Last week, I was early to train a client for an outdoor session in Rushcutter's Bay Park, Sydney. Strolling through the infamous Kings Cross I noticed that in 2019, The Cross has done a 180, replacing beers with protein shakes and dance floors for yoga rooms.
Within 300 metres I passed a Fitness First, The PE Department, Orangetheory Fitness, Anytime Fitness, then a host of yoga, pilates, and boxing studios. I poked my head into what looked like a new bar with glowing red lights right next to F45 but, lo, it was Barry's Boot Camp.
But while gyms continue to crop up everywhere, up to two thirds of gym memberships are going unused.
So should you join a gym this winter? Or should you DIY?
The gym's favourite customer
Is actually those who don't turn up. You walk in and see fit people smiling and sweating. You hear the music. It reeks of that healthy energy you want so badly. You eagerly slap down that credit card, then one month later? Old habits become current, and the gym swipe card nestles up next to the library card. You consider yourself a "gym member". The gym considers you "pure profit".
Consider the burn
Years ago, CrossFit took circuit training into sixth gear, and that means serious calorie burn. I love it – that group training mentality with thumping tunes breeds intense movement. F45 and the rest aim to burn 500 to 800 calories and upward - that's serious fitness. But beware if you sit at a desk all day then lace up the trainers… smashing out sessions fit for pro athletes is why physios are driving around in a Merc.
Consider that "Paid-Commitment"
You have a distaste for Foxtel and mobile phone 12-month lock-in contracts, yet you persevere for such tech luxuries (necessities). With gyms, you lock yourself in because of "paid-commitment". That "If I buy it, of course I'll use it" psychology is costly if you don't go – same goes with the $800 purchase of active wear.
Consider the home gym
I paid $56. That's $1.08 per week over a year. In my Kmart shopping cart is a fitness mat ($8), skipping rope with weighted handles ($4), and two 10 kilogram hexagonal dumb bells ($44).
Three days per week, perform three to four rounds of 100 skips straight into 15 push-ups (use dumb bells as push-up handles), 15 dumbbell squat into shoulder presses, 15 sit-ups, 12 weighted lunges into a bicep curl, 10 burpees, and finish with a one minute plank. That cardio session with weights is a beauty. For three more days of exercise, jog outdoors and smash out some stairs.
Consider the economics
The newcomer to the Australian industry, Barry's Bootcamp, sells a 16-pack of classes for $450 per month – that's $5400 per year. If work or laziness wins, you're "The No Show" – miss 60 per cent of your classes, and your per class charge climbs steeply to $70.
Consider the outdoors
Sometimes I'm anti-gym, as we live in a country with more land to roam surrounded by water with a generous sun. Other times I'm pro-gym. Like today I toured Virgin Active's new joint on Bligh street in Sydney's CBD. The gym is five floors of luxury. Group training, boutique weights floor, and more luxurious space for pilates and yoga with distant Sydney Harbour Bridge views. If you've wished for Equinox in New York City to arrive on Aussie shores – this is the spot.
I was smitten. I reached for my credit card, then I remembered: It's free to run the stairs of the Sydney Opera House and do push-ups with views.
Indoors or outdoors? It's your body, your choice. Ultimately, It's about movement with intensity, and these five words: Do it. Or do not.
Passion for lifestyle change is the cornerstone for everything Michael Jarosky does. A Sydney-based personal trainer, he cajoled thousands of Executive Style readers to undertake his "Cut The BS" diet, and champions a charity weight-loss event, Droptober.
Check out the gallery up top to see the best gear to create your own home gym.