Gym Facts that Might Surprise You

Updated: May 1, 2018

For some, joining a gym is the first step to living a healthier lifestyle. But for many, it may turn out to be a waste of time and money. There are good reasons you may want to consider ditching the gym and getting fit at home:

Gyms make more money when you stay at home. A gym’s perfect customer is one who intends to workout but doesn't. This allows gyms to sign up members regardless of their capacity to serve those members. On average, gyms need ten times the amount of members they can actually accommodate in order to be profitable. Selling memberships to individuals who are unlikely to use them creates a steady revenue stream to subsidize the percentage of people that actually show up.

Only about 1/3 of the people who have gym memberships actually use them. The other 67% pay monthly and never get through the doors. Instead they stay at home and are committed to annual contracts that frequently come straight out of their bank accounts and are too complicated to dissolve. This is free money for the gym, so they are incentivized to sign up more of these no-show clients.

MA residents pay over $90 a month on average just to walk through the door of their gym (or to stay home). This doesn't include the enrollment fee or fees for personal trainers at the gym. You can expect to pay an additional $75-$125 per hour to work with a trainer at the gym.

There is no guarantee on the quality of your trainer. While gyms charge you a lot for you to meet with a trainer, trainers themselves are getting a raw deal. On average they get only a small percentage of what you pay per session, and they get nothing for the work required to get clien

ts. It's more important for your trainer to be a good salesperson than a good trainer.

While most don't go at all, the individuals who do make it are not necessarily achieving their fitness goals. Gyms try to appeal to casual exercisers by incorporating amenities like spas, saunas, cafes, kids programs, trendy group classes and social events. While these may be fun, they frequently come with additional charges and serve as distractions from efficient exercise programs.

Free group classes may leave you sweating and sore, but the lack of individual programming can leave you disappointed, and even injured. In a group environment, the instructor does not have the capacity to ensure proper form, risking injury for any less experienced exerciser. Group classes are an avenue for gyms to increase their private training sales, not a gift to members.

Working out at home may seem intimidating, but with the proper information and guidance you can gain strength and skill without a complicated contract. An in-home trainer can get you motivated and give you the skills you need to safely get started on a program that will work for you.