get a bit fitter
My month's gym membership was paid for by Money Supermarket for the purposes of this post, but all opinions are my own.