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Are Discounted Gym’s Worth It?

2020 vision and you’re focused on finally getting fit. It’s the new year and 95% of big box gyms are running some sort of discount to get you in the door.  What if I told you those same gyms are depending on you NOT being there in a month or two? They’re not worried though…you signed a 12 month contract so you’ll still be paying even though you don’t actually use your membership. Maybe it’s only $9.99/month with a $20 joining fee, or you get two months free with a 12 month contract, or 50% off your first three months.  However, all of them require a year long contract if you want to save that extra money. You rationalize the savings and sign up because you need to get back in shape and you can’t resist a ‘good deal’.  But are discount gym memberships actually worth it when you consider where you’ll be a few months from now?  Maybe…if you know what you need to do to accomplish your goals. But for 83% of people, absolutely not! Why 83%? When you first start a new workout or fitness program you’re extremely motivated. Motivation is fueling all of these awesome new decisions.  Your goals are crystal clear in your mind and this is it, the year that you actually see results! But then life happens.  You have to work late a few nights this week, or your kid starts her lacrosse season.  Time is tight one day so you let a workout slip because hey, you’ll just hit it hard tomorrow. And I mean, since you missed your workout you might as well grab a spicy chicken sandwich and a milkshake on the way home, you deserve a treat. You’ve worked out like twice this year. Then two weeks later it’s two workouts that fall through the cracks. And to be clear, I’m not blaming you. It’s not your FAULT. It’s natural human behavior to take the path of least resistance, and it’s why most people need help on their fitness journey (really when starting any new habit). It’s why high performers have a coach in almost every aspect of their lives; it’s why I STILL have coaches. 99% of us need accountability to be successful. A Flawed Business Model- At Least for You Big box gyms know about our tendency to fall off the wagon and they actually DEPEND on this behavior.  Like the airline companies that oversell seats, they intentionally overbook their facility, expecting most people to stop showing up, quickly. If their entire membership base came to the gym on the same day people would be packed in like a can of sardines and they wouldn’t be able to use the equipment they’re paying for. Because remember, all you’re paying for is to be allowed to use their equipment. Nothing else. Ask them for a workout to help you reach your goals. Or ask them for a trainer. Let me know how that goes. Their business model is to get you signed up at a cheap rate and lock you into a long term contract. Big box gyms sign up thousands of people for a facility that can only handle a few hundred at a time. Planet Fitness for example has 6,500 members per gym on average, but their facility can only fit a few hundred people at a time.  In fact, their business model relies on a max of 17% of their members actually using their facilities on a regular basis. That leaves 83% of members paying for a monthly membership and never using it.  Those members are how big box gyms make money…they’re actually their favorite members. The Real Cost of Discounts So after three months of hard work you fall off the wagon completely. And that’s if you’re kicking butt. For most, it’s three weeks. Things snowball out of control and a month later you’re right back to where you started before you began going to the gym in the first place.  Good thing you only paid $10/month for your membership! For $30 you got a round trip ticket right back to where you started and a whole bunch of extra frustration with yourself and self-disappointment. You successfully reinforced the idea that you CAN’T get fit, and this whole “workout thing” is for the birds. Never mind the non monetary costs to your life when you stop your fitness routine.  When you’re working out and eating clean you’re a better parent, co worker, and friend.  You have more energy to play with your kids. You sleep better. You have more focus at work. And you even convince your neighbor to start coming on walks with you.  You’re better for everyone around you. Go ahead. Think about all of the healthy, fit people you know. Tell me how many of them don’t seem happy and successful. I’ll wait… Accountability- The Secret Sauce At a cheap gym with a steep discount no one is going to notice you’re missing.  No one calls when you don’t show up. It’s all too easy to slip through the cracks. Wanna know why? When someone know’s they’re giving you a product or service for a cheap price, they know you don’t have very high expectations of what you’re paying for. It’s just like when I go to Target and have to choose between the quality option or the cheap product. I can’t get frustrated when the cheap option doesn’t work, or breaks. That’s why it cost less. Compare that to a gym like CrossFit Mountain Island where 60-70% of members show up on any one day and EVERY member is actively attending the gym. And if someone isn’t around, they’re getting texts and calls from us regularly to check-in and make a plan to get their momentum back.  Your progress is tracked in multiple different areas. We do goal reviews to track improvements in strength and cardio and make sure you’re on the right path, we keep up with your attendance, and have an Inbody scanner to keep tabs on your body composition so we know if your nutrition is working, or if you need our help. We notice when you’re missing and you’ll get a phone call and text to check in on you.  Your friends from the 5:30pm class also notice and reach out asking when you’re going to be back because they miss doing burpees with you. So after a week away, you’re right back at it and you continue to progress.  6 months later you feel and look like a different person. As an added benefit of a gym like ours we don’t do ANY contracts.  All our services are month to month.  We want people who want to be at the gym and we want to continue to earn your business.  We couldn’t be any different from a big box gym in nearly every way imaginable. Is that Discount Really Worth it? We pay for what we value. For things that enrich our lives. If we’re constantly budgeting $10-$20 a month for our health, but without second thought spending $200+ on drinks, dinners, phones. social media and cable, or clothes every month, you’re reinforcing the choices and habits of a person that doesn’t care about their fitness or their health. And why should you expect to get healthy if, with your actions, you’re blatantly saying “this isn’t really that important”. Most people don’t need more knowledge, they need accountability and guidance.  And that’s the value of having a coach instead of access to a gym. Yes, we’re a lot more expensive than a big box gym.  That’s because we sell results, accountability, and one on one guidance…not access to equipment. Discounts are great…unless the thing you’re paying for doesn’t actually solve your problem.  It’s like getting a ‘great deal’ on a fancy new 55” TV. Sure it’s on sale for $9.99…there’s only one catch- the sound doesn’t work and the screen won’t turn on.  Is $10 still a great deal?

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