5 Simple Hacks That Seriously Lower My Exercise Costs

After gaining the typical freshman 15, I was determined to make health and wellness a top priority. I became conscious of the food choices I made and started regularly exercising. I saw food and exercise as energizing rather than draining, and I quickly became a wellness junkie.

Fast forward years later, and now health and wellness is a passion of mine. I love reading books on the topic and am always curious to learn more. Some books I’ve read lately that I enjoyed are Why We Get Fat, The New Health Rules, and even a fictional satire on the industry called Fitness Junkie.

In college, I had access to a full gym with free group classes and lots of local studios with reasonable prices. Now that I live in D.C., things have changed. My apartment has a small gym with a few machines, but it is about 1/8 of the size of the gym I belonged to at home this past summer. If there are more than two people there it gets cramped, but it does get the job done.

I’ve always been a fan of changing up my routine and incorporating a variety of exercises into my schedule, which is why I enjoy group classes. They break up the monotony of working out in my apartment gym while simultaneously challenging me.

I’ll admit, I was nervous about finding affordable workout classes in D.C., which thus far I’ve found to be an expensive city. When I look at classes, I try to pay under $5 a class. In special circumstances, I’ll pay up to $10 if it’s something I’ve always wanted to try or with a group of people (but this does not frequently happen). I’ve been strategic about how I approach fitness here, so I figured I’d share my tips on how to afford gym classes, memberships, etc.

1. Ask about discounts: My roommate belongs to a gym near our apartment because it has equipment better suited to her workout preferences. She was able to get a discount simply by mentioning the company she worked for. This is a major key if you are a student, too!

2. Search Groupon: Before I moved, I found a great Groupon deal for hot yoga, where it came out to under $5 a class. I bought ten classes and have about two months to use them, which means about one class per week. Going to yoga once or twice a week helps me stretch out from sitting at a desk all day while spicing up my routine.

3. Check your benefits: The company I work for offers a wellness subsidy that pays for part of any fitness-related expense. Essentially, I get a substantial discount on most fitness-related things, which is awesome!

4. Look for referral codes: If your friends go to a certain boutique or gym, ask if you can get a discount through a friends + family referral. I recently got $40 off my first Classpass month from doing this, and now have a code to give friends so we can both get a discount.

5. Try a free trial: If you are new to a studio or gym, there are usually new student specials. As soon as I moved, I started keeping a note on my phone with studio names + the special. Some of these include two weeks of unlimited yoga for $25, a week of free classes, or a three-day free trial at a gym.

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To show you what these tips look like in action, let me give you the breakdown of my fitness “plan” so far.

As I mentioned, I started off with a Groupon for hot yoga, which I have been going to one to two times a week depending on my schedule. I’ve been paying $4.60 per class with the Groupon. After being in D.C. for almost a month, I have gotten a little restless, since the studio’s class offerings and times are limited, meaning it’s the same flow almost every time I go. To make my routine more interesting, I decided to get Classpass, which I’ve wanted to try for a long time. I used a $40 off referral code (HUGE savings!) and applied my work discount, which resulted in me paying $1.50 per class, with five classes for the month. Now I’m able to do one yoga class a week and one Classpass class a week, using my apartment gym in between those.

I have eight more “first-time student” deals on the docket for when my current memberships run out, which will get me through the spring at least. I’m always checking Groupon for new deals, and hopefully, by the time I run out of things, I will find a studio I love that is affordable.

My last tip is that even if you went to a studio previously, if you haven’t been in over a year, your name has probably been deleted from the registry and you can try to go as a “new student” all over again.

I hope this is helpful and allows you to find an exercise you love to do without breaking the budget!

Hilary is a 20-something consultant who enjoys yoga, cooking, reading, painting, and adventures. She also runs her blog, H to the Second, in her free time.

Image via Unsplash

  • Claudia

    I also live in D.C. and would recommend yoga studios with volunteer programs. If you volunteer at my studio Yoga District for about 4 hours a week, you can take unlimited classes for free.

  • Wolf

    And whenever the weather and the situation allow it, incorporate fitness into your day. Walk to work. Bike to the library. Stretch for two minutes in your coffee break.

  • HL

    These are great tips, but you also don’t need to pay for classes, studio or gym membership to workout and stay in shape. Nike has a free app for running and bodyweight strength training; you can do yoga at home with a DVD; you can take up running or walking or biking. Sure there is some upfront cost to most of these things (buying a yoga DVD, running shoes, a bike, equipment for a home gym), but if you use them regularly they eventually pay for themselves and are a lot cheaper over the long run than classes and gyms.

    Nothing against against classes and gyms, they’re awesome, but if that’s not in your budget you still have a lot of options to stay fit!

  • Adriane Riddle

    I have yet to see beachbody on demand on any exercising on a budget posts. I paid $99 for a year’s subscription and there are many of the programs that don’t require any equipment.