September 12, 2021
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About three years ago when I was a newly minted OL (short for office lady), I immediately took on all the quintessential traits one needed to have to become one, plus all millennial trends that came with it.
That included an aesthetically pleasing office mug, an office shawl to guard against the unreasonably cold office temperatures, a pair of office shoes for formal occasions, and of course – a gym membership.
Those were exciting times, when GuavaPass had not yet been acquired by ClassPass, and was offering pretty affordable gym membership prices, presumably in a bid to grow their user base. Although I was never one to exercise voluntarily, the draw of the gym culture was what pulled me into a membership. Trendy workout clothes, matching workout shoes to go with, and an exciting after-work lifestyle were some of the things that completely sold me.
Interestingly, none of which were about the actual exercise itself.
On hindsight, I could have put that money to better use, especially since I had just started working at that time. Here are some of the things I wish I knew about gym memberships, office trends, and money management.
Let’s start with the perks of going to a gym.
It’s the experience.
Depending on what you’re looking for, a gym offers that space for you to get in the zone for exercise. From relaxing yoga studios, neon lit HIIT gyms to a a climbing gym, it’s rarely just exercise that you’re paying for.
Of course, some people will say those are just marketing gimmicks. But if you’re somebody who dreads exercising AND wants to exercise more, I’d say that the ambience and people help. The process of booking a session, having to go down to a physical gym, and the presence of other gym-goers is a huge motivation for some (and for me too). So if that’s what you need, then a gym membership is definitely worth the price.
Sure, you could follow Youtubers like Chloe Ting or Blogilates, but a Youtuber can’t give personalised corrections on your posture, or whether you’re ready to do something more advanced.
There are probably other perks, but these are the two that were most important for somebody who was terrible at exercising.
Now let’s think about the costs.
ClassPass’ lowest tier goes at just $19 a month, which gives you an estimate of 2 classes. They’ve got a credit system, which determines the price of each class based on a few factors, like popularity, time, location etc. Kind of how plane tickets work, just to give a quick analogy.
A quick survey of a few gyms in Singapore and you’ll find that the average monthly membership fee is roughly $60, that is if you take up a long-term membership of course.
Let’s say we take $60 as our benchmark, that’s $720 a year, which is not too exorbitant.
Which brings me to the next, and more important question.
I’ve heard of people who bought a gym membership but hardly went there at all. All that is money wasted that could be put elsewhere. These seemingly smalls money leaks can accumulate to become a large hole in your pocket.
If you’re anything like me – someone who was easily sucked into the latest lifestyle trend – then it’s more important to ask yourself what are you really doing this for? You got to admit to yourself if you’re just following the trends (as silly as it might sound).
And if you really are anything like the 22 year old me, then chances are you aren’t just spending on gym memberships. You’ll have a slew of other subscription accounts that take out of your salary on a fixed basis.
So the long answer to this question is no, you don’t need a gym to exercise. Not unless you really milk it for what it’s worth. Save your coin, take to Youtube, or better still go to the park for a good-ole jog.