Author Topic: Free gym or pay for a closer one?  (Read 1677 times)

35andFI

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Free gym or pay for a closer one?
« on: January 30, 2019, 03:23:44 PM »
I would like to get my fellow mustachian's opinion on a choice that I have coming up.

I am moving closer to work and my work offers a free gym membership which I have already signed up for.
I am planning on biking to and from work.
The gym is about 2.5 miles from the office if I bike (3.6 miles driving) and 5 miles from my apartment if I bike (5.3 miles driving).

Driving from my apartment to the gym and back is about 10.8 miles. Biking would be about 10.3 miles.
I estimate that my car related expenses are around $0.17/mile so going to the gym 4 days/week would cost about $32/month (10.8*4*4.35*0.17).

There is another gym that is right next door (walking distance) to my apartment.
The rates to that gym are as follows (I have successfully negotiated removing excess fees in the past but lets assume that I can't here):
Enrollment Fee: $19
Monthly Fee (including tax): $21.31
Yearly Fee: $41.58

Assuming that I am going to stay there for a year, this would essentially come out to $26.36 per month.

Option 1
I pay $32/month in car related expenses and drive to the free gym

Option 2
I pay $26.36/month for the gym next to my apartment

Option 3
I am a badass and ride my bike to the free gym and back for free

Obviously option 3 sounds the best on paper (or screen I guess...) but is it realistic to bike that much every day?
If I do bike to the free gym, I can go from home to work then directly to the gym and then back home instead of home > work > home > gym > home.

What do you guys (and ladies) think?

NathanP

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Re: Free gym or pay for a closer one?
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2019, 08:30:47 AM »
I would choose Option 2 because I would not be willing to bike or drive to the free gym.

There will be occasions where the weather is bad, or you have limited time, and the next door gym would allow for a quick workout.

PoutineLover

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Re: Free gym or pay for a closer one?
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2019, 08:43:07 AM »
The best gym is the one that you will go to. If you consider that biking that far is a workout in itself, you'll save a bit of time on cardio at the gym, at the expense of taking more time to get there. Have you calculated the difference in travel time?
I would say since you already have the free membership and you're already planning on biking to and from work anyway, you may as well try biking to the gym too. If you find that you aren't going often enough, or that the time it takes to bike is too long, you can always switch to the gym near you later, but give it a shot first.

MsPeacock

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Re: Free gym or pay for a closer one?
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2019, 11:55:21 AM »
The one next door, hands down. I find, as an avid gym goer for many years (typically 5-6 days per week) that I will not go out of my way to go to the gym, even with a strongly ingrained habit of gym-going.

GoHokies

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Re: Free gym or pay for a closer one?
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2019, 01:22:34 PM »
I've been going to the gym and lifting for 6 years straight now and I would say hands down #2.  The more convenient your gym is and the less of a hassle it is for you to and from the gym, the more likely you are to be consistent. I've joined various gyms over the years and the periods I was the least consistent were when I joined a gym that was far away from me. This is why I am a big advocate of home gyms assuming you have the space and financial ability to do so (unlikely in your case I know). If the expense was significantly higher I could be persuaded to do the biking option, but for $26/month, I think it's absolutely worth it to go to the gym you are likely to be more consistent with.

In addition, how much is your time worth to you? To me saving the whatever 30-45 minutes each workout of traveling back and forth to the other gym would be well worth $26/month.

GuitarStv

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Re: Free gym or pay for a closer one?
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2019, 01:39:48 PM »
It depends on your goal.

If you want to get into shape and lose weight, I'd bike to the gym.  5 miles is an easy 20 minute ride and by the time you get there you're already warmed up so you really only lose about 10 minutes from the workout.  Do an efficient 40-60 minute barbell session, then tag on another easy 20 minutes of cardio on the way home.  Rinse, repeat three or four times a week and you'll gain strength, endurance, burn a lot of calories, and will feel great.

If your goal is to compete in a powerlifting tournament or something, then no.  If you play another sport and are solely trying to improve your power by lifting weight, then no.  If you are motivated by spending money (some people are . . . I spent 50$ I'm damn well going to get my money's worth), then no.  If you hate cycling, and wouldn't go to the gym because of the bike ride . . . then no.

Boofinator

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Re: Free gym or pay for a closer one?
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2019, 01:49:14 PM »
I would give Option 3 a shot if you aren't so busy that a little bit more biking would overwhelm you. I've personally never worked out in a gym more than three days a week. If you hit the gym Mon, Wed, Fri, you are only adding a few miles to the daily commute on those days. As PoutineLover said, try biking to the free gym first, and if that becomes too much of a hassle you can try one of the other options.

35andFI

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Re: Free gym or pay for a closer one?
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2019, 07:07:08 PM »
I would choose Option 2 because I would not be willing to bike or drive to the free gym.

There will be occasions where the weather is bad, or you have limited time, and the next door gym would allow for a quick workout.

Thanks for the response! That is what I am leaning towards as well.

The best gym is the one that you will go to. If you consider that biking that far is a workout in itself, you'll save a bit of time on cardio at the gym, at the expense of taking more time to get there. Have you calculated the difference in travel time?
I would say since you already have the free membership and you're already planning on biking to and from work anyway, you may as well try biking to the gym too. If you find that you aren't going often enough, or that the time it takes to bike is too long, you can always switch to the gym near you later, but give it a shot first.

Well said! It would take about 25 minutes to bike to the free gym and 10 minutes to drive.
I like that idea of trying it out. Nothing to lose.

The one next door, hands down. I find, as an avid gym goer for many years (typically 5-6 days per week) that I will not go out of my way to go to the gym, even with a strongly ingrained habit of gym-going.

That is what I am afraid of. I have been lifting on and off for about 10 years now but consistently for the past 2. I donít want to lose what I have gained both physically and mentally.

I've been going to the gym and lifting for 6 years straight now and I would say hands down #2.  The more convenient your gym is and the less of a hassle it is for you to and from the gym, the more likely you are to be consistent. I've joined various gyms over the years and the periods I was the least consistent were when I joined a gym that was far away from me. This is why I am a big advocate of home gyms assuming you have the space and financial ability to do so (unlikely in your case I know). If the expense was significantly higher I could be persuaded to do the biking option, but for $26/month, I think it's absolutely worth it to go to the gym you are likely to be more consistent with.

In addition, how much is your time worth to you? To me saving the whatever 30-45 minutes each workout of traveling back and forth to the other gym would be well worth $26/month.


Good point. As far as how much my time is worth to me, Iím actively trying to fill the hours of the day with meaningful activity so I donít think that the commuting time would bother me.

It depends on your goal.

If you want to get into shape and lose weight, I'd bike to the gym.  5 miles is an easy 20 minute ride and by the time you get there you're already warmed up so you really only lose about 10 minutes from the workout.  Do an efficient 40-60 minute barbell session, then tag on another easy 20 minutes of cardio on the way home.  Rinse, repeat three or four times a week and you'll gain strength, endurance, burn a lot of calories, and will feel great.

If your goal is to compete in a powerlifting tournament or something, then no.  If you play another sport and are solely trying to improve your power by lifting weight, then no.  If you are motivated by spending money (some people are . . . I spent 50$ I'm damn well going to get my money's worth), then no.  If you hate cycling, and wouldn't go to the gym because of the bike ride . . . then no.

Thanks for your response!

My goals are to stay fit, both physically and mentally. Lifting has done wonders for my mental health.
I am overweight but am pretty muscular (5í11Ē 255lbs) and would like losing some fat but am not actively dieting.
I love riding my bike but fear that the fire inside me to consistently ride that far to the gym might burn out.

I would give Option 3 a shot if you aren't so busy that a little bit more biking would overwhelm you. I've personally never worked out in a gym more than three days a week. If you hit the gym Mon, Wed, Fri, you are only adding a few miles to the daily commute on those days. As PoutineLover said, try biking to the free gym first, and if that becomes too much of a hassle you can try one of the other options.

That sounds like a good idea. At the moment Iím not busy at all after work so time isnít the issue.

Thanks for the response!
« Last Edit: January 31, 2019, 07:26:58 PM by 35andFI »

lhamo

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Re: Free gym or pay for a closer one?
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2019, 08:58:55 PM »
I used to bike to work most days in beijing -- about 5 miles each way and it took me 30-40 minutes at a leisurely pace (so I didn't get too sweaty) depending on how I hit the lights.  It was a great way to work exercise into my day.  I recommend you try it, and the free gym, and see how it goes. 

BussoV6

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Re: Free gym or pay for a closer one?
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2019, 01:18:41 AM »
Check that the "free" gym has equivalent facilities to the one next door. It may make the decision easier if the free one is a bit crap.

35andFI

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Re: Free gym or pay for a closer one?
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2019, 04:12:34 AM »
I used to bike to work most days in beijing -- about 5 miles each way and it took me 30-40 minutes at a leisurely pace (so I didn't get too sweaty) depending on how I hit the lights.  It was a great way to work exercise into my day.  I recommend you try it, and the free gym, and see how it goes.

Thatís pretty cool! I agree that I have to at least try it.

Just have to wait for this weather to warm up. Itís 8įF this morning...

Check that the "free" gym has equivalent facilities to the one next door. It may make the decision easier if the free one is a bit crap.

The free gym is actually nicer than the paid one!

They both have what I need (basic free weights).

radram

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Re: Free gym or pay for a closer one?
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2019, 06:32:29 AM »
You say you plan to bike to work. Wasn't your original calculation to bike to work, bike home, then bike or drive to the gym? Why would you do that?

As you mentioned at the end of your OP, why wouldn't you calculate bike and drive times from work instead of home? What is the mileage for bike to work, bike to gym (or flip these 2), then bike home and how does that compared to just biking to and from work?

It looks like this plan would save you the money, and give you a few more bike miles. Looks like a win win to me.




35andFI

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Re: Free gym or pay for a closer one?
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2019, 07:54:48 AM »
You say you plan to bike to work. Wasn't your original calculation to bike to work, bike home, then bike or drive to the gym? Why would you do that?
Yes. I will be biking to work regardless of how I get to the gym.
If I were to bike to and from the gym, I could go directly from work (2.5 miles) then from the gym home (5 miles).
If I take my car, I will have to bike from work to home to get my car, then drive from home to the gym and back (10.8 total driving miles).

Quote
As you mentioned at the end of your OP, why wouldn't you calculate bike and drive times from work instead of home?
As mentioned above, I wouldn't calculate drive time from work to the gym since my car will be at home.

Quote
What is the mileage for bike to work, bike to gym (or flip these 2), then bike home and how does that compared to just biking to and from work?
Bike from home to work: 2.5 miles
Bike from work to gym: 2.5 miles
Bike from gym to home: 5 miles

Bike to and from work would be ~5 miles total.

Quote
It looks like this plan would save you the money, and give you a few more bike miles. Looks like a win win to me.
Which plan? Option 3, biking from home > work > gym > home?
Thanks for the response!

radram

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Re: Free gym or pay for a closer one?
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2019, 08:13:24 AM »
Which plan? Option 3, biking from home > work > gym > home?
Thanks for the response!

I meant "home work gym home" or "home gym work home" was the win win. I did not see option 3 as that. Option 3 only mentioned biking to the gym, but it was not clear to me that the work trip would be contained within it. You mentioned that idea after you listed your 3 options.

I agree with trying the free option, especially since the most expensive paid month will be the first one. Any chance you can try the free one for a month, and then ask for a free trial at the one near home so you can compare?

35andFI

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Re: Free gym or pay for a closer one?
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2019, 09:41:40 AM »
I meant "home work gym home" or "home gym work home" was the win win. I did not see option 3 as that. Option 3 only mentioned biking to the gym, but it was not clear to me that the work trip would be contained within it. You mentioned that idea after you listed your 3 options.

I agree with trying the free option, especially since the most expensive paid month will be the first one. Any chance you can try the free one for a month, and then ask for a free trial at the one near home so you can compare?

Gotcha.
I'll give it a try and see if I stick to it.
It's just so cold out right now that I know I'm not going to bike there until it warms up a bit.

I'm sure I can get a free trial at the paid one next door but I don't think that there's much for me to compare as far as gym equipment goes. As long as they have free weights then it'll work for me.
That being said, it's still a good idea to try it out and see if I like it before paying. Nothing to lose.

Boofinator

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Re: Free gym or pay for a closer one?
« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2019, 01:24:25 PM »
My goals are to stay fit, both physically and mentally. Lifting has done wonders for my mental health.
I am overweight but am pretty muscular (5í11Ē 255lbs) and would like losing some fat but am not actively dieting.

Regarding the bolded sentence fragment above: I really dislike the verb dieting. It implies that eating healthy is a struggle and the inverse of dieting (unhealthy eating to one degree or another) should be the norm. I believe the opposite to be true: if you find a healthy and fulfilling diet (I like the noun!), then normal eating results in healthy living nearly automatically. And instead of occasionally "dieting", you'll occasionally "eat like shit" (usually Christmas time triggers this behavior).

There are numerous healthy diets (and plenty of threads on this board discussing them), so venture out and find one you're happy with and never 'diet' again!

35andFI

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Re: Free gym or pay for a closer one?
« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2019, 04:57:34 PM »
Regarding the bolded sentence fragment above: I really dislike the verb dieting. It implies that eating healthy is a struggle and the inverse of dieting (unhealthy eating to one degree or another) should be the norm. I believe the opposite to be true: if you find a healthy and fulfilling diet (I like the noun!), then normal eating results in healthy living nearly automatically. And instead of occasionally "dieting", you'll occasionally "eat like shit" (usually Christmas time triggers this behavior).

There are numerous healthy diets (and plenty of threads on this board discussing them), so venture out and find one you're happy with and never 'diet' again!

You have just found my weakest link. I have been able to optimize most aspects of my life but my diet has always been my Achilles heal.

I think that my main problem is portion control. I can (and often do) eat a lot especially when I'm lifting regularly.

I just moved out of my parents house so I am doing all of my own grocery shopping and cooking now.
I'm hoping that will help me since I can control not buying junk food and start prepping reasonably sized dinners.

It's interesting really.
It reminds me of impulse spenders on a budget. It's easy for me to say that they don't need a budget, just don't buy stuff that you don't need.
Like diets, I wouldn't be surprised if impulse spenders eventually stopped following their budget and went back to their old ways.

Boofinator

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Re: Free gym or pay for a closer one?
« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2019, 11:45:56 AM »
Regarding the bolded sentence fragment above: I really dislike the verb dieting. It implies that eating healthy is a struggle and the inverse of dieting (unhealthy eating to one degree or another) should be the norm. I believe the opposite to be true: if you find a healthy and fulfilling diet (I like the noun!), then normal eating results in healthy living nearly automatically. And instead of occasionally "dieting", you'll occasionally "eat like shit" (usually Christmas time triggers this behavior).

There are numerous healthy diets (and plenty of threads on this board discussing them), so venture out and find one you're happy with and never 'diet' again!

You have just found my weakest link. I have been able to optimize most aspects of my life but my diet has always been my Achilles heal.

I think that my main problem is portion control. I can (and often do) eat a lot especially when I'm lifting regularly.

I just moved out of my parents house so I am doing all of my own grocery shopping and cooking now.
I'm hoping that will help me since I can control not buying junk food and start prepping reasonably sized dinners.

It's interesting really.
It reminds me of impulse spenders on a budget. It's easy for me to say that they don't need a budget, just don't buy stuff that you don't need.
Like diets, I wouldn't be surprised if impulse spenders eventually stopped following their budget and went back to their old ways.

I tend to eat a ton of food as well. If it is healthy food and I exercise regularly, there really isn't any trouble keeping a healthy weight.

To venture back into my past a few years, I used to be one of the hardcore believers of it's not what you eat, but how much you eat and how much you exercise. Well, at some point I started to get fat, so upped my exercise exponentially to maintain weight (and when I didn't exercise I got fat quickly). At some point I decided to try MMM's diet strategy, and have been hooked ever since.

Here's the beauty of the diet: You get to eat as much as you want in the form of vegetables and meat. I tend to eat mostly vegetables, and I like some meat on a daily basis. Fruit is an occasional snack, but tastes absolutely delicious because your taste buds aren't ruined by the cornucopia of sugar that abounds in all of the processed food and drink everywhere. As for carbs, I like to drink them (in the form of beer or other alcoholic beverages, which are by no means healthy for me but is my vice).

Sounds like you have a big challenge going forward moving out from under your parents' meals. It is a fun time as the learning of rudimentary cooking skills will serve you for the rest of your life. Just be patient and practice cooking healthy food, and in no time you'll be cooking up gourmet meals that will fill you up and build a healthy body. Good luck.

35andFI

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Re: Free gym or pay for a closer one?
« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2019, 08:17:35 AM »
Sounds like you have a big challenge going forward moving out from under your parents' meals. It is a fun time as the learning of rudimentary cooking skills will serve you for the rest of your life. Just be patient and practice cooking healthy food, and in no time you'll be cooking up gourmet meals that will fill you up and build a healthy body. Good luck.

Thank you! It is going to take a lot of work for sure but I am excited about learning.

I meal prepped rice & beans and some hard boiled eggs. I have bananas and a protein shake that I bring to work with me.

Today was my first day biking to work and it was a success! I am going to try biking to the free gym right from work and see how it goes.

The route from my work to the gym and from the gym to home are mostly bike trails which definitely should make it easier.

35andFI

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Re: Free gym or pay for a closer one?
« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2019, 07:08:46 AM »
So I decided to give biking to/from the free gym a try.

Yesterday I rode my bike:
from home to work (easy) then
from work to the gym (easy) then
from the gym home (about 1/2 of the route was great, the other half was way too difficult on a muddy trail)

I'm going to do it again today but take a different route from the gym home.

My roommate wants to go to the free gym next door too and lift together so I'm likely going to sign up for that one anyway.

35andFI

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Re: Free gym or pay for a closer one?
« Reply #20 on: March 07, 2019, 10:39:34 AM »
UPDATE!

I have been biking to the free gym that's 5 miles away almost every day and love it! I found better routes to get there and back.
I didn't think it would make a difference to me but the quality of the free gym makes it a much nicer place to be.
The distance isn't bad at all (except coming home after leg day).

As a bonus, my roommate moved out and gave me her card to the gym next door (she paid for 3 months) so I have been going there for free on days that I don't feel like biking the 10 miles.

Once the 3 months are over (or they finally catch on that I'm not a short attractive female), I'm going to continue biking to the free gym.
That should hopefully put me into nicer weather too.

I'm a happy camper!

Thanks for your help everybody. I always appreciate the advice.