But, as Eyewitness News discovered in Wake County, some businesses are making offers customers can't refuse.
"We're actually giving away $250 gas card today," Planet Fitness Owner C.J. Bouchard said. "This is kind of unique for us."
A gas giveaway --a tactic Planet Fitness in Knightdale is using to pack a new gym as people surrender the battle of the budging midsection.
"We're seeing people that are actually exercising at home or running outside, doing things that don't cost them money," Bouchard said.
Bouchard is offering $10 memberships this week with a dollar down and no contract.
"They've come into us now and they've said that they're tired of being in a long-term contract or commitment and they come in and they join," Bouchard said.
According to the International Health Racquet and Sports Association this is only part of a national trend that has gym memberships down for the first time in more than a decade.
Other body firming services have fallen off too, trips to the day spa, including facials and massages.
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery says cosmetic procedures are down some 30 percent.
Deborah Kliesch is sticking with her $40 a month Raleigh Weight Watchers program for reasons she says money can't buy.
"It's more important for you to be healthy than to worry about the money, because this is your life," Kliesch said. "I've done pretty good, people complimenting me and that's really nice."