Do I need a gym membership?

It depends on what you need to get into shape. Working out at home is sufficient for many people. Others prefer to have access to a health club to help them get into a more motivating environment. Determine what will inspire and motivate you to workout. If you like direction but do not like crowds, try at-home fitness DVDs, or hire a personal fitness professional to meet you at your house or at a park. If you like being around a group of people with similar goals and like-minded determination to get fit, a workout facility might suit you best. Gyms often offer more variety in equipment, exercise classes, exercise tools, and guidance through fitness professionals. It might be a good idea to begin in a gym to become comfortable with exercise. Then, determine what you like the best and stick with it!

To participate in a fitness program you do not need a gym membership although gyms typically provide a full service package of equipment, professional training, coaching, and people there to help support you in reaching your fitness goals.  You can also perform your fitness at a variety of other locations including local parks, at your home, or at a facility that does not require a membership. To get assistance in identifying what will work best for you contact an NASM or Sharecare Certified Trainer.

You don't need a gym membership to get into shape. However depending on what you are looking for you might.  Most people buy home equipment like treadmills, ellipicals, dumbbells and bands for their workouts.  Some people like the social interaction with others to help them keep motivated.  Others may need guidance from personal trainers to help them with their goals.  So it really doesn't matter where you workout just if the home or gym has what you are looking for.

The simplest answer is NO, you don't NEED a gym membership. The only thing you need to have a successful healthy lifestyle is consistency. Your workouts should occur where you are motivated to consistently workout in a safe and effective manner. The "where" is not important as the "how often."

Some thoughts for you to consider...

1. Your home will be a perfect workout space, if you are self motivated, want to economize time, and have a area (basement/garage) at home to provide safe, effective and fun workouts that you do on a regular basis. For an small initial investment, you can supply your home gym with ample workout equipment that will surely deliver results if you are consistent with you workouts. Ask an NASM personal trainer here on Sharecare to assist you with your purchases and putting together a safe and effective workout regime.

2. If you find motivation from being around other like minded healthy people then having a gym membership can be a good solution. Especially if you want the variety of having machines, weights and maybe even some classes to participate in. Caution: don't get caught in all the hoopla of the amenities a gym has to offer. Focus on what will bring you to your health and fitness goals, everything else is just extras that are there to lure people into join the healthclub.

3. Get outside. A change of scenery and activity will always stimulate a workout program. Get out of the home or gym and go run or walk on the boardwalk, do some interval training in the park, go shoot some hoops, whatever makes you motivates you to move is going to make you a happier, healthier person.

Psychologically gyms can be a great place for people who are new to exercise because it can provide easy access to equipment and social support. However many people end up feeling a sense of confusion because they don't know how to use the equipment or use it properly and they end up frustrated because they don't get the support they were looking for.


Gyms are great but there are so many things you do without a gym and these things end up costing you a lot less money and many times provides a greater sense of satisfaction. For example, walking, bicycle riding, hiking, shooting baskets, tennis, swimming, etc.


If you own a Wii there are some great fitness programs. You may hire a personal trainer to come into your home for a session or two to help you set up a program.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.