We all know that there are many ways that you can get in shape for free. Riding your bike outside, going for a run, or even doing a bodyweight workout at home don’t cost a thing. But these are all at-home workouts and lets face it—exercising at home doesn’t work for everyone. There are a lot of us who need to actually go someplace to work out.
Visiting a gym allows me to add variety to my workouts by using different equipment and attending different classes. In a single week I might try indoor cycling, Bodypump, yoga and Zumba. But a major downside to joining a gym or going to an exercise studio is the cost. Health club and exercise studio memberships certainly aren’t cheap, but there are definitely ways to make them more affordable (and even free!).
Here are five ways to trim some of the cost off of gym memberships and exercises classes:
Take Advantage of Trial Memberships at Gyms and Health Clubs
Many national health club chains like 24 Hour Fitness, Gold’s Gym and and Anytime Fitness offer free passes with no obligation and some can be used for an entire week! This is a great way to check out a gym before actually signing a contract (or go turbo for a week right before or after vacation). Additionally, most exercise studios that specialize in yoga, cycling, and more will comp your first class or give you a deeply discounted trial period. For example, Core Power yoga studios offer unlimited yoga for one week for new students! Also, be sure to check out the schedule at your local yoga studios: most offer at least one donation-based or free class each week.
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By Margo Donohue (aka, Brooklyn Fit Chick)
Pole dancing has grown from a few cool, off-the-beaten-track studios in LA to an increasing popular classes that can be found all over the country. And it’s no wonder why when you see the insanely fit, strong and lithe bodies of pole dance instructors and their devoted clientele. Sure, we make jokes about not wanting our daughters “on the pole” but when from a fitness-perspective this type of dance deserves a lot of respect—pole dancing can burn fat and build muscle as well as, or better than, most gym-based workouts!
Back in 2012, dancers Kyra Johannesen and Lian Tal Lebret decided to give NYC a go and launched Body & Pole after renting a space from a yoga studio to teach ten pole dancing classes per week. Over the next year and a half the demand for their classes has increased to the point that now they have a store front space right in the center of the busy Chelsea district taking up several floors, offering over 140 classes per week with some of the most gorgeous and fit instructors you will ever see in your life!
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Exercise trends typically come and go but some fitness fads have real staying power. Here are some of the most popular fitness trends from 2013 and a look at what trends we expect to see more of in 2014:
The Best of 2013
1. CrossFit: There’s little doubt that CrossFit dominated the fitness scene in 2013. The number of CrossFit gyms continued to grow exponentially and the numbers of participants registering for that CrossFit Games more than doubled. I predict that CrossFit’s popularity will continue to rise in 2014, despite its (many) critics.
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When I initially decided to join a gym about ten years ago I pretty much only ever stayed in one very small area of the building: the cardio section. I would walk in, jump on the treadmill or elliptical trainer for about 45 minutes and leave. I wasn’t really sure what to do in the weight room and found it to be pretty intimidating, so I steered clear of it altogether. But then I got bored. I decided that I wanted to start doing exercise in the form of strength training to build some muscles! And then one day, as if by fate, I noticed a flyer for a new class that the gym was offering: Les Mills Bodypump.
Bodypump is described as the original Les Mills barbell class and will sculpt, tone and strengthen your entire body, fast! The classes use a specific formula of resistance training that is referred to as “The Rep Effect.” This essentially means that the classes focus on using low weight loads and high repetition movements for effective fat burning and production of lean muscle tissue. (Or, in my own words – it’s an hour of strength training combined with cardio moves that will kick your butt and re-shape your body.)
Nervously, I decided to give Bodypump a try, and I loved it! Even though the class was nearly an hour long, it went by super quickly and I enjoyed every heart-pumping minute. I immediately became hooked and found myself faithfully attending the class three times a week. I loved it so much in fact that I eventually decided to become a certified Les Mills Bodypump instructor!
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Nike is an obvious leader in the sports industry, running the game from shoes and apparel to tech gadgets and major league sponsorships. Now they are not only dressing you in the gym, they’re meeting you there with Nike Training Club. In addition to being an app available on Google Play and Apple’s App Store, Nike Training Club, or NTC, is a group fitness class featured in a variety of universities and gyms across the US, with one of the biggest gyms being 24 Hour Fitness.
Nike’s idea for the class is amazing: Get a variety of trainers to put together a killer 45-minute routine with a variety of functional movements and athletic drills, using simple equipment to get everyone moving. Some of the tools employed are dumbbells ranging from 2 pounds up to 15 pounds, medicine balls, body weight, and common equipment used in any sports practice (e.g cones, small hurdles, and agility ladders). The instructor uses all of these elements together to come up with a unique exercise experience.
The quality of the class, while founded on Nike’s principles, will vary by trainer. Nike only wants its name to deliver the best of the best and they constantly send in representatives at random for quality control, but still, some instructors unfortunately fall under the radar.
I’ve experienced one great class where the instructor gave simple modifications to accommodate those who needed them, but were still able to work the same muscle groups targeted in the original programming. When I checked back later that week, I was greeted with new choreography to match the same high intensity I experienced the first time around.
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