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Working out on the cheap
February 10, 2011
<h2>Gym memberships and fitness classes in NYC = too expensive?
I haven’t been able to afford a gym membership since my internship at Purdue University during the summer of 2008. Well, I suppose I could afford a gym membership if I made it a top priority, but I’ve been doing my research, and gym memberships in New York City are expensive.
I fell in love with spin classes this past summer while we were still living in Monterey. I found a spin place around the corner from my new office that looks super cool (and you can reserve the bikes online!), so I was really disappointed when I found out that classes cost $30. Each. I just about peed my pants.
But I like working out and being in shape. It makes me feel good. Plus, Corner and I are registered for the Five Boro Bike Tour, and even though the ride is only 42 miles, I need to stay physically active before then if I want it to be more fun than exhausting.
So…how to do that when you don’t have $100-200/month to spend on a gym membership (or $30 for a single 45-minute spin class)?
Work-related gym discounts
You might qualify for special gym discounts based on your health insurance or place of employment. If you’re lucky enough to work in higher education, see if you are eligible for a discount at the gym(s) on campus. Since Corner works for the government, they will subsidize part of a gym membership for him.
Exercising at home.
Clearly, working out at home is always an option. Running around your neighborhood is completely free (although it’s been way too snowy/cold/icy to do that here as of late). Exercisetv.tv lets you stream free exercise videos online. I’ve also found some workout videos that you can stream instantly on Netflix.
If you can, I recommend investing in a set of weights. I know weights and other workout accessories that you can use at home take up precious space in NYC-style living conditions. We have a small set of adjustable weights at our place, and they take up considerably less space than a set of various-sized hand weights. Corner and I have also been doing the P90X Ab Ripper routine a few times a week, which requires no accessories at all.
Earlier this week, I discovered Buns of Steal — the blog of a Columbia law student who successfully worked out 5 days/week for a year without ever paying for a regular gym membership.
While gym-hopping is interesting (and do-able) in theory, I have no problem becoming a loyal customer and shelling out money to a place that meets my needs (and fits my budget). However, as I mentioned, I’ve been struggling to find affordable fitness classes or gym memberships in New York City. I’ve even been scouring deals from sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, but have yet to find something that’s both affordable and convenient (and that appeals to my interests…there seems to be a lot of belly dancing and pole dancing class deals as of late).
Also, I’m scared of trying a place and liking it so much that I get sucked into purchasing a pricey membership or class card.
What are your tips for working out on the cheap?