I’ve recently been recovering from one of the most painful wastes of money. I had joined a popular exercise program that offers classes here in our area. I was so excited to get back into the classes as I had once enjoyed them very much. I was able to join during a month they offered free sign-up, of course with a commitment. Why not? I am/was committed to exercise.


Four months into the twelve month contract at $39 a month, I injured myself to the point I was told not to return to that sort of exercise program. It was painful – painful I couldn’t return due to the injury and painful on my wallet.


Have you ever seen that episode of Friends where Ross and Chandler try to quit the gym? “I wanna quit the gym,” Chandler says, “I wanna quit the gym.” “It’s okay man, be strong,” Ross tells him. “You don’t want to make your friend work out alone, do you,” the gym manager says to Chandler, “your friend Ross just joined.” They walk out of the gym, both members, after quite the debacle.


I felt much like Chandler when I approached the membership representative to ask what options I had for cancelling my membership. I knew I couldn’t return no matter what they tried to convince me or how much I really did want to be there.


A contract is a contract, so eight months and an unused $312 worth of classes have gone by since the day I tried to “quit the gym”. I do miss the classes, I will not lie, but what I’ve learned in these past eight months is that I don’t need the gym. I’ve managed, injury and all, to lose over 45 lbs without spending a dime on anything more than a pair of walking shoes.


I took up walking, starting at short distances and working up to farther ones. When my injury flares up, I just dust off my bicycle and take to the trails. Through a perusal of YouTube I found many targeted exercise programs to shape and tone. Some under ten minutes and all absolutely free of charge.


Unless you are vigilant about that gym membership and absolutely cannot live life without it, consider quitting the gym. There are a whole lot of fun fitness things out there that cost you absolutely nothing.


What form of exercise do you love?
What “free” fitness ideas do you have to share with others?


Before starting or modifying any fitness program, please consult your physician.

New Member

Hi, I have found this to be true in the summertime--don't need a gym membership, don't miss it--and I even regularly do indoor calisthenics, but I cannot walk outside in freezing cold temperatures in winter (painful!). So I'm guessing I should look for some free (or pay as you go) indoor options. Mall, maybe  for walking, but it's potentially costly when I see things to buy. I also love yoga and Zumba! So I think that I might do an inexpensive gym (without a contract) or occasional individual classes. 

Briana Hartzell USAA

Hi @TisforTurtle ,

Thanks for posting. I agree its hard to get motivated to go outside when it is cold! I have had good luck finding free exercise videos online. You can search for Zumba or yoga on youtube or using an existing streaming service (if you have one) and there are so many options to do right at home!