In 2017, I’m quitting the gym in favor of a Jane Fonda workout at home
New Year’s is upon us, and as I add “getting fit” to my list of resolutions, I’ll be calling my gym to cancel my membership.
That’s right, my resolutions to work out more, run a marathon and build Vanessa Hudgens-like abs will not include a monthly fee to use a gym that, quite frankly, I rarely frequent. Instead, I’ll be going back to 1982 when Jane Fonda first encouraged Americans to make time to workout in your own living room. It’s my 2017 social experiment, and I’m excited to try it. After all, two-thirds of Americans don’t use the gym they pay for, even if it costs an average of $58 a month, according to Statistic Brain, a website that aggregated data from sources including the Bureau of Labor Statistics and fitness research firm Club Industry.
Most New Year’s resolutions are dumped by Jan. 17, but I think there’s promise to my strategy. First, I am saving money by letting go of a monthly gym membership (even if I only pay about $27, but that’s still more than $300 a year). Second, there is now no excuse for not working out: I can plop on the floor whenever and wherever to do crunches, sit-ups and whatever else the exercise examples in my magazines, the internet and workout videos tell me to do. I may even borrow a few retro Jane Fonda workout videos from the library, because why not?
There seems to be a social pressure to have a gym membership, as if that is the only way you can show the world that you care about your body and your health. I always feel this little ping of guilt when I want to work out at home because I could be, or should be, exercising at the gym instead. But when it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day as is, adding the commute and preparation for the gym before or after work can be grueling when combined with a list of other responsibilities to attend to, no matter what established celebrities and public figures say. Also, I’m at the office five days a week, so it makes sense to use my own personal space when I can.
This isn’t to say I’m banning gyms forever, or that people who have memberships are wasting money. Truth be told, I am keeping the highly-subsidized gym membership in my office building as back up in the event my social experiment proves wrong for me or it’s more convenient some days to work out at the office instead of at home. I may try some unique (and free) workout classes throughout the year, too, but only because they’re fun, don’t require a membership to take single classes here and there and can teach me techniques to use at home.
How credit scores predict what you will buy next
For decades, FICO has used big data and mathematical algorithms to calculate people’s three-digit credit scores. Now it’s using the same technology to predict whether a consumer’s likely to buy a product in-store or click on a link online.
The key will be to have structure. That involves separating the week by exercise (legs, core, arms, etc.) and incorporating the five elements of fitness, as Kevin Steele, an exercise physiologist and vice president of 24 Hour Fitness Centers told the medical and health site WebMD: a warm-up, an aerobic workout, strength-building exercise, flexibility moves and a cool down. I already created a scrapbook binder of ripped-out magazine pages showing different exercises, so there’s a plethora of options to keep me entertained as I find what works best for me.
I’ll still run and ride my bike. Training for a marathon is expensive, given the clothing, race entry fees and physical care involved, but to actually go out on the track doesn’t cost much. Neither does hopping on my bicycle. I also know I have to be considerate of the balance between exercising and a good diet — exercising a few extra minutes does not negate any indulgences.
One of the greatest benefits of this experiment will be prioritizing exercise, and incorporating it into my everyday lifestyle. It takes 66 days to form a habit, some scientists say, and feeling confident that I can work out whenever I want, however I want will make me more likely to succeed. And who knows, maybe this will be the gateway to one day having a gym membership I actually use all the time.