My wife and I joined a commercial gym close to our home.
The gym was not one of the big chains but was locally owned by a young couple. It had Hammer Strength weight machines (awesome) and Life Fitness cardio equipment (top notch). The free weight area was spacious, stocked with rubber coated Olympic plates, but with only one power rack.
The gym didn’t have a pool, but had a small gymnasium where cardio classes were held. Upstairs, there were tanning beds and a therapeutic massage area. When we signed up, we were told that they were limiting membership to 500 members to avoid overcrowding. Great, we thought. However, I found out later that their membership was between 750 and 1000 members, and the gym got really crowded late in the afternoon and after work. And, it seemed as if you were working out on top of one another.
The gym opened at 5 a.m. on weekdays, and our schedule allowed us to work out from 5-6 a.m., so we would get up at 4:30 a.m., have a small breakfast and make it to the gym by 5 a.m. We would go three to four days during the week, and usually once on either Saturday or Sunday morning around 8 a.m. This was surprisingly easy to do, for a while.
The management hired someone to open the gym at 5 a.m. and man the front desk.
I assume they only paid minimum wage, so whomever they hired would be up pretty early for little pay. Not a great job, but easy to do nevertheless.
I pulled into the parking lot at 4:50 a.m. one morning and the gym was dark. Not a big deal, I thought, I’ve beaten the employee here before. So I waited 10 minutes, 20 minutes, and after 30 minutes I left, quite pissed off. The gym didn’t open until one of the personal trainers showed up at around 7 a.m., I found out later.
The following day the manager profusely apologized because the employee never showed up, and just up and quit! “It will never happen again,” he promised. Guess what happened the following month? Another employee didn’t show up to open the gym at 5 a.m.! The following month, it happened yet again! Three times I was left waiting in the parking lot. Not only did I get up early, I missed my workout as well. AND they lied to me about the number of memberships they had sold.
We were paying the couple rate of $59 per month, and we were members for two years already. So one evening I sat down and figured out exactly what going to a gym actually cost us so far:
$59 per month for 24 months: $1416
The gym was a 3.3-mile drive, round trip: 6.6 miles. We drove there five days per week: 6.6 miles x 5 = 33 miles per week for two years less a two-week vacation = 100 weeks x 33 miles =3300 miles! (Imagine how much this cost us in gas!) Using the IRS’s (July 2008) standard mileage rate of.585 cents: 3300 x.585 = $1930.50