I’ve been a member of the same gym for over 15 years. In the early days, I just used the weights, punch-bag and treadmills. Then, for a couple of years, I played a lot of badminton until a bad bout of tennis-elbow meant I could no longer play properly. These days, I do aerobics (Body Attack) and yoga/pilates (Body Balance), as well as quick weight-training/workout sessions. It’s all part of my weekly routine, I rarely miss a class or session.
Lots of FI blogs and websites talk about ditching gym memberships and I guess when you look at my annual gym membership statement, I can see why:
Looks horrendous, doesn’t it? And that’s the corporate rate, so I dread to think what the ‘normal’ rate is! My gym is one of the better quality ones in the country (David Lloyd Leisure) but still, it’s a ridiculous price to pay.
Benefit from Work
The company I work for has quite a big thing about encouraging employees to be healthy – it has the view that healthy employees tend to take less days off sick. I have no idea how true that is, but this health initiative at work has been going on for a long time. We even have free fresh fruit available in the offices, to encourage people to snack healthily!
Anyway, as well as negotiating corporate rates for various local gyms, the company allows each employee to claim a Health Rebate each year. This sum can be used towards gym memberships or to purchase home fitness equipment for those who don’t use gyms. The rebate is equivalent to £360 (net) per year. So, £895.30 – £360 = £535.30, or around £45 per month. Ok, membership doesn’t look so bad now.
I’m a big football fan (a Liverpool FC supporter, living and working in Manchester….) but I’ve never been able to justify spending £40 for the Sky Sports channel to watch Premier League matches.
So at weekends, I’ll go to the gym, work out, make use of their sauna and steam room facilities and then watch the football in their restaurant/bar area. No need to subscribe to Sky as it’s ‘part’ of my gym membership package!
It could be argued that I should ditch the gym membership and save/invest the extra £75 per month. But what would I do for exercise? I don’t enjoy outdoor running or walking and am likely to be a calamity on Manchester roads on a bike! (plus I’d have to buy a bike) I could always exercise at home but part of my enjoyment (and incentive) is the social aspect, meeting up with friends, maybe competing a little with women half my age (!), working out as hard as I can.
Above all, it’s fun, a great stress reliever and it’s keeping me fit and healthy.
I’m not prepared to sacrifice my health or well being for a larger portfolio, as I’d like to be able enjoy the fruits of my investments to the max and in good health!
So, I won’t be ditching the gym membership just yet.
And my £360 rebate, which I should be getting next month?
I will be investing it! 🙂