Go walk around this city for the afternoon; tell me if you would've guessed that we lead the country in gym memberships. I wouldn't have thought so.
(Although, to be fair, Boston wins just about everything in this country.)
The rub here is that having a gym membership 100% doesn't reflect user-ship. The total number of members at the gym I work at is, I believe, over 2000; but we certainly don't see 2000 unique visits to the gym each month. More likely, we probably have 500-700 members that come through to exercise on a regular basis. The rest either never utilize their membership, or only come in to work out sporadically. This is, in essence, how a commercial gym makes the bulk of its money. People who sign up and never utilize the facility.
Why does this happen so much in Boston? I have a few theories. The first is that we have a LOT of large corporations with offices in the city. These large corporations, as well as smaller ones, are all jammed into a pretty small financial district. Nearly every single one of these companies offers some sort of discount on gym memberships (there are 2-3 gyms very close to this area). Employee's see it as silly to not take advantage of 60% off of a membership, so they sign up. They go once, realize the gym is packed nuts-to-butts and hate it; never go back. Conversely, I think a lot of people sign up for a gym near their home, thinking they will go work out once they get out of work.
Nope. When they get home from work, they get changed. Sit on the couch to have a snack, and doze off. Or decide that its the best time to get caught up on "So You Think You Forgot About This Asinine Celebrity But They Are Trying To Be Relevant Again By Making An Ass Of Themselves". Or, they have the best intentions of going to the gym, but their friend invited them to happy hour or to dinner, so they go to that instead. Boom, more gym memberships not being used.
My last theory is a simple one: people buy gym memberships here because the weather sucks, but they also don't use them because the weather sucks.
The weather in Boston is usually gorgeous and sunny or shitty and rainy. We don't really have a lot of gray area. On a sunny gorgeous day, Suzy will choose walking to dinner on Newbury Street with her girlfriends and doing some shopping over going to the gym. On a rainy shitty day, Suzy will say "well, damn, it's awful out...I just got home, I don't want to leave the house again!" Either way, she isn't coming in to work out.
As an amazing trainer (cough cough wink wink), I like to think I could help all of these people achieve some sort of health or fitness goal...but they have to come to the gym first!
Walk to the gym...pick up something heavy!