Here is a New York Times article that has two impressive statistics: Only 15% of Americans belong to gyms. And 45% of fitness club members quit each year. I guess I helped fill out both those facts, when I belonged and then quit. While many people are plugged in to TV’s and ipods, it’s actually the socializing and community spirit that keeps lots of members coming. And if you do the same workout all the time, without varying it or learning different moves, your body plateaus, you don’t see improved results, and you might get disheartened and stop going.

I know a couple of guys who have gone to their gyms for decades. They always talk about their buddies there they work out and talk with while exercising. I could see them and others shooting the bull and not focusing on the work out. I was always concentrating on my routine. And look at my results…I stopped.

The article also describes a new kind of a la carte gym that lets you just pay for the services you want. If you want weights and machines, why accept a larger monthly fee that lets you take zumba and yoga classes. See if you can find one in your area. It certainly sounds attractive to me, but I am stuck with just two full service health clubs within 20 miles.

Wherever you go, maybe the lesson here is to make friends at the gym and change your routine. Hire a trainer now and then and keep your body guessing what is next. However Michael Grondahl, the chief executive of Planet Fitness, recently eliminated personal training at his 406 franchises. He does not believe that he is in the motivation business. A staff trainer still offers 30-minute sessions for groups of five, but Mr. Grondahl said he does nothing to keep members coming. “I can’t keep you motivated to do something you don’t want to,” he said. Honest guy…