They say that the best exercise program is the one that you actually do.
As a student, I am lucky to have access to a state-of-the-art gym included in the cost of tuition. However, there are times when I will need to change up my routine to encourage exercise. Sometimes I want to learn a new skill or sport. Sometimes I want to do a class with other people for extra motivation. And sometimes I am just too lazy to make it all the way to the gym.
But, not wanting to double up on my gym fees, here are some ways that I save money and still make the most of my workouts:
- Groupon/Coupon Sites: Companies that participate in Groupons hope to promote their businesses to new customers by offering great discounts. These can be a great way to try out new exercise programs with little commitment. These can be especially useful for students, whose schedules change throughout the year. At the end of the trial/ trial period, they may even offer an additional membership discount as incentive to sign up. As always, remember to read the find print and look up reviews if available.
- Personal Trainers: Having a personal trainer may seem like an extravagance only accessible by celebrities and trophy wives. However, for those of us not able to afford a full-time trainer, even doing sessions every once in a while can be extremely beneficial. Personal trainers can help you set fitness goals, introduce you to new workouts, but most importantly, they can teach you how to do workouts safely and how to make adjustments based on your physical limitations (i.e. injuries).
- Memberships: Most gyms offer a membership program that gives a discount on a per-class basis. These can be unlimited class memberships, limited class memberships, or class punch cards that expire after a certain period of time. Although an unlimited class membership tends to save the most money, it is not very useful/cost-effective for someone that already has a gym membership. However, I have seen gyms offer very sporadic type memberships, such as a 4-class-per-month membership and a 2-class-per-week membership, that are more up my alley, and still allow me to save on the single class price.
- Variety of Classes: When I consider trying out a gym, I always look at the full catalog of their classes offered. Variety of classes is always appreciated as it allows the price of membership to stretch that much further. A great example is yoga studios that offer Yin Yoga, Hatha Yoga, and Power Yoga. I can get my stretching, strengthening, and cardio in all at the same place for essentially the same price!
- Early Bird Memberships: For an even bigger discount, keep an eye out for newer programs and gyms, which often offer promotions and special rates for “founding members”. Although I’m not a fan of the culture that surrounds fad diets and fad exercise programs, I appreciate the chance to try something new for free/at a great discount. Hey, if you end up really liking it, you may be able to lock in membership at a very discounted price, just for being an early joiner.
- Online programs/YouTube videos: Sometimes you just don’t have the money or time to spend on exercise. For those times, there is a huge collection of workout videos available for free online. These cover a wide range of sports, fitness levels, and durations, and many can be done in the comfort of your own home on your own time. I don’t use these exclusively because I find the convenience makes it too easy to put off exercising. However, these come in handy during especially busy weeks, and for adding new exercises to my workout routine. Take some time to browse and find videos you like. Personally, I am a huge fan of Blogilates.
Keeping workouts fresh is a great way to find motivation to exercise as well as challenge your body in new ways. In doing so, you will become more energized and focused for the classroom, for work, and for the rest of your day.