The $5000 Gym Visits

Millennials take a lot of heat for their spending habits. It may all seem like avocado toast and artisanal turmeric lattes, but there’s a clear trend on wellness that speaks volumes about the priorities of our demographic group.

However, one statistic hit me: millennials spend more money on their health and fitness than on their college education. The health and fitness total clocks in at $140,000 over a lifetime. Are these gym membership costs worth it?

While I’m all for prioritizing health, this seems excessive. Especially since 67% of monthly gym memberships go unused according to USA Today. If you’re wondering, that is $19 billion yearly in paid gym memberships of which millennials make up the largest group at 36%.

Learn how this all adds up to the $5000 gym visits.

are gym membership costs worth it?

My Gym Membership Costs

I have always been more of a penny pincher than not. You can blame the old school Chinese in me. When I started my first engineering job out of college, I wanted to save as much money as possible to invest.

To begin, I chose a modest membership at the local YMCA for $500 a year (or $42 a month) which included their gym, free classes, and use of the swimming pool. I went a few times but honestly didn’t know what to do with the gym outside of the treadmill. As for the free weights, I never even touched them. About once every two months I’d be inspired to join the 6:00 AM spin class. Overall, I used the pool about six times while training for an Olympic-distance triathlon.

After my first year was up at the Y, I figured my problem was that it was too busy and the hours didn’t fit well with my schedule. Instead, I opted for a bare-bones MMA gym that my friend Jennifer was going to for $35 a month. There, I had 24-hour access to their machines and weights.

So, I did a quick Google search, made up a DIY weight training plan, and went to town… for about three times in 3 months. More than anything, I was racked with guilt, knowing the gym was always open to me. Clearly, I didn’t make a smart investment for my health and the gym membership costs were not worth it.

The $5000 Gym Visits vs. a Gym Membership Alternative

Ryan introduced me to home workouts in 2012. Because of the $450 home gym investment we made back then as well as moving to Beachbody On Demand for $8.33 a month, we have saved $5000 in the last six years.

Those savings could have been closer to $7000 if we opted for workouts that didn’t require any equipment like T25. Or, if we used resistance bands instead of weights like we do now.

How did we save $5000? Let’s do some math because, after all, Ryan and I are engineers who meticulously monitor any trackable metric, especially our finances as a couple.

Year 1:

$450 gym equipment* investment + $100 annually for Beachbody On Demand = $550 spent annually

instead of

$35 on a monthly gym membership * 2 people = $840 spent annually

= $290 in savings (principle investment)

Years 2-6:

$100 annually for Beachbody On Demand

instead of

$35 on a monthly gym membership * 2 people = $840 spent annually

= $740 in savings (annual addition to principle investment)

At 7% compounded interest annually over six years = $4960.18

*Our gym equipment includes one workout bench, pull-up bar, weight vest, pull-up assist band, and two jump mats. For free weights, we have twelve sets of weights between 5-50 lbs. 

Read more: How to build a home gym.

Don’t want to invest in weights, or do you travel as we do? Resistance bands are just as effective as free weights, sometimes more. Read more and learn what bands you need in our article on the Benefits of Using Resistance Bands.

We have also created a free Resistance Bands Workout Routine to help you start building strength with resistance bands.

Our Gym Membership Alternative

No, the gym membership cost is not worth it. It’s a different story if you love your community and show up daily. But, you still need to be wise with your money.

Especially since none of the above calculations include the cost of driving to the gym, the time it takes waiting on equipment, nor the new workout clothes that we would feel compelled to buy… and lost water bottles, anyone?!

Beachbody On Demand is an incredible alternative to paying for a gym membership. In addition to these savings, Beachbody On Demand trainers taught me how to use free weights, how to follow a nutrition plan, how to do yoga as a couple, and how to be accountable.

Read more: Is Beachbody On Demand worth it?

Also, the fact that I now work out 30 days a month instead of 3 is the biggest money saver and win for my health. Therefore, I reduced my workout costs to just $0.28 each time compared to the $35 workouts I did at the MMA gym!

Of course, you can go even more extreme and do your workouts for free. There are many resources online, but whatever you do, make sure you’re working all parts of the body from legs, arms, core, back, and chest.

While “walking the dogs,” “gardening,” or following “free Youtube videos” is better than no exercise at all, it doesn’t cut it to progress your health. We did our best to show this in our experiment to identify the best cardio workout. The Beachbody On Demand workouts shined.

Exercise isn’t a “one size fits all” scheme where an hour of biking to work can replace a full program that incorporates cardio, weight training, and flexibility in a structured plan designed by a trainer (especially at just $8 a month!)

If you agree that the gym membership costs are not worth it, try the 2-week free trial of Beachbody On Demand. It could totally change the game for your fitness like it did for us.

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    Hey we’re Ryan and Alex

    The creators of Ryan and Alex Duo Life. We are a husband-wife duo and “lifestyle engineers.”

    After eight years working in the corporate world, originally as engineers, we left our high-powered jobs to tackle our true passion — helping couples engineer their best lives.

    The synergy of our engineering minds and ten years of health coaching experience produced Ryan and Alex Duo Life. Our mission is to help you transform your bodies, minds, and relationship, as a couple.

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