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Do You Really Need to Pay for a Gym Membership?

Rebecca BebbingtonRebecca Bebbington · Jun 19, 2020

With gyms and fitness facilities a thing of the past during the nation’s lockdown, we here at NetVoucherCodes are pondering whether it’s worth ditching those costly gym fees for cheaper, at-home alternatives.

Whilst there are many perks to visiting your local gym, it’s more than possible to emulate those sweaty sessions from the comfort of your own home, so we’ve decided to explore just how much you could save by scrapping the gym altogether.

If you’ve chosen to delve into the world of fitness during this isolation period, you’re not alone. Thousands of people have grasped the opportunity to get fit in lockdown and have succeeded – no gym required! From HIIT training in the garden to yoga in the lounge, it’s more than possible to get fit from home for a fraction of the cost you would spend on your monthly gym fee. Or, if you’re one of the masses who have taken up cycling, you may be interested in giving our Money-Saving Guide a read for tips on how to ride for less!

Yoga is a great way to relax the body and mind. Image: Freepik.com

However, if you’ve had to slog throughout lockdown, or alternatively, have found you’ve piled on some unwelcome pounds during this time, you may be contemplating joining the gym when normality resumes. But, with free content, plans and workouts available in abundance online, we’re wondering if it’s really worth your money.

Stick some music on, put your mat down and work out wherever you like. Image: Freepik.com

5 Reasons why working out at Home is Better

Before we touch on the financial benefits of ditching the gym, there are so many perks to working out from home that you may not have even considered – costs aside!

  1. Ever been put off joining the gym with the fear of embarrassment? There is no need to worry about how you look or if people are staring at you when you work out from home. Get your sweat on in complete comfort and give it your all without feeling humiliated.
  2. Wear whatever you want! Feel free to work out in any attire you wish at home because guess what? No one cares.
  3. Starting work early or finishing late? Home Workouts are perfect for squeezing in when you have a free half-hour. Driving to the gym and changing can be time-consuming – working out at home means climbing out of bed and getting stuck in.
  4. Fitness starts with nutrition. Whether your goal is to lose weight or gain muscle, living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle starts with what you put in your mouth. It’s possible to look and feel great without stepping foot into the gym or even working out at all.
  5. Finally, and most importantly, working out from home can save you a hell of a lot of money. But how much could you save exactly without compromising on results?
Squat in the comfort of your own home. Image: Freepik.com

The Average Cost of UK Gym Memberships

Gym Memberships in the UK can vary widely in price, depending on what Gym you opt for. High-End Gyms offer other leisure facilities alongside access to the gym, like Swimming Pools and Spas which you won’t find at lower-end gyms.

On average, a gym membership fee in the UK sits around £40 a month (source: moneyadviceservice.org.uk). However, you can cut those costs by shopping around. Many local gyms like PureGym or My Gym offer memberships from just £9.99 per month – ideal if you’re looking for just a basic plan. This is good to keep in mind if you are looking to join the gym at an affordable cost!

“At an average of £40 a month, that can total to a staggering £480 in gym fees for 12 months.”

It’s also important to consider that a lot of gyms tie you into a contract, with a minimum of 6 months to a year.

Start Working out For Less

Skipping is a cheap way to keep fit and is great for cardio. Image: Freepik.com

Buy your own Gym Equipment

The world of social media has proven that you don’t actually need any equipment to get fit at home. Get creative with your workouts – grab your milk bottles or that bottle of rose to start lifting – anything weighing over 1kg is perfect for adding weights into your workout.

However, if you are looking to invest in tools to help reach your goals, we want to make sure you get the right price. Also, a great benefit from buying your own equipment is that they will probably last a seriously long time so you’re certain to get your money’s worth.

Dumbbells and Kettlebells are perfect for incorporating into your home workouts. They’re small enough to store anywhere in your home but big enough to help shake up your session. They come in various sizes running from 1kg – 10kg + and are typically inexpensive. Sports Direct, Argos and Amazon are great for finding workout equipment at affordable prices.

Argos Dumbells

If you’re looking for some light weights that will still make you sweat, this set of 4kg Opti Neoprene dumbbells are perfect, priced at just £14.99 from Argos. These are also available in smaller sizes which are ideal for beginners.

If you’re more of an advanced lifter, this Everlast Adjustable Dumbbell is a fantastic piece of equipment to mimic a weight session at the gym. The Dumbells range from sizes 2.5kg all the way up to 32.5kg making it the perfect all-rounder. Priced at £199.99, this is a great investment for a fantastic product with a huge range – and it’s a fraction of the price you spend on an annual gym membership.

Invest in a good quality gym mat. Image: Freepik.com

If you’re serious about working out from home, it’s worth investing in a quality Gym Matt which is great for floor exercises and can prevent you from damaging your floor – not to mention they make movement easier and more comfortable.

Depending on the type of exercise you enjoy will determine what equipment you opt for. But, if you’re keen on smashing your cardio goals, a treadmill, exercise bike, cross trainer or rower are certain to ramp up your fitness levels and get your heart racing. Argos is great for supplying affordable exercise machines – but if you’re looking for something more specialised, NordicTrack supply excellent quality machinery that you will often see in Gyms across the globe.

However, if you’re feeling rather frugal, in reality, you don’t need any equipment to reach those desired goals. Head out for a run or bike ride completely cost-free, or start lifting those heavy household items for some serious gains. Equipment isn’t essential, but if you are eager to invest in machinery and equipment, it’s more than possible to do at an affordable price that you can use at your own convenience and are sure to last a long time!

Gym Wear

Under Armour have a great range of training wear. Image: Under Armour

One of the benefits of working out at home is that you can really wear whatever you like. But, if you’re thinking of heading out on a jog or walk, your pyjamas are not going to cut it. Gym Wear is not only important for comfort and flexibility whilst exercising, but it’s also a great way to get motivated. When you look and feel good, you’re bound to project that energy into your workout and the results will reflect!

With that being said, Gym Wear can actually be pretty expensive, especially if you prefer to wear branded gear like Nike, Under Armour or Adidas. But that doesn’t mean you can’t snatch these brands at low prices. Sports Direct is great for offering discounted prices on quality gym wear. Also, Students can take advantage of a 20% discount at JD Sports with UNiDAYS and 15% at Under Armour.

It’s also worth noting that you can often grab between 10-15% off your First Order when you sign up to many websites. Alternatively, check out the Sale and Outlet pages for huge discounts. JD Sports regularly feature flash sales on their site with price cuts on all top brands. You can also find Under Armour Discount Codes as well as an array of other money-saving deals for popular stores in our Sports Category. It’s definitely worth checking this out for some great savings on Gym Wear.

Investing in quality gym wear is essential for ensuring you have a great workout. Comfortable and breathable trainers are a must for pretty much all exercise. JD Sports, Footaslyum, Foot Locker and Schuh are great for finding the latest styles, and often have discount code available. Gym Leggings, Shorts, Sports Bras, Sports Vests & Tees are all uniform for your next workout – John Lewis and Very is home to all top branded styles. But, if you’re not particularly fussed for the best brands, Pretty Little Thing supplies their own gym gear which is a fraction of the cost without compromising on quality.

Use Online Resources

There are tonnes of free resources online. Image: Freepik.com

The internet is bursting with content – from free workout videos to nutritional advice, you’re bound to find all the advice and guidance you need to get fit – and most of the time it’s completely free.

YouTube is amazing for providing Free Workout Videos! From low impact workouts to high-intensity training, discover thousands of online workout videos to use at your own convenience. Many PT’s charge fortunes to access their workout plans, but here you will often find 14-28 days ‘Shreds’ completely free.

The Chloe Ting’s 2 Week Shred Challenge is just one example that has received a plethora of positive feedback! Not only is it completely free, but the results are proven and you don’t need any equipment to get involved. The videos are easy to follow and are split up into 2-3 short workouts per day and offer low-impact alternative moves for beginners.

It’s not just workouts you will do on YouTube either, access informative videos handing out nutritional advice to get you clued up on all the do’s and don’t when it comes to food. Also, take advantage of the World Wide Web, you don’t need to pay someone to educate yourself. There is heaps of information out there regarding diets, recipes, macro calculators and more. While it may be easier to pay someone to do all the work for you, teaching yourself the basics will save you a fortune in the long run.

Get Social with your Workouts

Theres loads of social media fitness gurus to choose from. Image: Freepik.com

Now more than ever, fitness enthusiasts have taken to their platforms to offer their guidance now gyms and leisure facilities are closed. Thousands of influencers feature Live Workout Videos via their Instagram pages which have proven extremely popular to get you up and moving in real-time! Thousands of accounts feature workout videos on their feeds so there really is no excuse to not get moving.

Some fitness influencers are even offering discounted personalised plans which you can do from home. These are great for all levels of fitness as they’re personalised to you and are typically 3-6 weeks long.

Shop around locally (Facebook is a great place to start) and get in touch with PT’s and fitness bloggers in your local area. Alternatively, why not follow some of our favourite Fitness Accounts:

Courtney Black features Live Workout Videos every morning! Subscribe to her app for hundreds of meal plans too – she’s always handing out nutritional advice on her feed.

Jeanette Jenkins is another popular fitness influencer! Find tons of workout videos on her page as well as nutritional advice.

James Smith has gained a huge following on social media for his honest and fantastic nutritional advice and workouts. He has even written a No.1 Sunday Times Bestseller ‘Not a Diet Book’ which highlights the impact on fad diets and how to transform your habits into a healthy lifestyle.

Track your Goals

Tracking your fitness activity is a great way to keep yourself motivated and see your progress in real-time! A fitness tracking watch is a great investment if you’re serious about reaching your goals and will keep you invested for longer.

The Fitbit Versa 2. Image: fitbit.com

A FitBit is a worthwhile investment for keeping track of your goals. Depending on which style you opt for will determine the price, but overall they are incredibly affordable! Your Fitbit links to a handy downloadable app where you can see results from your phone as well as track your calories and more. Argos, Curry’s and John Lewis all have great deals on all models of the Fitbit Watch.

If you’re looking for something a little more universal, you may wish to invest in an Apple Watch. The Apple Watch isn’t restricted to just fitness technology but does pack some excellent features for tracking your fitness goals. While this may be more pricey, there are many other perks to the Apple Watch if you’re an iPhone owner.

There are also some great, free Apps out there which can help you keep track of your goals:

MyFitnessPal is probably one of the most popular apps as it’s easy to use and fantastic for logging your food diary, exercise regime and counting calories.

Lose it! Has also gained increasing popularity for its calorie counting technology.

One You Couch to 5k App is a 9-week challenge to get even the most inexperienced runner completing 5k in just 9 short weeks. Five virtual coaches will guide you through the nine weeks with tips, hints and motivational advice.

Will you be heading back to the gym?

We understand that for many people the gym is not just a place to lose weight or reach their fitness goals, but it’s also a place for escapism and socialising. If this is the case for you, but you’re tired of paying an extortionate amount for your membership, you may want to think about taking out a more affordable plan! Or alternatively, start working out from home with friends.

There are plenty of inexpensive ways to get fit that can in most cases be completely cost-free.

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