This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more details. January is a great month to be a health club. Gyms rake in membership fees as new clients set fitness resolutions with the greatest of intentions. January 1 starts a clean slate, and it feels good to start off with a new diet or fitness regimen.
There’s no doubt that working out is a healthy habit, but it can also be an expensive one. Especially if you overpay for a gym membership you don’t actually use! With many of you looking for ways to stay healthy and happy this year, I’m sharing 6 tips to help you work out without breaking the bank.
1. WALK, RUN, OR HIKE OUTSIDE
While not the most creative option, outdoor exercise is the perfect way to work out for free. Apps like Map My Fitness can help you find a good hiking map, running trail, or walking route in your city. You can also fit in some extra steps by taking the stairs or leaving the office for a mid-afternoon walk.
Some of my favorite mornings involve grabbing a coffee and walking around Austin’s Town Lake trail. I like to get some steps in and clear my head at the same time. If I’m feeling inquisitive, I’ll download a podcast. If I’m feeling reflective, I’ll zone out to my favorite jams. If I’m feeling social, I’ll grab a girlfriend and use the time to catch up.
2. MAKE MONEY WHILE YOU EXERCISE
I have to admit that I’m all in on the wearable technology fad. When I work out, I like to wear my Fitbit Charge 2. This device measures my steps, heart rate, and even my sleep. Unfortunately, there is one problem with fitness trackers. They aren’t cheap.
But what if your Fitbit could actually help you make money? Enter AchieveMint. This is an app that rewards you with cash for tracking your healthy activities. AchieveMint connects with a variety of food and exercise trackers such as Fitbit, Jawbone, MyFitnessPal, and Withings scales. If you’re already tracking your fitness, you might as well earn points and cash for it!
3. JOIN CLASSPASS
If group fitness classes are your thing, then ClassPass is a great option. ClassPass is a monthly membership that gives you access to hundreds of fitness studios in your city. It’s a great way to try a variety of classes without breaking the bank.
ClassPass offers a few monthly plans, and the prices vary by city. In Austin, they offer 3 classes for $30, 5 for $50, or 10 for $90. That’s $10 or less per class! If you purchase individual classes at studios, you’ll likely pay at least $25.
As if the price break wasn’t enough, my favorite part of ClassPass is that it transfers across cities. If I travel to New York to visit my BFF (I see you Jacquelyn), I can try out some new studios without paying extra.
Sign up for ClassPass with this link for $30 off your first month. If you find that it’s not your thing, no worries! You can cancel anytime.
4. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR EMPLOYER’S HEALTH BENEFITS
When you think about your health benefits, your mind goes straight to your insurance plan, right? You think about your deductible, your co-pay, and you groan about what the Urgent Care charged you for that strep test. But health benefits aren’t just about doctor visits!
Many employers and health insurance providers offer preventative health incentives. These can include discounted gym memberships, free fitness trackers, or cash back for exercising. If more people exercise today, fewer will have expensive medical issues down the road. That’s the thought process behind preventative incentives.
5. ATTEND FREE LOCAL WORKOUTS
Austin is an active city, and a variety of groups hold free outdoor workouts! These events are a great opportunity to meet new people, de-stress with a friend, or bring your colleagues along for a post-work sweat. If you’re not sure what’s available in your community, do a quick Internet search! Look for running clubs, local fitness studios, juice bars, healthy restaurants, fitness apparel stores, and even lifestyle bloggers. Many will collaborate to bring you fun, free workout activities. You just have to keep an eye out.
6. EXERCISE AT HOME
You don’t need a dedicated basement gym to get a good sweat at home. I like to keep light fitness equipment in my spare closet space. I have a yoga mat, resistance bands, light weights, a medicine ball, and a stability ball. Having these products at home motivates me to squeeze in some extra toning and ab work while I watch TV. You can also find great fitness videos on YouTube or Netflix if you need some inspiration.
But don’t forget to stretch and recover! My favorite product is the TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller. I was skeptical when the whole “trigger point therapy” thing became popular. Now, I am a total convert. I use this roller to target sensitive areas in my legs on a daily basis. And it truly works. I also carry a lacrosse ball with me every time I travel. I get bad back pain, and this helps get the knots out. It’s as effective as a massage, and it’s only $6.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Last week, I talked about setting financial resolutions for the new year. Most of us will add some health and fitness goals as well. But the two are not mutually exclusive; your budget doesn’t have to restrict your workout routine. In fact, with all of the cash you save from these tips, maybe you can even add to your rainy day fund!