7 Signs It’s Time to Break Up With Your Gym

7 Signs It’s Time to Break Up With Your Gym


By Jillian Warren


Let’s be honest, going to the gym can be hard. The excuses often feel endless when listing the reasons why you can’t make it to your workout space to get buff:


“Today was just so long and I’m too exhausted.”


“Gas prices have sky-rocketed and I’m spending too much going back and forth to the gym.”


“I have kids and bringing them feels a lot like releasing wild animals at the zoo.”


We’ve all been there (or at least in somewhat relatable situations). Sometimes it’s not always as simple as creating a habit of sticking to a solid fitness routine that will help you make it to the gym throughout the week. Sometimes it’s the gym, not you - which is when you might want to consider breaking up with it.


But, how do you know when it’s time to say goodbye to your current work out spot and hello to pumping iron at a new gym? We’ve got a few ideas.


1. It’s Too Dirty


If you feel the need to take a shower just after entering your gym - before even breaking a sweat - then there is some next-level funk you need to escape.


It is gym 101: Equipment and machines need to be wiped down thoroughly and throughout the day to avoid unsanitary situations. If they’re being skipped the germs run amok. So many people are sweating on the floor or coughing on their machines that it’s no surprise that even contagions such as Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Influenza could be spread through gym equipment if not cleaned properly. Did you know that free weights have more bacteria (362 times more) than a toilet seat? Bleh. 


Even before the Covid pandemic, cleaning off your equipment after using it was a thing.


You want a gym to prioritize its cleanliness, but if yours likes living the pig-pen life, it’s probably time to move on to fresher waters.


2. Everything is Falling Apart


You pay a monthly fee to work out at a gym that is in tip-top shape and not one that has more “Out of Order” signs than a janky mall arcade.


It doesn’t have to have the most updated of machines or the best of equipment either, but when it starts affecting your safety, that’s when the trouble really starts. The last thing you want is to be working on your push press and have the rack fall on your head.


Stay safe my friends - one minute you’re crushing it, and the next you’re getting crushed.


3. You Feel Unmotivated


Okay. There is only so much a gym can do to get you to go, but sometimes the gym may not be offering what you need.


If you find yourself struggling to get out to the gym you may discover that you are better suited for a group class. The beauty of going to the gym means you get to exercise at your own pace, but that also means there is no one paying attention to how lax your kettlebell swings are or how sloppy your burpees look.


With group classes, there is usually more of a team vibe where everyone motivates each other to do their best.


In fact, having a group class means people expect you to be there, which makes missing class something you just don’t want to do. It may be a bit of pressure but if you need help working out, finding a group fitness class at your current gym or joining your nearest CrossFit box might be good options for you.


4. You Don’t Mesh With the Vibe


There’s definitely a vibe when you walk into most gyms. At some places, the music is blasting at 7:00 am and is full of aggressively hyper people while in other places there is a chill ambiance where everyone keeps to themselves.


Nothing is wrong with either, all that matters is that you are happy and proud to work out there. 


It’s also important that you step into a gym that makes you feel comfortable and not judged by others. Alexis Craig, a NASM-certified personal trainer, agrees that the culture of your gym can make or break your experience and make you feel like you are in a toxic environment.


She says, “You can be constantly comparing yourself to others and not taking into account that everyone has different fitness goals and abilities. If it feels more like the cafeteria in 'Mean Girls' or you are spending more time eye-rolling than foam rolling, rethink your membership."




5. You Have No Idea What You Are Doing

Do you ever go to the gym, get on an elliptical, and just stay on that for an hour before leaving?




Hey, if you want to run while watching your shows every time you go to the gym, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.


Of course, if you’re only doing that because you have no idea what else to do, then it’s time you picked up a personal trainer or found a way to get the most out of your gym membership.


CrossFit gyms are amazing for this reason and generally provide a WOD (Workout of the Day) and a strength exercise each day so you can spend your time focusing less on what you are going to do and more on your fitness goals.


6. It’s a Bit Pricey


According to a recent study, the average American adult spends a cool $155 on their health and fitness every month.


When you really break it down, it makes sense why this is true: Aside from gym memberships, there is clothing, supplements, personal trainers, meal plans, etc. that you have to take into account. But when you specifically look at just the membership fee: is your gym membership providing you with everything you need?


Does your commercial gym offer personal trainers? Do they provide extra amenities like a sauna? Do you get discounts on massages or protein powders? If you find that you just don’t get a lot for what you are paying for, then it’s alright to leave for a more inexpensive place that does fit better.


Boutique style gyms, like CrossFit or small group training are inherently expensive, but for good reasons. The equipment costs alone are crazy, space rent is a warehouse style space, and you get specialized coaching. Keeping your coaches up-to-date with the latest in certifications is not cheap but it makes sense: You want your coaches to KNOW what they're talking about and keep you safe. When you have certified coaches you're getting a unique personal training-like experience that, on a monthly basis, is more cost-effective than a commercial gym.


7. It Doesn’t Fit Your Lifestyle

Your gym should fit your lifestyle and not the other way around. For starters, how long does it take you to get to the gym?


Your travels to the gym should be easy and not an ordeal that takes a couple of bus trips and two hours out of your day to attend. It should be close enough that it’s not such a hassle otherwise you'll probably barely ever go.


Another lifestyle to take into consideration is one with children. Does your gym have a daycare set up so you can work out without having a toddler run underneath all the bodybuilders trying to PR? If not, finding a place that can take care of your needs is the top priority.


How does one truly find the right gym? Well, sometimes you have to date around a little and break up with a few before you can find the one of your dreams. Your gym should be made for you and tick all your boxes. 


You have kids: Does it give you a daycare? Check! 


You're an early bird: Is it open early? Check! 


Is it frequently being sanitized so that it's clean enough to eat off the floor? Check! (But, you probably still don’t want to eat off of a gym floor, just in case that wasn't obvious).


If your gym doesn’t seem to meet all your current requirements, find one that does! You don’t go to the gym to make people happy, this is something you do for yourself - so make it exactly what you want it to be!


Have you ever broken up with a gym before? 



1 comment

  • Ranjana: August 10, 2023

    Feeling demotivated is one of the reasons that is often overlooked but is also the most important to consider when selecting or changing the gym.

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