One of the top New Year’s resolutions each year is related to health: losing weight or eating better. If this is on your list, should you pay for a gym membership?
Military families have access to many health resources. However, service members need to be in shape to do their job and could risk promotion or staying in the Service if they don’t meet fitness standards. Many families emulate their service member and want to be fit too.
Those military families who live near a military installation have access to gyms and workout facilities on the base. Some bases will even offer group classes, personal training sessions, and exercise groups. We were stationed at one installation that had a running club and another coordinated a mom’s stroller walking group. Generally these services are provided at no or little cost.
If you do not live near an installation or prefer to exercise off base, you may be eligible to participate in the Military OneSource Health and Wellness Coaching. The program is open to active duty service members and families. You can work with a coach to meet your fitness and nutrition goals.
Some remote families, including Guard and Reserve families, may be eligible for a free gym membership to a local YMCA. Available of funds varies from year to year, but at some locations this includes a family membership and covers the cost of child care services. This is especially helpful to families with a deployed military member.
Another option for Guard and Reserve families with a deployed military member is offered by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. Select fitness clubs and trainers around the country are offering free memberships or personal training sessions. It doesn’t get better than free, so check it out.
Ask for a Discount
Fitness clubs and gyms want your business. Ask if they are willing to give you a military discount.
Read the fine print
Before you sign a gym contract, review the contract terms. Are there cancellation fees? Will the fees be waived if you have orders to move from the area? Is it a national club with locations across the US? Can you use other facilities while on travel? Ask about all the details up front.
Deciding to purchase a gym membership is a committment. Are you committed to using what you purchase? Check out the military related resources above and if you decide to purchase a gym membership, make sure you’ll use it.
*(Confession: I do pay for a gym membership. Ask me why in the comments below.)