I pay $175 a month at my boxing and Muay Thai kickboxing gym. I am almost embarrassed to write that, mostly because I know that it is probably 5-6 times what most people pay, and that’s among the people who pay gym dues at all. That being said, I am very resistant to cancelling my membership. I get a lot of enjoyment and value out of the training and it is also a social outlet for me.
However, as I am no longer competing, it is very difficult to justify paying that much money every month. Let’s take a deeper look:
What do I get out of it?
Excellent physical conditioning, mental toughness, confidence, friends, discipline and drive. When I am training consistently, everything in my life goes more smoothly. Stoicism is probably the single philosophy that I most closely identify with, and combat training seems to help develop this better than anything else I have tried. As they say, "punish the body to perfect the soul."
What free(ish) options exist?
Free or cheaper activities that I could do include running, weight lifting, and a variety of other hobbies and sports. I could also purchase heavy bag and speed bag equipment and just train at home. There would be a large sunk cost up front, but this would pay for itself within a few months.
Are any of these options a suitable replacement?
No. While I enjoy running, it is not a passion for me. Olympic-style weight lifting used to be something I got a lot of joy and challenge from, but it is no longer something I want to do regularly. While I could some use out of home equipment for boxing, it really is not the same. If you’re not sparring, you’re really not training, and you won’t be able to improve. Without the negative reinforcement of getting punched in the face, I would pick up bad habits and my skills would decline.
Are there any other possibilities?
Possibly. The gym focuses primarily on Muay Thai kickboxing, but they also have people interested in western boxing. While I am fairly new to kickboxing, I am not to boxing. As the gym is moving to a new and bigger location in January, they plan to offer a lot more classes in all disciplines. It is possible that I could exchange my coaching a few classes in return for a free membership.
If I could get rid of the expense of my gym membership while still being able to train there, it would be the best of both worlds. I will immediately get in touch with the head coach to see if he has any interest in this arrangement. If he does, problem solved. If he doesn’t, then I will have to revisit this and see if I can continue to afford what is a large monthly expense.