Gym bunny or wasted money? Australians spend over $5.4 million on gym memberships

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Millions of Australians spend too much on gym memberships, according to new research from Finder.

A Finder survey found that more than 1.2 million Australians overspend on membership, costing $5.4 million a year.

Nearly a third of gym goers (32%) spend more than $20 per session, depending on how often they train.

This includes 8% who waste $1,024 a year just to hit the gym once or not at all.

Research found that the 5% of Australians who attend once every 6 months spend the equivalent of $512 per session, while it costs $256 per session for the 7% who sweat once every 3 month.

The average weekly spend is $19.70 per week. For the average gym bunny who attends about twice a week, that works out to $8.60 per session.

Sarah Megginson, money editor at Finder, said many Australians are torn between saving money and staying fit.

“An ambitious membership may sound nice, but it hurts your pocket and doesn’t help your fitness.

“If you don’t attend regularly, you’re just throwing money away and you’re better off putting the money in a high-interest savings account or investing it.”

Data shows that women (24%) are more likely to be gym members than men (16%).

Millennials spend the most on memberships, averaging $13.90 per session, more than double what Gen X pays ($6.90 per session).

Megginson said you don’t have to spend a fortune to get in shape.

“Many gym franchises are running free trials and introductory offers, so take advantage of the ones near you.

“If you really like going to the gym, it can be a great investment. But if you keep the membership hoping that paying a weekly subscription will make you feel guilty, and you still haven’t taken the usual, ask yourself where that money could be better spent.

“Some gyms are more expensive than others, so check out what’s around and compare prices before signing up. Remember that a few dollars in savings a week can make a huge difference over a year,” she said.

Megginson said Australians could also save money by taking advantage of certain insurance policies.

“If, for example, you’re a fan of Virgin Active or Fitness First, it’s actually cheaper to take out a life insurance policy with AIA than just paying for the gym membership on your own.

“That’s because the AIA offers 50% off certain gym memberships when you take out a policy, so you end up with a gym membership and life insurance at no extra cost,” Megginson said.

How often do you go to the gym? % Cost per session*
Every day 4% $2.80
6 times a week 5% $3.30
5 times a week 8% $3.90
4 times a week 9% $4.90
3 times a week 17% $6.60
Twice a week 13% $9.90
Once a week 12% $19.70
Twice a month 4% $42.70
Once a month seven% $85.40
Once every 3 months seven% $256.10
Once every 6 months 5% $512.20
Once a year 5% $1,024.40
Never 3% $1,024.40
Source: Finder survey of 205 respondents with at least one gym membership, March 2022
*Based on average gym membership spend of $19.70 per week.
The analysis defines “overspending” as spending more than $20 per gym session.

There are many gyms, find the one that suits you best.

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