Find fitness results without breaking the bank
With the price of group classes starting at 20+ dollars, how can we afford great workouts while being mindful of our budget?
Spending on your health is one of the most important ways to invest your money.
That being said, does anyone else feel that it's impossible to afford the gym routine they would love to have?! I'll be the first to agree that some gyms & yoga studios are worth the price tag, but it isn't realistic to assume everyone can afford this (without starting a side hustle / jeopardizing their savings goals).
So let's chat on fitness schedules which enable us to save. For full transparency I personally try to stay around 100 bucks a month on fitness. Through two different gym "strategies", I have been able hit both my budget and fitness goals.
Finding a studio / gym / membership you love and can afford is only the start. How are you sure you're going to make it there at 6am on a rainy morning? What do you do when you feel yourself slowly showing up less and less? C.G.S. Community. Goals. Strategy.
Community. You need one. Invite your friends to come with you. Get to know your favorite instructor. These people should push you when you are in a rut, but also encourage you to take care of yourself and rest when you need it. P.S. I consistently take off a full week (when I feel burnout creeping up) and come back to my mat feeling stronger than before. Your exercise should be fun and make you happy. Share that happy with your people.
Goals. What are you working for? And what will keep you showing up? When my goal is to run 10 miles on a Saturday, I know I need to show up to strengthen my body and work in some shorter runs during the week. When I'm pushing myself to master a new arm balance, I know I need to show up to work my core and triceps (OK, and my whole body). Whether your goals are long or short term, I always find working towards something helps keep my excitement and discipline up. Take a chance, sign up for that race!
Strategy. Be mindful about your plan, especially if you are taking on an unlimited membership. Schedule (strategically) days for rest. Switch up the pace by taking a variety of classes and instructors. Work all the key muscle groups and types of muscle contractions (isometric, concentric, eccentric) throughout the week. And, of course, strengthen your heart (cardio) at least once a week. The strategy part is often easiest when doing an online program. If you prefer in person, mindfully create a plan based on your gym's offerings and the other exercises you need to be balanced week to week.
Plan #1: A studio you can afford
I found a studio which had classes that I loved, which also offered me a corporate discount based on my employer (always ask!). With the corporate discount, I was somewhere around 90 a month for an unlimited membership for group classes. In my experience, this tends to be the minimum price for a quality, in person membership.
Knowing myself, I expected that I would want to do a few extra classes at other gyms. To give myself a bit of freedom, I asked about options to lower my membership. Luckily, they had a program set up where I could work to reduce my membership cost. I ended up cleaning yoga mats for an hour and a half a week and cut over 20 bucks off my membership cost + earning a (very) little extra on the side.
In the end, just ask the question.
Plan #2: An online alternative
While I would prefer Plan #1, I've currently found myself in the position where I can't find something affordable. This is when I turn to the lovely world of apps. At-home fitness has certainly never been my favorite, but we have managed to find programs that make it enjoyable.
Of the C.G.S, the C is likely going to be the hardest one to find. While apps / programs may have an online community for you to join, I still find it best to turn to your own community. Ask a friend to keep you accountable in your goals. Maybe even sign up for one fun class each week or month together. This way you will maintain personal accountability and will be able to enjoy the benefits of group classes. Try to go to the same instructor each time, once you've found someone you love. He/She will likely encourage you to push yourself as you become a familiar face.
For yoga & strength training, I signed up for a month to month app (CorePower Yoga) and practice in my studio 3 times a month. This comes to about 80. I buffer in 20 extra to go to my local swimming pool (3 bucks per swim) to get my heart health in.
Here's the list of online programs we find ourselves coming back to:
Fit Body Guide
Don't commit to an app if you haven't tested it out. I highly recommend only signing up for month to month to give yourself the flexibility to stop at any time and change to a new plan.
Whatever your path forward, try to find a routine. Without community, goals and strategy, it's easy to get the workout blues. Recognize your progress, rest when you need it. Be grateful to your body and persistent in your practice.
Have something else that's worked for you? Share your tips below for fitness that doesn't break the bank!