Health Tips

Health tip

Affordable fitness

Try the following tips and tricks to spice up your fitness routine without breaking your budget.

How to score an affordable gym membership

Becoming a member of a gym can be a good investment in your fitness — as long as you’re willing to go often enough to justify the membership fees. If that’s you, and you’re wondering how to make a gym membership fit in your budget, it’s worth doing your homework to get the best deal possible. Here’s where to start.

Know when to join.

Most people focus on fitness in the first few weeks of January. (New Year’s resolutions, anyone?) But at many gyms, the best deals may be found in the summertime. When the weather is nice, lots of people prefer to exercise outdoors. That means fewer signups for gyms and potential savings for you. If you don’t see an advertised sale, ask if your local gym will waive your signup fees or give you a two-for-one deal if you sign up with a friend.

Other times to consider joining: the end of the month or in December, when gyms may cut membership costs to meet monthly or yearly quotas.

Shop bargain class passes.

Discount sites like Groupon and LivingSocial regularly offer sets of fitness classes at a discounted rate for new customers. Shop discounted class passes to sample new types of classes or to take multiple local gyms for a trial run before you sign a contract.

Look for freebies.

Leverage free or reduced cost gym visits to choose a gym you’ll enjoy for the long term and/or score a sweet welcome gift when you’re ready to commit. Common types of gym freebies include:

  • Trial memberships
  • Guest/day passes (Go to a friend’s gym!)
  • Sign up and get _______ (pool access, personal training session, massage, etc.)
  • Complimentary or reduced-cost membership tier upgrade

If you don’t see what you’re looking for advertised, call and ask! Local gyms may offer freebies to earn your business if you express interest.

Check with your employer and insurance provider.

You’ve done your research, you have a list of possible gyms — but you’re looking to lower the costs of membership even further. When you’re looking for ways to trim your fitness budget, don’t overlook your employer and insurance provider. If you work for a midsize-to-large company, local gyms could offer a “preferred employer” discount you could take advantage of, so it’s worth dropping HR a line to find out. Additionally, many insurance providers have negotiated discounts with national gym chains. Call the customer service number on your insurance card to find out if you’re covered.

Making personal training fit within your budget

There are many benefits to working with a personal trainer, from help developing a customized workout regimen to learning proper form that can prevent injury or strain. If you’d like to give it a try but aren’t sure your budget has the room to spare, try these tips before you dismiss the idea. You might be surprised how affordable personal training can be!

Sign up with a friend (or group of friends).

According to Thumbtack, the 2017 average cost of personal training falls around $40/hour. (Enter your zip code in the calculator to get an average for your area.) If that’s higher than you’re comfortable with, many personal trainers offer discounted hourly rates when you share a session with other people. Use a directory like IDEA or FitnessTrainer to find trainers in your area, then contact them to ask about group rates.

Try a free or low-cost boot camp.

Boot camps are a great way to get to know experts within your local fitness community — many personal trainers lead community boot camps to meet potential customers and demonstrate their expertise. To find out about boot camps coming up in your area, search Eventbrite, discount sites like Groupon, and your city’s event calendar.

Practice on your own.

Maybe you can swing one or two sessions per week, but three would be too much for your monthly budget to absorb. That’s okay! Once you find a personal trainer you’re comfortable with, work with them to design a personalized workout you can do yourself on the days you don’t meet.

Check with your gym.

If you have a gym membership or are in the market for one, inquire about the gym’s personal training services. It’s common for gyms to offer free initial sessions or reduced-cost sessions for gym members — so don’t be afraid to ask!

Reduce unhealthy spending (and put that money toward personal training).

Want to do something good for your wallet and your health? Search your budget for opportunities to trim spending on unhealthy activities or habits. Maybe it’s your morning fast food or latte run, your weekend bar tab, or high spending on cigarettes. Try reducing that area of your budget by ⅓ or ½ and putting that money toward personal training instead. You’ll free up room in your budget, and kicking unhealthy habits could help you meet your fitness goals even sooner.


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