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Abandoned gym memberships cost Americans $397 million each year—here’s how to keep up the habit, according to Anytime Fitness expert

January 4, 2023, 5:01 PM UTC
US consumers waste hundreds of millions of pounds every year on unused gym memberships.
Anytime Fitness UK

Every year Americans flush hundreds of millions of pounds down the drain in unused gym memberships.

The most recent data from revealed that the US public wasted $397m on abandoned enrollments – and of those who did show up, 7.4% only did so once a month or less.

And with January cited as the busiest time of the year for new members, millions of people will once again be signing up to potentially lose money.

It comes as luxury fitness brand Equinox launched its ‘We don’t speak January’ campaign, which reportedly saw new members unable to sign up on the first day of 2023.

“January is a language we don’t understand,” Equinox wrote on social media.

However, Constantinos Yiallouros, of global gym brand Anytime Fitness, has urged people to start pumping iron when they’re ready – not when they feel pressured to.

Do beware of January

The head of fitness for the UK branch of the franchise said: “There isn’t a ‘best time’ to join as everyone’s personal circumstances and health journeys are unique to them.”

He did concede joining in January can come with drawbacks: “It’s the busiest month in regard to how many people will be physically attending the gym.

“So, if you’re someone that may feel slightly anxious or have some trepidation about joining a gym or working out in front of others, you may want to ask the team at the gym what their off-peak hours are.”

Be patient

The guru at the Minnesota-based health and fitness empire added gym-goers can’t expect “instant results”, which leads many to lose motivation.

“The best advice I can give is to see a health journey as exactly that; a journey.

“You won’t reach your destination right away but by moving more and accommodating healthy changes into your lifestyle, you will start to feel better in yourself and the results will quickly follow.

Find a buddy

Another key tip is to include friends and family on your journey with you.

“As well as potentially being a workout buddy for you, they can be a real help in providing additional motivation and accountability to help you progress towards your goals,” he continued.

Don’t stick to your comfort zone

Stepping outside the box is also vital.

“What we tend to find when people join a gym is that they’ll stick to what’s comfortable for them such as a treadmill or the cross trainer as they feel overwhelmed by the range of other equipment,” Yiallouros added.

“Repeatedly doing the same exercise can not only lead to a drop in motivation but also your body becomes used to what you’re doing so your workouts aren’t as effective.”

As well as trying a range of gyms and equipment before signing on the dotted line, Yiallouros had one final piece of advice: “It’s all about trying a range of things and seeing what’s right for you but most importantly, finding something you enjoy.”

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