How to Find the Right Gym or Get Fit on Your Own


What's Hot


2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

Trying to make exercise part of your daily routine? A gym may not be the answer, but if it is, find one that's a good "fit."

Getting in shape has always been one of the most popular goals, for obvious reasons: It feels good, you look better, and you save on health costs (maybe food costs too) down the road. And as a nation, we could sure use the exercise. Nearly 60 million Americans are obese, according to Fitness.gov.

Probably because they don’t know where to start, a lot of people turn to the three-letter word that’s supposed to magically cause weight loss: gym. But while a membership is guaranteed to slim down your wallet, it won’t automatically slim you down. You have to work hard to get your money’s worth.

In the video below, Money Talks News reporter Jim Robinson discusses what gyms can offer, and how to differentiate the good from the bad. Check it out, and then read on for more.

So what can a gym offer? Safety, guidance, and perhaps some motivation. But price comparisons aside, not all gyms are created equal. Let’s recap what to look for…

  1. Longevity. Find out how long potential gyms have been in business. A structure that’s proven itself is probably more reliable than a new place you’ve never heard of.
  2. Good management. You want a well-staffed gym with fitness experts who can answer your questions and make sure you’ve got a routine you can handle – that’s the one thing a home workout doesn’t offer. If you aren’t getting that attention, you’re not getting your money’s worth.
  3.  Cleanliness. A well-maintained and organized gym says a lot about how the business is run. One way to get a quick assessment is to peek in the bathroom.
  4. Trial period.  Nearly every gym offers a trial membership, say, for a week or two. Use this free period to evaluate the gym, as well as your ability to stick with it.
  5. Contract. Some memberships are annual, but with all the competition out there, there’s no reason to commit that long. Get a month-to-month contract.

Of course, the best way to save money is to skip the gym altogether. You don’t need fancy equipment to get in shape: I’ve never had a gym membership, and I lost about 30 pounds last year just by cutting back on soda and going for four-mile walks every other day. If you do want to use equipment, try to get it cheap from yard sales, classified sites like Craigslist, or second-hand shops like Play It Again Sports.

According to Health.gov, adults should get at least 2.5 hours of exercise a week. Older adults and people with health conditions should consult a doctor before establishing an exercise routine. For people who find workouts monotonous, it may be easiest to start with an activity you’re comfortable with and enjoy doing, like walking, jogging, swimming, skating, or playing a sport. But if you’re looking for more traditional exercises, here are some you can try at home…

  • Pushups. They taught these in P.E. class for a reason: It’s a full-body workout, targeting your abs, arms, back, and the front of your legs. Lie face down, and keeping your back and legs straight, lift yourself with your arms. Women, who have less muscle mass than men, may want to keep their knees bent and touching the floor.
  • Curls. This is the most common exercise for the biceps, and also part of the traditional images of “working out.” Using small weights or water bottles, hold your arms out with palms up and elbows near your body. Curl the weight up toward your shoulders without moving your elbows, then lower it.
  • Leg drops. Good for your abs and legs, this exercise involves lying flat on your back, with your arms spread wide. Slowly lift your legs upward, trying to keep a straight line from your toes to your hips.

For more exercise ideas, check out SparkPeople demos. For exercises you can do at work, check out About.com’s office chair exercises. Set up your own workout and you’ll be on the way to physical and financial fitness.

Of course, exercise is only part of the health equation; eating right is the other half. You might be interested in Eating Healthy by Eating Cheap and 10 Places to Find Cheap Antioxidants.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!

💰🗣📰

Read Next: Ask Stacy: What’s the Best Way to Borrow?

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 2,060 more deals!