What to do with that gym membership you never use.

So in January of this year, in a new-year-resolution-influenced haze, you signed up for a gym.

It’s now April and you have walked through the doors of that gym exactly five times.

The guilt of that unused membership is eating a hole into your conscience, as well as your wallet. You know how stupid it is to be paying $19 a week for something that you aren’t using. You kick yourself on a daily basis and promise yourself that you’ll go every day next week.

And yet next week comes, and you still don’t go.

Honestly, I understand. I do. I’ve wasted thousands of dollars on gym memberships over the years, which is really silly considering that I don’t have all that much money to waste.

I now have a Fitness First membership that I do use several times a week, every week – but it’s taken me a long time, and a lot of gyms, to get to this point.

So if you’re a bit stuck with a waste gym membership, you need to sit down and figure out EXACTLY why you don’t use it – and figure out the solution to the problem.

Here are some solutions to some common problems.

1. You can’t get motivated

No matter what you do, you just can’t bring yourself to drag yourself to the gym. After all, it’s shifting into colder weather now, and it’s much more pleasant to sit on the couch in very loose trackpants and watch TV.

But you have to scrounge up some motivation. You have to! Try…

– Convincing a friend to join the same gym. I always arrange to go to the gym with one of my friends – and I hate bailing on her so I always end up going.

– Working out exactly how much money you’re wasting by not attending the gym, writing that number up on a big piece of paper and putting it up where you’re going to see it everyday. A friend of mine did this with her university classes and she never missed a lecture – she too confronted by the sight of that big “$82!!!!!” written out in Sharpie, hanging up on her bathroom mirror.

– Joining a program that your gym is running. Most gyms have programs or challenges that run over a period of a few weeks or months. They’re a good way to get involved in something fun and often there are excellent prizes to be won.

– Participating in every single gym class until you find one that you really love. I’m personally not much of a spin class person but I really love Zumba, barre workouts and an abs and core class called CX Abs. I’ll always drag myself to the gym for those.

2. You don’t really have time to go

Yes, you do. Well, maybe not every day – but more often than not, you should be carving out time in your day to work out. Keeping fit is both an investment in your physical and mental health and well worth the time it takes to make it happen.


Find gym classes you like and lock them into your diary like you’d lock in a specialist appointment that you’ve been waiting months for. Don’t make them the first thing you cancel when life gets a little bit busy.

No, you’re not intimidating AT ALL.

3. You’re intimidated

Yeah, some of those weird-looking weight machines can be intimidating when you’re not 100% sure what you’re doing. And they’re especially intimidating when they’re always occupied by big, burly men that closely resemble Thor.

The best thing I can suggest is setting up a personal training session with your gym so that a trainer can show you how to use the machines that are best for you to use. That way, you can approach them with confidence without caring about who might be watching you.

4. Your gym is too far away/the parking sucks/the opening hours aren’t flexible enough/it’s too crowded/they don’t play good channels on the televisions

Look, you really should have thought about all of the above before you signed up to pay the gym, every week, for 12 months. But if you did panic and sign up for something without thinking it through, there are a few things you can do.

– Look into cancellation options on your gym contract to see how you can somehow get out of your contract without paying too much. There should be at least some kind of loophole in there. Then sign yourself up to a different gym – after doing your research! – that is more suited to your needs.

– If you absolutely can’t cancel, see if you can go about transferring your contract to another person and ask around to find someone that’s keen to actually take up a contract. Share your dilemma on Facebook and ask your friends to ask their friends.

– If there is no way you are getting out of your contract – go and talk to your gym. You are, after all, a customer, and gyms are generally pretty good with trying to keep their customers happy. They might have a different gym that will suit your needs better, or they might be looking at extending their hours, and you’re an extra voice that will push them to do so.

– If they won’t do anything about it? You may just have to suck it up and rearrange some other aspects of your life so that you can go to the gym and not waste your money. Unfortunately, not everything in life is always going to be 100% ideal.


5. You’re just not a gym person

At the end of the day, not everyone is cut out for the gym. If you’re just not loving the vibe of being there, maybe you’re not a gym person. It’s good to recognise this early so you don’t waste years and heaps of money on unused memberships.

Happily for you, there are heaps of other exercise options out there, so find one that you love and stick to it. Maybe running outdoors is your passion? Or running along the beach? Or dance classes? Or stand-up paddleboarding? Or cycling? Or Michelle Bridges DVDs at home? Again, looking at options for cancelling your contract. And once you’re out, use that money to sign yourself up to something you’ll actually enjoy. And stick to it!

Do you have a gym membership that you don’t use?