It seems as though winter has arrived early here in Denver. I’m currently looking at a light dusting of snow outside and the forecast is predicting 4-8” overnight and into tomorrow with another 4-8” expected on Tuesday. If this continues it will definitely put a damper on my typical exercise plans. It is pretty difficult for me to find ways of exercising that keep me interested and committed to doing it at least four days a week. So far, the only thing that I am able to do consistently is run, which really takes a hit during the winter.
If I want to actually reach my goal of weighing 160 lbs and then adding muscle to 165 lbs, I am going to have to figure out a way to exercise consistently during the winter. Some of you may be thinking that a gym membership should be in my future, but I am going to push back on that. In most situations, a gym membership should be the last resort for someone who is looking to stay in shape or get into better shape. The gym membership almost always falls under the category of a luxury expense that can be easily avoided and money can be put to better use getting out of debt, saving more, and eventually having enough money that you are free to work when you want and for whom you want.
Instead of getting a gym membership, I will be focusing on the wonderful world of youtube, where there are plenty of workout videos that are completely free. In this household our personal favorite is Fitness Blender, which offers hundreds of videos of varying lengths and intensities. The best part is that most of their workouts can be completed without any equipment and even more with a simple set of dumbbells. Allyson and I picked up a set of Powerblock Sport dumbbells, which offer weights from 3 to 24 pounds in a small modular set, for $150 (and even now I believe we should have gotten them off of Craigslist). But considering a gym membership will probably average $25-$50 per month, that set paid for itself in just 6 months and has saved us $750 in the 3 years we’ve had them (ignoring the compounding interest from investing that extra money). And if we had more space in our house, it would be a simple matter to get a full olympic weight set. Some quick searching on Craigslist shows that a bench, squat rack, bar, and all of the weights I could ever lift would cost ~$200.
I encourage you to take a look at what your goals are with exercising, and consider ways to meet those goals that do not involve a gym membership. The most efficient and healthy way of working out, weight training, can be done easily for about $200 if you have a spare room or garage space for a weight set. That can easily save you over $4000 in just 10 years if you invest the $25/month you save or use it to pay down debt. To help the thought process, I’ve made a simple flowchart for whether or not you need a gym membership.