Quitting My Gym Membership: A Manifesto

By Molly DeFrank

I recently quit my gym membership. It was time. For crying out loud, I hadn’t worked out at the gym since February.

Of 2009. Seriously.

My last workout coincided with the revelation that I was pregnant. Morning sickness promptly introduced me to her awesome friends: afternoon sickness, evening sickness and worst-possible-timing sickness. Before I knew it, gym time was completely out of the question. My hormones were so wacky, I couldn’t even participate in light workouts like Preggo Pilates. (My schedule was already booked with Preggo Puke-a-Lotties.)

I hadn’t used my gym membership since my now 7-month old daughter resided in my uterus and was the size of a raisin. I thought I’d start frequenting the gym again after my daughter was born. But after she arrived I soon realized that carving out a few hours to run on a treadmill or spin myself into a frenzy on the stationary bike after work just isn’t practical. I’d rather burn my calories walking a mile to the market, baby in Bjorn. Or speed-strolling my little lady through the mall, hoping she’d doze off at some point so I can try on every new arrival at J. Crew.

I knew I had to put the kibosh on this checking account parasite, aka gym membership, but I just kept putting it off. It was like a lame high school relationship that you know is going nowhere, but you dread the act of cutting the cord so you just keep making excuses for why you haven’t done it yet.

To me, quitting the gym was like admitting that I had succumbed to fast food and fat pants. I may as well have waltzed in with a Big Mac in one hand and a Slurpee in the other as I explained to the personal trainers that I would just rather sit around in my fatness and be fat.

I became so worked up over the prospect of cancelling my gym membership that I played out multiple scenarios in my head of how I assumed the quitting would go down:

I’d walk up to the first personal trainer I saw. “Hi, I would like to cancel my gym membership,” I’d declare. He or she would look me up and down and reply, “Oh, honey. Are you sure?” Or maybe just laugh in my face. Either way, I’d definitely endure a walk of shame as I was escorted to a seat clearly marked “Quitter.” They would type in my account information, stopping only to give me disapproving looks.

The real life gym-quitting actually went pretty smoothly. I used the clichéd, “It’s not you, it’s me,” break-up line. The gym employee was friendly as he typed my info into the computer and asked me to sign a paper. I walked out with my dignity still intact.

In retrospect, I’m not entirely sure why I completely freaked out about quitting the gym. My incredibly fit mother-in-law told me the best way to find a workout regimen you’ll keep to is simply do something you like. And that’s what I’m doing. Fitness is important to me, but I’m realizing that not everyone can get fit and stay fit by living at the gym. Instead of running on the treadmill while Lady Gaga blares on the gym loudspeakers, now I’m pushing a stroller around my neighborhood, singing lullabies to my own little Lady Goo-Goo Gaga. I’m not taking “Sculpt Your Arms into Guns” classes, but I am constantly lifting the cutest 15 lb. weight I’ve ever seen. I’m working my workouts into my everyday life.

I don’t know if America’s obesity epidemic would be solved if everyone simply took a walk around the block with their kids, but I think it might be a good start. Parking at the far end of the Target lot, exploring local hiking trails or dancing like crazy in an attempt to evoke laughter from my baby are practical ways for me to exercise regularly and stay fit.

And the best part is, I’ve lost all of my pregnancy weight. (Not too flabby –er, shabby!)

And my checking account is officially parasite-free.

Guest blogger Molly DeFrank is deputy press secretary for Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner. She recently took on a second full-time job: motherhood. In her spare time, she watches piles of laundry take over her home. Her interests include cooking, reading and finding new ways to attach hair accessories to her 5 month old daughter’s bald-ish head.

EDITOR’s NOTE:  We said we wanted to hear from you and we meant it!  Please submit your article, press releases, tips, reviews, and/or commentary to girlsonthegrid AT gmail DOT com.  We can’t promise we’ll use it, but we’ll definitely review everything.  Thanks again Molly – can’t wait to see the next article!

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3 Comments

  1. EVD says

    Genius! Pure Genius!

  2. Camryn says

    Hilarious, Molly! You’ve inspired me to quit my gym membership in Copenhagen. It’s high time — haven’t used it in more than a year as well! Instead I jog a bit here, bike everywhere, and manage to get by. Nothing to be ashamed of! But thanks for touching on a subject so relevant to all of us, but difficult to own up to. 🙂 XO

  3. Rachel says

    So cute Molly! You have a gift. 🙂

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