Cancel Your Gym Membership

Over a lifespan, the average American spends $112,000 on gym memberships[1]; 67% of memberships go unused.[2] Imagine investing that money into an IRA account, index fund, or other investment vehicle.

So, if you want to be poor and fat, get a gym membership.

Unless you are a professional athlete or body builder, gym memberships are a complete waste of money. Considering the cost and the time spent to get to the gym and back (i.e. opportunity cost), memberships are a terrible investment. Gyms make money because they sell customers the idea of being in shape and healthy, but they know they can sign up more clients than their gym can handle because most people do not routinely – or ever – go. People have this dream of finally getting in shape, and they feel they need the gym to accomplish this; they don’t.

Of course, health is the most important investment people can make in life; nothing is more important. Without health, you have nothing, absolutely nothing. Your dreams, your family, your money, your future do not exist if you lose your health. If you do sign up for a gym and actually use it for the duration of the membership, then it is fine investment, indeed.

For anybody who wants to lose weight, stay in shape, or simply improve their health, there are many alternative ways to stay healthy and fit without dishing out a lot of cash; be creative.

Let’s look at one creative option called the 24 Hour Workout.

24 Hour Workout

The 24 Hour Workout is free, simple, and easy to do. It sounds difficult, but it is actually easier than spending hours at the gym. It also saves you a lot of time that you can spend doing activities that are more productive.

To start, make a checklist that you will see every day. You can write it on your in a notebook or put it on your phone’s calendar; it doesn’t matter. Just be sure you will see it first thing in the morning and in the evening. This checklist will include your daily workouts. These workouts can include aerobic and anaerobic exercises. On the check list, also leave room for notes.

For the checklist, write down the exercises that you can do at home which you will do every workday morning and evening; then write the longer workout you will do on the weekend. Depending on your goals, you can make these workouts easy or difficult. In fact, it is suggested you make them relatively easy; otherwise, you might give up after a few days or weeks. The goal is to do it for years and even decades. If you do have the discipline to up the daily workload, then go for it. The key is consistency. What will give you better results: workout really hard (at the gym or home) for a couple of months, then give up and not work out for years, or workout just a little every day for years?

What workouts should you do every workday morning and evening and every weekend? That is up to you, but let’s look at an example.

Example 24 Hour Workout Morning Routine

Right when your alarm goes off and before you do anything, start a small workout. It could last five minutes or thirty. The key is you continue to do it every day. If you don’t do it right away, once you have your coffee or open the newspaper, it will be too late. Then, you could do the following:

30 push-ups
30 sit-ups
30 squats
* anaerobic exercises help you lose weight

That’s it. You can add more, but just a little every morning will make a difference over time.

Example 24 Hour Workout Evening Workout

Once you get home from work, before you sit down and turn on the TV, get your workout finished. This will make the rest of your evening enjoyable because you will know you completed your responsibilities for the day. Get the workout done, then do whatever it is you have to or want to do in the evening. Your workout could include:

Squats with dumbbells
Dumbbell lifts (or any dumbbell exercise; change this every evening)
Stairs (or short jog in place or outside)

Again, short but sweet. You can up your workload, but consistency is most important.

Example 24 Hour Workout Weekend Workout

Since you probably have a little more time on the weekend, it is a good idea to do a little more exercise. In fact, this is a good time to do aerobic exercise. On the weekends, you can skip your morning and evening workouts, and do one aerobic exercise on Saturday and Sunday. Find a place close to your home and jog a mile. If you can’t do a mile at first, do less, and build up every weekend. Again, it is not necessary to run a marathon (unless that is your goal). Set a reasonable distance and keep it up every weekend. Alternatively, you could ride a bike or go swimming.

24 Hour Workout Checklist (and notes)

The checklist is to keep you accountable. Every morning and evening, tick off the check boxes on your list. As for the notes, this is to track your progress. For the purpose of simplicity, don’t write too much. The simpler, the more likely you will keep it up. You can take notes on your progress. For example, if you are trying to lose weight, write down your weight every week; you can assess whether or not you are losing weight. If you are not making great progress, then maybe you need to make adjustments to your daily work outs. You can also include, for example, how many push-ups you are doing every morning or how many miles you are running on the weekend. Again, make this simple so you can keep it up.

Forgive Thyself

Included in the 24 Hour Work is forgiveness. Everybody gets busy or sick and has to miss an exercise routine. Many people use these times as an excuse to quit. Don’t do this. Make it a mental exercise to forgive yourself if you get off track. If you miss a week for any reason, get back to the routine and don’t worry about it.

Diet

Of course, consistent exercise is useless without coupling it with a healthy diet. Therefore, it is also important to watch what you eat. This can be extremely difficult for many people. Everybody knows they should eat fruit and vegetables and stay away from sugar. You know what you should and should not eat. It is all about changing your habits. Therefore, take it slowly and make small changes. If you habitually eat chips when you get home from work, cut it out. Or, cut out a different habit in your life. You know which foods you are eating that are good or bad for you.

You could also consider fasting a couple days a week. Not an all-day fast, but skip lunch a couple days a week. This might be a controversial opinion to many people; however, if you live in a developed country, you probably have plenty of food and would be fine skipping some meals. If you are worried about fasting, ask your doctor for their suggestion.

Habits

Much of the above suggestions are simply about slowly changing your habits over a period of time; that is it. What do you think? If you do some simple exercises every morning and evening and longer workouts on the weekend all while improving your eating habits, could you meet your fitness goals? The reason this exercise routine is called the 24 Hour Workout is because you are exercising a little every day, morning and night. However, it is easily doable for busy professionals. You can also add more exercises during the workday. For example, when you get to work, walk the stairs instead of take the elevator. Or, at lunch, do some simple arm exercise or go for a walk. Again, it is all about habits.

Get in Shape and Save Money

The 24 Hour Plan is designed to save you money and time while getting you in shape. A gym membership truly is a waste of money for the average person. That money could be used for other investments that could help you build wealth. Most people want to get in shape, so they join a gym. Most people, however, don’t use the gym they paid for. Quit the gym and find an alternative way to get in shape.

Works Cited
[1] Market Watch
[2] USA Today

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