Why you should ditch your gym membership

Your forgotten New Year’s resolution could cost you $800 a year

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From the January 2016 issue of the magazine.

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Would you plan to throw away $800 a year on something you probably won’t use? Of course not, yet thousands of Canadians spend at least that much on neglected gym memberships. In fact, fitness clubs bank on welcoming a flood of doe-eyed new members every January, keen to make good on their New Year’s resolutions. According to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), the average gym-goer only makes it out twice a week—a number that’s likely inflated by the diehards who work out almost every day. Their numbers also show that the younger you are the less likely are you are to hit the gym. While members between the ages of 13 to 34 account for about a third of the gym population, those over 35 visit 20% to 50% more often. In the past few years, North American fitness clubs have been rolling out no frills gyms—with fees as low as $10 a month—to appeal to a wider demographic, but data from IHRSA suggests you may be even less likely to go to these facilities. According to the association, higher-priced, multi-purpose clubs with more amenities tend to retain more members than smaller fitness-only facilities­. After all, you are more apt to go somewhere you enjoy than a place that simply meets your needs. There is a far cheaper fitness alternative: running. The Running Room, Lululemon and other national fitness retailers offers free clinics and running groups. Best of all you’ll have other runners there to help motivate you. It’ll be the best money you never spent—and you might just get that beach bod after all.

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