Is a $10 gym membership really worth it?

Is a $10 Gym Membership Really Worth It?

photo: Kezenon (Shutterstock)

There are many ways to start an exercise routine, and as we point out here, it’s not always worth worrying about the details. But does it matter what type of gym you join? Gyms with squat racks and bars give you plenty of options for building strength, but it’s hard to find a gym that’s cheap. Meanwhile, boutique fitness studios, Crossfit boxes and yoga studios tend to be ridiculously expensive. How much have you really sacrificed for something like Crunch or 24 Hour Fitness?

You won’t get fancy extras, but maybe you don’t need them

If you buy a barebones gym membership, it may offer access to equipment at certain times, but that’s it. If that’s all you need, you’re good to go.

Fancy gyms, as well as upgraded memberships to cheaper gyms, will include more perks. These may include towel and laundry service, 24/7 access to the gym, the ability to go to multiple locations in the chain, the ability to bring guests with you, enroll in group classes, free classes with a personal trainer, or sauna or pool use. Expensive gyms may also have more advanced equipment. If there is something specific that is important to you, be sure to ask it before signing up as a member.

However, if your main reason for going to the gym is to lift weights or jump on machines, then you don’t need to rest. It’s not the end of the world if you need to bring your own towels, or even if you need to shower at home because you chose a place so basic it doesn’t have a real changing room. I’ve been training in a gym like this for years and I’m doing well. you can also.

Barbells are not everything

As someone who trains primarily with barbells, I understand the urge to scoff at a place that doesn’t have a barbell.Old readers may remember I created a workout plan for our senior food and editor Claire Lower, when she needs to get stronger to bow and arrow to hunt deer. Her gym at the time was Planet Fitness. Oh, I think. But she’s already on board, so that’s something we have to work with.

What’s available? Cardio machines, strength machines, cable machines, Smith machines (machines that look like squat racks, except that the bar is permanently attached), and tons of dumbbells. yesI think, we can use this. This option is pretty typical of cheap gyms; you may also find some kettlebells, resistance bands, and other miscellaneous items.

The good news is: this is fine. If your goal is to get stronger and/or fitter, you can achieve it with this device. You don’t need a barbell. Now, if your goal is to do barbell sports like weightlifting, or you want to use barbells just because you think they look cool, then yes, you need to look for gyms that have them. Otherwise, you can stay put.

Machines can make you stronger

Inexpensive gyms tend to use equipment rather than barbells because it’s easier for beginners to walk up to the machine and figure out how to use it without hurting themselves. They’re also easier for gym crews to keep clean: don’t chase the plates and collars that end up all over the room.

Make these things work for you too. You can find out about machines by looking at pictures on them, and if you’re really upset, you can look them up on YouTube. (We also Collection of instructional videos for 10 of the most common fitness equipment, if you’re curious. ) is perfectly normal to do this type of exercise. fully use the machinewithout any free weights.

Smith machines, in particular, get bad reviews from people who don’t know how to use them properly. If you try to squat like you’re on a Smith machine, you’re going to be very uncomfortable. But if you know you need to put your feet in front of the bar and lean back, you can work your legs easily and effectively. There are similar techniques for doing the bench press on a Smith might want to read Our Smith Machine guide is here.

don’t sleep with dumbbells

Another great feature of cheap gyms is that they tend to have a good selection of dumbbells. If you’re big and strong, you may find that the dumbbells aren’t heavy enough; they may weigh 75 or 100 pounds each. If you’re a big man and you’re getting really strong, your small gym may have more equipment than you can handle. However, if you’re a beginner or just a smaller person, you’ll probably be comfortable with this option for a long time.

You can do a lot of weightlifting with dumbbells, yes there are Dumbbell Only Workout Program. In addition to the obvious press, curl, and row, you can also do dumbbell lunges, steps, Romanian deadlifts, and more. Lifting a pair of dumbbells is often more difficult than lifting a barbell of the same weight, so don’t let the numbers fool you.

Observe the pricing structure

Because cheap gyms are cheap, they often get their income from somewhere other than the $10 per month (or whatever it may cost). There may be additional membership tiers or add-ons that offer benefits not found in a basic membership, so be prepared to resist upsells.

They may also try to lure you into a personal training contract. Paying for individual training is fine if you want, but read the fine print on the contract and make sure you have a reasonable option to cancel if it doesn’t work.

Don’t forget hidden fees. Some gyms charge an initiation fee or an annual renewal fee. But if you’ve priced everything and you feel you’re getting your money’s worth, enjoy! Even a basic membership will get you a lot of work.

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