If you know anything about me, you know I’m a gym rat. I’m all about going to the gym. If I have a hobby, it’s going to the gym.
This habit started during law school in the late 90s. In an effort to ward off “law body” (a term coined by my ex who’d seen plenty of people get fat while in law school) (he also came up with “law face,” which describes a smug, no-teeth half-smile), I started going to the school rec center. Since then, whenever I’ve moved anywhere, the first order of business after finding a place is finding a gym. I generally don’t quit a gym unless something ridiculous like a creepy gym stalker happens.
Now, though, I’m thinking about quitting my gym. Even weirder, I’m thinking about not joining another one. That’s crazy, right?
Yesterday, when I got the mail, the first thing out of my mouth was “Oh, shit” when I saw the envelope from the gym. An envelope from my gym arriving in late winter means only one thing: they’re raising my dues. Again. To a price I’m not willing to pay.
Normally, that would mean finding another gym. But you know what? I’m kind of over it. So I join another gym and maybe it’s not as nice or it’s too crowded or it’s less convenient or whatever. And I either sign a lengthy contract or they raise the price every year. And I’m either stuck with it or I have to find yet another gym.
Here’s the thing. I go to the gym to work out. Period. I don’t go for camaraderie. I don’t hire personal trainers or take classes. Hell, aside from the cheerful person who checks me in at the front desk, I prefer to have no contact whatsoever with any people at the gym. I don’t use the extras like hot tubs or saunas. I always think I want to use the hot tub at the gym, but in all my years of going to gyms, I’ve never done it, not even once. I don’t use the pool or hang out in the lounge area. I don’t take advantage of the free wi-fi or the boardroom that is available for your business needs. I don’t buy food from the cafe or go to gym happy hour or gym parties. I’ve never even showered at the gym. I go, work out as efficiently as possible, and get the hell out.
This should mean I’d be happy at a super-bare-bones gym, but I’m not. I like a nice environment. I want an individual television I can control on my treadmill. I feel a little downtrodden if I have to bring a lock or, horror of all horrors, my own towel. So I tend to like gyms that are more on the pricey side, especially when you consider my unwillingness to travel outside the immediate downtown area.
While considering what I like (nice environment, tv, convenience) versus what I don’t like (too much $$, too much hassle), I realized something. Maybe it’s time for me to buy instead of renting. Maybe I should opt out of the gym and work out at home.
The problem with this is twofold: room and cash.
Have I mentioned that our house is tiny? We have three people and seven (I know) animals living in 950 square feet. I have no complaints about this (surprisingly, I kind of love that we’re all on top of each other all the time), but it doesn’t leave much space for exercise equipment. I think we can make it work, though. We might be able to squeeze a treadmill into our laundry room/dog crate area/DJ studio. If not, I suppose it could go in the living room, because it’s not like our house looks that great anyway. The minimal weight equipment I’d need could be stored in my closet when not in use, assuming I make room for it by getting rid of some crap one of these days, which I should totally do anyway.
My Amazon cart contains everything I’d need, which at current prices would cost $1,458.06. (This is approximately equal to 17 months of my current gym dues.) When you take into account how much I have been and would be paying in gym dues and figure the stuff I’d buy should last several years, the cost isn’t so bad. Plus, given that my gym’s draconian quitting policies require me to be a member until May 1, I’d have plenty of time to shop around and wait for those Bowflex weights to go on sale, which I understand they are wont to do.
(I already have an exercise ball that I could use for abs and the resistance band is for lat pulldowns.)
With this equipment, I’d be able to do pretty much everything I do at the gym. I’d miss the occasional elliptical session, but I think I’ll get over it. I’d miss leg and back extension machines, but hell, that’s what squats, lunges, and deadlifts are for, right? Plus, Ben would be able to use the treadmill (he normally runs outside like a normal person). And maybe we could get all Cesar Millan and put a dog on it, too.
So yeah, maybe it’s time for me to give up my days as a gym rat. That seems crazy!