Money-Saving Exercise Hacks To Stay Fit This Summer

Back in the dark ages, the ways we could workout were limited to:

  • a tape at home (i.e. Abs of Steel or Richard Simmons)
  • a treadmill or elliptical
  • a group class at a big box gym or community center
  • solo running

For good or bad, those days are over.

We still have what we had before but now we also have boutique studios, streaming services for your laptop or tablet, costly indoor cycle machines with monitors connected to real classes and workout apps.

Technology has influenced how we exercise.

Now with the $40 boutique fitness class craze concepts like SuperSoul – we’re forced to elbow out others to get our zen on with a better view of the instructor in a dark room.

Whether it be signing up online at 12:00 EST on a Monday to get the “good teacher”, to using an app to get a great workout while at an abysmal hotel gym, or streaming a 30-minute cardio party on your laptop at your Mother in Law’s, exercise classes and programs are more accessible than ever.

Does having all of these exercise options to workout help or hurt our wallets?

What exercise options are out there to keep our abs tight and bank balances high this summer?

Big box gyms

Due to all the competition nowadays, big box gyms have lowered their prices considerably.

However, they still require a long-term commitment but a lot of them have some great perks and luxury amenities, like Equinox.

For me to join the one in my area would be $158 a month. (For the record, I live outside NYC.)

Other gyms like Planet Fitness have monthly memberships for as low as $10 a month but this is just a basic membership with access to the fitness equipment.

A good in-between gym is LA Fitness, which has an $89.00 initiation fee and costs $25 a month for a single membership.

It comes down if you care about having to bring your own towel or being able to purchase Kombucha in the boutique on your way out.

If you choose a big box gym, NEGOTIATE!

You do not have to take the first offer they give you.

Especially at the end of the month, quarter or year.

The sales people have quotas and they have the ability to waive certain unnecessary charges such as initiation fee if you are willing to pay up front or sign an open ended contract. Just ask.

In addition, TRY BEFORE YOU BUY.

Call up the sales office, tell them you have heard good things, but you want to try out the facility before you commit. Most gyms will give you a day pass if not a 3 or 5-day pass.

Do not abuse this, and I recommend only doing it if you are genuinely interested in the specific facility. It is definitely bad Karma to take advantage of this and leapfrog from gym to gym.

If you do not like it at the end of the trial period, tell the salesperson. 9 times out of 10 they will reach out to you and give you a better offer in a few weeks to you back. Again, do not abuse it but keep it mind if your hesitations are genuine.

Exercise equipment

Having your own exercise equipment is still convenient, but ONLY if you will use it.

I repeat ONLY if you will use it.

Do not get a PreCor just because America’s so-called toughest trainer is all over your television in between segments of The Handmaid’s Tale.

If you are the type of exerciser who likes leaving the house, seeing your gym friends and have the camaraderie of a group class, it makes absolutely no sense to invest in a treadmill.

However, if you will use it then get a great one.

A friend of mine is a single working mom and when her kids were little, she bought a good quality treadmill and would train for marathons in her basement while watching General Hospital off of her DVR.

I didn’t understand how she didn’t fall asleep while running from boredom, but she ended up getting in her runs while her girls were sleeping. Craiglist has great partially used exercise equipment for affordable prices.

Streaming and apps

Programs like Beachbody, which includes the infamous P90x, have countless workouts that you can try in the comfort of your own home.

There is tons of variety and the videos can be easily streamed.

I have done them and they are intense—you’ll definitely get a good workout.

At $39.00 for a 3-month trial, it’s pretty inexpensive.

Apps like Aaptiv are easy to download on your smartphone. You can get a workout running or on the elliptical based upon the amount of time you have, intensity and even which instructors you like.

I have some free Aaptiv promo codes- Hit me up on Instagram, and I will send them to you.

Exercise equipment and streaming combo

Peloton has all the benefits of working out at home— convenience and privacy with a quality boutique cycle instructor live streaming right from your spare bedroom.

I cannot personally vouch for these, but I have friends thatlove them. Repeat LOVE them.

The bike starts at $1995.00, financing is available and the monthly stream rate starts at $39.00.


Classpass is an amazing concept!

Basically, you can try a bunch of boutique exercise classes in your area at a fraction of the price.

It is the best of both worlds, however, the amazing deals that were available when Classpass first got started a few years ago, are not exactly what they once were.

Many of the smaller boutique studio owners got into trouble with these financial models as participants were jumping from studio to studio and never paying full price.

Not saying you should commit to paying more, I’m just giving you the full picture as to why not as many boutiques aren’t participating as once were.

The good thing about Classpass it gets the exercise dabbler to try hot yoga or cardio kickboxing for a month, not so much for an avid HIIT (high-intensity interval training) lover.

However, the sticker shock can be huge from the Classpass rate to the regular since the owner took such a financial hit with Classpass. For me, to get a month’s pass for 10 classes would be $135.00.

Boutique studios

Last but not least, boutique studios.

All are not created equal, nor is their financial model.

The main difference with boutique studios is they typically offer only one type of exercise, which works well in high-density population areas such as Chicago or Miami, however by definition, they are more expensive due to the niche product.

Some of the boutiques such as Flywheel and SLT have become small-ish chains and do sell packages based on bulk or even have student rates.

However, if we use the 4 times a week model at $36.00, this habit will be the about the same as a month at Equinox.

If you want to try a class, most have free or inexpensive rates for first-time attendees. At SLT it is $20.00.

Also, buying a package in the summer months can be advantageous as class numbers are going down so most studios offer specials. If you want to go this route, it will involve downloading their app, having to sign up a certain time and being part of the cult, errr I meant group. The teachers tend to be better

The teachers tend to be better since, in the instructor food chain, boutique studios are at the top.

In addition, be prepared for a very different climate once Labor Day hits! The regulars mean business.

As a workout veteran, I advocate doing whatever you will commit to.

If you will go to Flywheel, bust your butt and see results, then it is worth it.

However, if you will go to a cycle class at NYSC and be just as happy, it is no brainer- KEEP YOUR MONEY.

Now you can make an informed financial decision to choose the exercise option that works best for your body and budget!

In the immortal words of Nike “Just Do It.”



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