4 Expensive Workouts and 7 Ways to Get Them for Less


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If you pay for a personal trainer or classes in yoga, CrossFit, or Zumba, here's a way to stretch your budget and avoid giving your wallet a workout.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle isn’t cheap.

It’s more expensive to buy fresh fruit and lean meats than it is to buy pasta and pastries, and it’s more expensive to exercise at a gym than watch TV.

But the high cost of good health is no excuse, especially since there are plenty of ways to save on today’s trendiest, and priciest, workouts.

Before we get started, check out this video: It’s called Tricks of the Trade – Fitness Clubs. Then read on to learn to save on specific routines.

Expensive ways to work out

1. Yoga

Yoga, which focuses on the spiritual, is ironically expensive. A 2012 Yoga Journal study reveals practitioners spend a collective $10.3 billion on yoga classes and products – the latter is big business by itself.

I’ve attended several yoga studios, and most of them have charged at least $15 for a single drop-in class. Sure, you can save with a package, such as one or two months of unlimited classes, but you’ll still pay up to $200. If I wanted to enjoy a year of unlimited yoga classes at the studio I currently attend, I’d have to dish out a whopping $1,200. Nothing spiritual about that. The cost ascends with yoga’s many variations, including Bikram (yoga in a 105-degree room) and Aerial (elevated from the floor).

2. CrossFit

CrossFit is a core strength and conditioning program. Many police academies and military special operations units use it, but it’s also becoming popular with the public. It’s an effective workout routine, but expensive. A single month can cost up to $200. Many CrossFit programs don’t require a hefty sign-on fee or contract, but you’re probably not going to reach the results you want in just one month, and will therefore spend hundreds, even thousands.

3. Zumba

Depending on where you attend classes, Zumba can be reasonably priced. Often, however, it isn’t. I’ve paid $10 for a single class; I’ve also found classes for $15 each. If you do Zumba just four times a month at $10 a class (which, effective as it is, isn’t enough), you’ll pay $40. At that rate, you’re paying more than you would for a regular gym membership – which could even include Zumba classes.

4. Personal training

Hiring a personal trainer will definitely get you a workout, but you’ll also put your wallet through the wringer. If you work with a trainer just four times a month at LA Fitness, you’ll pay at least $100 in addition to your regular membership. The costs can be higher if you go for a private fitness trainer.

How you can save

1. Coupon sites: I’ve scored some great deals on yoga and boot camp classes through Groupon and Living Social. Plus, this offers the opportunity to sample different studios in your area.

2. Negotiate: Talk to your studio or gym manager. If you can’t afford classes and/or memberships, many will negotiate. When I used a voucher for boot camp classes, the boot camp instructor offered me a few free classes – might work for you too.

3. Free trials: Many studios and gyms offer free or discounted trials to new students, so take advantage. Not only will you save money, you’ll try it out before committing to a long-term contract.

4. Free classes: They exist! Dig Yoga, based in Central New Jersey and Philadelphia, offers free classes at its Philadelphia location every Friday night. Many studios often host themed events, such as open houses, and use them to offer free classes and other incentives.

5. Facebook: I’ve also found simply “liking” local gym and studios’ Facebook pages or following them on Twitter allows me to find out about the latest news, offerings, and deals.

6. DVDs: While not the same experience as a gym, a DVD can give you the same workout, and you might find one for the same price as one class. (P90X, anyone?) To make it more fun, hold a real class by inviting your fitness pals over for a workout. Don’t underestimate the power of YouTube, either – you can find plenty of personal training videos there.

7. Why not the Y? Don’t forget the YMCA. They’re in 10,000 neighborhoods nationwide, and because they’re nonprofit, can often help stretch your budget along with your body. Many offer scholarships for those who qualify. Call your nearest one today and see what they’ve got going on.

Stacy Johnson

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