“The Spouse Off” is a weekly feature of brokeprofessionals.com, where every Tuesday (in this case Wednesday) Mr. and Mrs. Broke Professional will debate a different personal finance topic in 250 words or less each, and will then have a chance at a rebuttal, in 100 words or less each. The winner will then be declared based upon the comments made by you, the readers and will be calculated every Thursday at 7:00 p.m., (eastern time). The winner will be announced in the follow weeks “Spouse Off.” Last Week Mr. BP won for the first time, cutting Mrs. BP’s overall lead to 4-1. Can Mr. BP make it two and a row and stop the constant taunting from Mrs. BP? Or will he be resigned to another week of confidence crushing rhetoric? You decide, this week, in the Spouse Off #6.
For this edition of the spouse off, the question is: Should the Average Person Join the Gym or Work Out from Home?
I. Opening Remarks: Mr. BP: Against the GYM
Growing up I considered gyms an unnecessary luxury. Losing around 100 pounds with the help of a gym changed my mind. I did not have a personal trainer and I did not join a fancy gym. Still, I still paid around $400.00 to $500.00 a year, but I figured that was a small price to pay for the health and financial benefits a gym membership could provide. Then I decided to experiment and quit the gym, and guess what: I have kept the weight off for over two years even without a gym membership.
Why? Because what matters is you and your motivation, not where you exercise. If you need a gym to motivate you then that is great. You will of course have access to a more diverse selection of equipment at a gym. You may also be motivated by the money you spend on a gym, but then again, how many people pay their monthly gym memberships each month without actually going to the gym, as if it is some sort of “out of shape” tax?
NFL great Herschel Walker, one of the most physically fit athletes of all time has always utilized a workout that consisted almost entirely of running, push ups, and sit ups. Of course some people are motivated by the gym “experience”, and if that is the only way that they can stay in shape then I say go for it; it is better to pay some money to a gym now rather than potentially face expensive health problems later on. That said, the gym is not necessary so long as there is a team sport to play, a road to jog, a simple weight under your bed, or some strenuous yard work to be done. For people who have physically demanding jobs the need for a gym becomes even less obvious.
To summarize: the only thing that has gotten heavier since I quit the gym is my wallet.
II. Opening Remarks: Mrs. BP. A Gym is not a Waste of Money
No, a gym is not a waste of money. Yes, you are putting out money to exercise but you are also using that money to support a healthy lifestyle, which in the long run will save you money. Being active and maintaining a healthy weight will reduce your medical bills as you get older. Gym memberships can range in price and often you can find a reasonable marketing promotion when signing up. Typically rates will go up as the promotion ends but I’ve often found you can negotiate your way back to a reasonable price.
Many argue that you can find suitable exercise right in your own neighborhood. They suggest running and walking because they are free. However, as I have shown numerous times, I don’t feel the financial obligation to “stick” with the walking as I do with going to a gym that I am paying for. Also, a good gym offers so much more than cardio such as extensive weight equipment, exercise classes and personal trainers. The entre gym experience can produce a sense of community and inspire you to continue attending.
For me there is a motivating incentive to socialize with my husband and/or friends while getting in shape. Asking someone to stay in great shape without a gym is like asking someone to put an addition on a house without power tools. In the end you are paying to workout, but you are also paying towards a healthier you.
III. Closing Statements: Mr. BP – The Gym is Unnecessary
I agree that maintaining a healthy weight and staying in shape will reduce medical bills. That said, gyms are a rather modern invention, and obesity is a growing problem in the modern world. If people took the time they spent at the gym and instead did yard work or another strenuous project around their house, then they would save money and accomplish more on multiple levels.
Most people only use the treadmill at the gym anyway, and some simple weights are not that expensive or difficult to store.
Mrs. BP mentioned “personal trainers:” now you are talking about a potentially large financial expense. Unless you’re a professional athlete or training for the olympics I have no idea why an ordinary person would think that spending money on a luxury such as a personal trainer is anything short of an egregious waste of money. Some fresh air might do us all some good, and today team sports are easily found for people of any skill level or age.
I conclude with this: you know what’s not good for my long-term health? All the stress associated with yet another unnecessary monthly bill.
IV. Closing Statements: Mrs. BP: Gyms Are Necessary
Though I do agree with some of Mr. BP’s points mentioned above, I maintain that the vast majority of “exercisers” out there need a specific place to go in order to feel motivated and to see a program through. Also, the mindset that you are wasting your money if you do not go to the gym that you prepaid that month is a big motivator for many people. Now it does not have to be a fancy health/fitness spa, but any decent local/town gym can provide enough incentive to help those of us who need that extra push out the door each day.