If your resolution for 2011 is to stay in shape but also save money by dropping your gym membership, a recent Patient Money column, “Burning Calories, but Not a Hole in Your Wallet,” offered some advice to help you achieve those goals.
Here were the main tips: consider daily, weekly or monthly rates at local no-frills gyms, find a group to work out with outside, try a yoga class and opt for DVD or online instruction. The piece, however, didn’t mention some other tactics I’ve learned from personal experience and from other bloggers that I thought were worth highlighting as the fitness season kicks into high gear.
Like the people quoted in the column, I recently dropped my expensive gym membership.
Instead, I’ve adopted a number of the working-out-for-less techniques recommended in the article. For instance, I often go running or walking outside, which is free. If I want to work out on a machine, I pay a low rate to use a basic no-frills gym in my neighborhood just for a day. In addition, when I want to take a spinning class, I pay just for the class at another local gym.
Still, what has really helped me truly work out as much as I did when I belonged to a gym but for a fraction of a cost is a tactic I’ve mentioned in previous posts: the Exercise TV channel.
If your cable provider offers this free on-demand channel, you can take a slew of free classes right in your living room. I take everything from Jillian Michael’s cardio and strength classes to yoga sessions. The classes are generally the same as, or just slightly shorter than, DVD versions that the instructors must be hoping watchers will buy. (I must admit, I have bought a couple.) My husband and I also just bought Apple TV and I’m looking forward to seeing if I can get fitness classes through it.
As for other tactics that I thought were worth highlighting again, I wrote last March about a blogger with this secret to working out for less: use free daily and weekly passes from different gyms around New York City. She just finished an entire year of working out using this strategy.
Another idea is to set up your own home gym by buying second-hand gym equipment from Craigslist or from a gym upgrading its equipment. Finally, instead of paying for a gym membership, you can just pay to see a personal trainer, which can cost the same or less than a gym membership and may make you more likely to stick to your fitness goals.
Do you think a gym membership is worth it? Why or why not? What’s your best tactic for working out for less?