Fun statistic: 67% of people who have gym memberships NEVER use them (2016 US data).

And those who go are overpaying. Economists at UC Berkeley conducted a 3 year study with thousands of people, and concluded this little gem: because people overestimate their future gym attendance, they actually pay more per use when bound to a membership than they would by simply paying the day drop in fee for their real attendance. Average members who DO go, by the way, typically attend twice a week.

And the same study concluded that the less an individual attended, the longer they held on to their membership.


Gyms memberships are typically sold as a way to get fit.

But for 70% of people, gym memberships are not getting them closer to even a single physical goal: they don’t go.

And even among those who go, the average user is irrationally purchasing a membership when a day pass would be more financially intelligent.


There’s a better way. And it starts with analyzing what you are actually doing today and in the past 30-60 days, and starting with a smaller commitment to behaviour change.

Because gym memberships are typically sold as a 1 year contract, and if you aren’t as active as you’d like to be, predicting your behaviour 12 months from now leads to what economists call hyperbolic optimism.

Next, consider personalized services. A study by IDEA showed that people who engaged professional fitness practitioner utilized this service for an average of a year. Aka, it’s a good way to get somewhere and stay there. It costs more per session, but it gets you to go and it gets you to keep going.

Finally, take it outside. A small Canadian study showed that women who exercised outdoors were more likely to stick to it.

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