While there are many people who don’t go to the gym for one reason or another, there are others who couldn’t imagine their life without the gym.

If you go the gym, you expect certain things: treadmills and ellipticals, cold water fountains and cold air conditioning, classes that are both challenging and innovative.

You may also expect group motivation, accountability and camaraderie.

I have found there are additional, unexpected intangible benefits to belonging to a gym:


I love my gym family. They are strong women who “get me”. We come from all walks of life, all religions, all generations, and all backgrounds – yet we find commonality with each other.

This illustration is simply to show that people plunk their money down for a gym membership month after month for more than just access to treadmills. As with anything you pay for in life, you want to feel it’s worth the cost.

Perceived value is different than the issue of cost: here, we have people who are willing and able to pay for a gym or personal trainer. But from there, it’s on the gym and/or trainer to make sure they continue to earn that money.

The Issue:

People want to feel like they’re making a good investment with their money. This is even more true when you’re talking about a higher expense like a personal trainer.

My clients expect a higher level of service when they come to me. And why shouldn’t they?

With my clients, I offer nutritional counseling and have even created meal plans for them. I monitor their fitness on a weekly basis and keep track of their progress. I design unique workouts that are custom just for them based on their current fitness level and the level to which I think I can push them. They deserve all of this extra attention because of what they’re paying me and I want to make sure I earn it.

As I mentioned above, there are similar expectations of a gym membership.

So how do you know if your gym or trainer isn’t up to snuff?

Suggestions for Perceived Value Not Being Met:

Taking a cue from the corporate world, conduct a cost/benefit analysis to see just what you’re getting for your money.

Cost/benefit analysis is defined as “a process by which business decisions are analyzed. The benefits of a given situation or business-related action are summed and then the costs associated with taking that action are subtracted.”

In the simplest of terms, make a list of the benefits you get from your gym or trainer. Include both tangible and intangible benefits. Write down the actual costs for each benefit, and assign a cost to the intangible benefits, as well. After all, they’re often worth the most. Then, look at what you’re paying to receive these benefits. If desired, look at what this same amount of money would get you elsewhere – other gyms or trainers. (Although the intangibles would likely go away.)

And then decide… is it worth it?

If your conclusion is that, no, the cost is not worth the benefits you’re receiving, then my first suggestion would be to air your concerns with your gym or trainer. I believe in getting grievances out in the open and offering the other party a chance to respond. After you’ve expressed your concerns and received information back from the gym or trainer, you have two options:

  1. Go
  2. Stay


It really is that simple. Sometimes those intangibles play a critical role in keeping you where you are. Or maybe the time has come to seek out a new gym or trainer.

Great! Now you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’re getting your money’s worth.

Here’s the bottom line: no gym or trainer or workout situation is going to be perfect 100% of the time. But if they’re listening to your concerns and trying to improve, that’s worth its weight in gold. And if you can list intangible benefits like friendship that cannot be replicated somewhere else? Priceless.