Fitness for Less: Running 30-Day Challenge

I used to run competitively in high school — sort of. Running was something I was good at outside of schoolwork. I suited up and bought my first “serious”: ankle weights. However, I got chosen only as the substitute player for school intramurals. The main player never got sick so I never got to compete. Still, I was a lean, mean, running machine.

In college, I ran for hours on the treadmill at the local gym, paying about P1,500 monthly. This went on for about 4 months, till I got my target waistline. I promised myself I’d run instead with the running club around the school football field. What happened? I couldn’t muster the energy to get up for the 5 AM run.

Fast forward to the present. I’m giving running another shot, with a more concrete finish line of running the 5K. La Salle Cares Foundation will be holding a charity run on July 13 at The Fort. It’s the push to my constant delaying for working out because I don’t have budget allocated to any gym memberships.

Top 6 Reasons Not to Sign Up for (Franchise) Gym Memberships

1. One-year contract. I’ve read countless horror stories of the consequences of pre-termination clauses that the sales agents don’t bother to explain. Scour forums or craigslist and you’ll find members looking to transfer their contracts. I thought I might be able to save if I get a secondhand contract but figured the savings was negligible and I won’t have a ‘friendly’ sales agent at the gym.

2. Required auto-charge on your credit card. This builds up on #1. If I decide to change gyms or go abroad or get sick in the middle of the year, that photocopy of my credit card granting the gym authority to charge it won’t make me a happy health human being. The realities of ‘freezing’ accounts or pre-terminating or transferring are too troublesome to ignore. Since requests to refund or to cancel are futile for a lot of Fitness First members, they have to cancel their credit card. Auto-charging utilities or telephone bills are convenient, saving me the trip to the payment center, but auto-charging for dues to use the gym which I always go to anyway? No.

3. Confined to gym operating hours. Eclipse Gym is 24/7 (1 of the 2 gyms I’d consider paying for) but the other big franchises (Golds Gym, Fitness First, Slimmers World) are not open early enough, not open late enough.

4. Trainors tend to have more to gain by upselling. Thus, you can’t always expect free expert training. I was lucky to have Joel at my college gym, Super Sharp; he was helpful to all the gym-goers and he regularly updated my program. At the bigger gyms, you basically fend for yourself if you don’t upgrade to personal training.

5. Pressure to suit up. Fancier gyms tend to attract fancier people. One reason I kept putting off going to the gym was because I have mostly no-name workout wear. Try walking into a fancy gym in no-name wear and no iPod, you’ll just feel so bare. Keeping up with the Joneses syndrome would hit you faster than pulling up 2.5lb dumbbells.
I got jogging pants for under P100 at Harrison Plaza (or Plaza Fair). But I do have to buy branded sometimes: Nike Women for sports bra and Speedo for swimsuits.

6. High rental fees. After paying joining fees, admin fees, monthly dues, and a plethora of gym fees — you spend more without any sense of ownership of equipment nor or your time. My boyfriend JP bought two dumbbells for home workouts. Consider the benefits of setting up a home gym.

The Running Challenge

The Goal: Run the 5K (3 miles) on July 13 La Salle Run; August 10 FEATI Fun Run. Be ready to participate for future running events.

The Plan: Run 2 to 3 miles everyday for 30 days. Refer to Beginner Training Program for the 5K.

The Perks

  • I don’t know exactly why but I’m addicted to running on the treadmill. Running on concrete is a whole other matter.
  • Extra push to get into the habit of rising early.
  • If I’m bored or if it rains, I can always alternate with swimming at the Olympic-sized pool at DLSU Sports Complex. Cost P500 annual membership dues.
  • Leaner, healthier, me.
  • The clincher: No gym fees paid to run the smog-laden streets of Makatii. P3,000 better reinvested into business.

Thanks to my boyfriend JP for gifting me with running shoes. I wish I can gift him with running gear too.

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