Why the Traditional Gym Membership (Usually) Doesn't Work

Why the Traditional Gym Membership (Usually) Doesn't Work


Author: Dave Regula
[Read Time: 4min]


Fun fact: traditional gyms want you to fail. In fact, they hope you fail. A traditional gym membership is built on the plan that you’re not going to show up.

Think about all the people you know who have traditional gym memberships and don’t use them. Imagine if every registered member actually showed up to work out — it’d be chaos. There would be fistfights over the elliptical and even that thigh machine that no one understands.

Meanwhile, the rower would still be dusty and unused (but that’s another story for another time).

These gyms use that tempting low price to bring you in and buy, but no one actually expects you (or wants you) to come work out there. They’re more interested in dollars not fitness.

Traditional gym memberships are, unfortunately, a bad choice if you want to change your current lifestyle and focus more on being fit. No one is going to help you create a fitness plan, so you’re on your own to figure out how to get started. You put yourself at a higher risk for injury, which can set you further back from your goals and ultimately lead to you stopping from pursuing them.

If you’re interested in getting fit, do your research for a quality gym before you go buy a traditional gym membership. Look for something that’s more than just a guy sitting behind a desk who cleans the equipment every once in a while. Something more than a pack of wild hyenas (aka trainers) that spend more time looking for their next date than your next fitness milestone.

5 Reasons to Avoid a Traditional Gym Membership

1. They Don’t Want You to be Successful

The traditional gym membership isn’t designed around wanting you to be successful. If you’re looking to go somewhere to chase your fitness goals you’re not going to find a supportive atmosphere. Once you fill out your membership form, you’re basically let loose with no instruction besides wiping off the equipment when you’re done.

Without any support or guidance, you’ll probably find yourself losing motivation quickly, and eventually, you’ll just stop going. Unfortunately, traditional gyms expect this out of you from the moment you walk in the door.

2. You Won’t Learn How to Move Correctly

Without instruction on proper movement, you can develop terrible habits and set yourself up for the possibility of injury. Creating proper movement patterns is imperative while starting any exercise program. If you don’t have a coach or you do and but he’s busy dancing around and yelling, then you may want to rethink your choice of gym.

Without a coach, you’re also going to run the risk of getting injured and falling short of your goals.

To add to that, without a coach, you might end up brushing off pain and end up with a bigger problem on your hands. Constantly guessing about your workout and how your body feels is taking two steps backwards when you’re trying so hard to move your lifestyle forward.

3. Lumped in With Everyone Else

If your traditional gym membership includes free classes, don’t expect to find any personalized training or individualization. These classes are built with a general plan for everyone, meaning you’re expected to move like everyone else. Some of the exercises might be too difficult, and no one is going to apply your lifestyle to what you’re doing.

Classes like these can make you feel like just a number, and if you’re not one of the stand outs, it’s easy to feel discouraged if you’re not performing as well as others. The "instructor" is only there to show you what to do, and if you’re in a huge class, they’re not going to be paying attention to whether you’re doing the movements correctly, especially if you’re in the back or worse yet, the lights are too dark for you to be seen.

4. There’s No “I” in Team

Traditional gym memberships don’t offer a personal coach who’s going to sit down and learn about who you are and where you want to go. You’re on your own to try and succeed, and unfortunately, this can easily lead down the path to failure.

Your fitness journey shouldn’t be one you travel alone. A coach can hold you accountable and give you all kinds of knowledge you wouldn’t be able to learn on your own. Whether you want to run around with your kids or be able to compete in an event, a coach is going to be able to help you develop a plan to get there.

5. No Nutrition Guidance

Working out is only part of the steps you need to take in order to achieve your fitness goals. A traditional gym membership doesn’t offer any help with nutrition, and when you’re trying to accomplish your fitness goals by yourself, nutrition might not be part of your plan because you’re so focused on working out.

Without someone who can give you knowledgeable nutrition advice, you’re not going to know what foods or even what amount of food are going to best benefit you. Again, you fall into the “one size fits all” issue. Most diets that you find online are designed with a general audience in mind, so following it might not have the same results that the plan says it will. Without talking to someone about where you want to go, it’s going to be hard to create an accurate nutrition plan to get you there.

We could keep going with numbers 6 through 66 but we only promised the top 5 and well...hopefully you get the picture. Accountability and Coaching matter in your success.

If you haven't noticed, there is no shortage of information out there and obesity and sickness are still on the rise. Gyms like Planet Fitness are growing like crazy but society is getting less healthy.

Go figure. :)


If you are interested in making a change and learning more about how personalized fitness, nutrition, and accountability can make a difference in your life, just shoot us an email or stop in for a visit. We help people all over Northeast Ohio at TrAk and all over North America with TrAk Online and the Epic Life Transformation.

About the Author: Dave Regula is the co-founder of TrAk Athletics. After a record-setting Ivy-League football career, Dave spent 15 years in the Trading Pits of the Chicago Board of Trade where he spent all of his free time in the gym and coaching fitness and nutrition online. In 2015 he and his wife, 2x Olympian Lauren (the real athlete in the family) moved to Akron, Ohio to start TrAk Athletics and raise their three kids.


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