One of the most common personal goals is to lose weight and hit the gym, but initiation, monthly membership and other fees can make it a bit hard to keep up and stick to your budget at the same time. According to a survey conducted by the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, one of the top reasons for quitting a gym is price. 56% of people said they’d never joined one for the same reason. And its no wonder – the average cost of a gym membership averages between $40 – $50 a month ($540 per year), and after you include additional fees, that annual figure creeps closer towards $800. This doesn’t even include boutique gyms, where clients can average $80 – $117 monthly, or between $960-$1,400 a year! Even more extreme are exercise enthusiasts where, according to a WSJ article, some individuals pay upwards of $150 – $500 a month to look and feel their very best.
To help you stick with your fitness routine, our experts at Yipit compiled the best tips to help you get more out of your fitness routine for less, no matter your style or preference.
Annual savings: $260 – $800
Group classes and personal training have finally worked their way into your living room. With online programs, it’s convenient to complete your workout routine right from home or on the road, whenever fits your schedule. Find free fitness videos on YouTube with BeFit
, tailored workout programs with iBodyFit
for just $99 / year, or even personal trainers with Fitmo
for as little as $45 / month.
Free workout apps
Annual savings: Up to $800+
Of course, the cheapest alternative to a gym is a free mobile app, and there are definitely plenty to choose from. You can build your own workout with apps like Sworkit
, run through a randomized selection for 5 minutes or go to the point of exhaustion with a WOD Deck of Cards, or use Spring to run to the steady beat of a curated running playlist.
Some Equipment Included
Annual savings: Up to $60
Many gyms offer free day-passes that allow customers to try out their facilities before making a commitment. Not only will you be scoping out whether the full gym membership would be worth the price, but finding a gym that fits your style is just as important for sticking with your new routine.
Opt for a single-location pass at a chain gym
Annual savings: Up to $60
Some larger fitness chains will provide the option of reduced membership fees for sticking with a single location versus having the luxury to enjoy all locations available. In most instances, check directly with the particular location you are interested in for the best deals.
Sign-up at the end of the month
Annual Savings: Up to $150
Early January and late summer is full of people trying to get back on the fitness bandwagon, so finding a deal could be tough. Shopping at the end of the month when gyms are looking to fill out their numbers can be a nice trick to avoiding paying full price. You may be able to score a waived initiation fee or have great perks added on, like a deal on trying a personal trainer or some swanky spa treatments.
Shop at your favorite warehouse
Annual savings: Up to $600
Know what goes great with that 58oz Goldfish carton you bought at Costco? A bulk membership to a gym. If you are a Costco or Sam’s Club member, you can take advantage of wholesale prices and find great long-term membership deals to some big-name gyms, like 24 Hour Fitness and Crunch.
Annual savings: $680
If you don’t need cushy spa services or tailored exercise classes, finding a low-cost gym can help you save hundreds. These gyms tend to be more hands off, simply providing you with no-frills equipment. Though many are regional, a few nationwide examples include Planet Fitness and The Y.
Annual savings: Up to $700
Check our your areas local recreation center for affordable alternatives to traditional gyms. For example, in New York some recreation centers offer an indoor track, weight room, fitness classes and a pool. You can enjoy all locations and facilities for $150 a year, or $100 for a year for locations without a pool.
Give Me All the Perks!
Check out daily deal sites
Annual savings: Up to $600
Sites like Groupon, LivingSocial and Gilt City regularly have gym packs and boutique classes available at reduced prices for varying lengths of time. Just be sure to check the fine print – many are only applicable to new clients.
Sign up for a class card
Annual savings: Up to $1,000+
If you are more interested in boutique fitness classes tailored to a particular practice, or enjoy trying a bunch of different workouts, consider signing up with programs like ClassPass or FitReserve. Instead of paying $20 – $40 per class on average, monthly memberships for these services can run from $80 – $250 and provide you with access to a full list of independently run boutique gyms to try out as you please.
Trade some work for more muscle
Annual savings: Depending on the studio owner, could be 50% – 100%
This may not work at the larger chains, but you may be able to trade equipment time for an offer to lend a hand at a local studio. From tidying up to managing the front desk for a few hours, there are plenty of ways to help out a small business owner in exchange for heavy discounts or a few specialty classes on the house.
And for Extra Savings…
Check your benefits
Annual savings: Up to $200
To incentivize you to stay fit and healthy, many health insurance providers will help cover the cost of membership fees at certain locations. To see if your insurance company has a program, check out Fitness Incentive
for a quick list of participating providers.
Annual savings: Up to $240
Lots of fitness locations offer discounts to large groups of employees. Check with your company; if they have a corporate discount program already set up, try and get a group of coworkers to sign up together to take advantage of a discount. Discounts could include waived initiation fees or a reduced membership fee. Just don’t forget that there’s power in numbers – the more people that you can get to join, the higher the potential discount!