Frugal Ways For Me to Stay Fit

22 Aug

I let my gym membership expire last week.  It wasn’t a monthly charge.  Rather, I had bought a prepaid 2-year membership for 24-Hour Fitness through Costco, and the term had run out.  When I bought it, the price was $299.99, so while the initial cost was a doozy, it amortized out to $12.50 per month instead of the $30 you would pay if billed monthly.

I let it expire because they had upgraded 4 out of the 6 gyms in my area to Supersport, which therefore rendered my membership ineligible to go to those branches unless I paid more.  Cost to upgrade would be $40 per month, so you can bet that I won’t be signing up for that.

Staying healthy can cost money, though it’s better in the long run than paying for doctor’s bills and prescriptions.  There are gyms in Los Angeles that can easily cost $140 per month or more  So, now that I’m a woman without a  gym, here are some frugal things I’m doing for exercise:

Walking.  Luckily, I live in a residential neighborhood without too much traffic and where you see people walking their dogs every 50 feet.  The sun currently doesn’t set until about 7:30, and there’s enough foot traffic that I feel safe.  I can go hiking in the Hollywood Hills on weekends with friends too, but I usually end up whining because it gets too hot.  I know myself.

Exercise DVDs.  I have a few, most involving dancing.  I always say it’s the easiest way to exercise, because it’s not boring like being on a treadmill.  I used to salsa dance intensively, so I have a couple involving Latin dance that were gifts.  The covers can be cheesy, but they’re effective.  I also have a cool DVD with the New York City Ballet that I scored at the library during one of their used sales for $1.  Plays perfectly.

Home exercise equipment.  I do have a stability ball, though it’s yet to be inflated because I was using the ones at the gym.  God knows there’s enough free videos on YouTube if I run out of exercises.  I also have free weights (from Target) and a resistance band (was in a party gift bag), both of which I will use more consistently.

The Bar Method.  It’s a workout combining ballet, yoga and pilates, and it’s definitely become a craze in the past 2 years, with competitors like Pop Physique, Cardio Barre and Physique 57 popping up all over the country.  I’ve been doing the Bar Method on and off for 5 years, but have never bought any at the regular price of $22 (Youch! When I started, it was $20.) per class.  Every December they have a holiday sale:  buy 5 classes, get the 6th one free.  You can buy up to 36 classes and they don’t expire for a year.  So, if I plan to buy in advance for the year, I get the price down to $13.33 per class.

Bar Method class with the amazing Marnie Alton.
Photo credit: G.O. Parsons.

Zumba.  I’m doing this class on Saturday mornings with some friends of mine.  One of them just found it on Yelp.  It’s only $6 per class, or you can get a punch card of 10 classes for $50.  The next cheapest I’ve seen around here is at least $12 per class.

Elliptifit.  The thing that I will miss the most about the gym is the elliptical, because I got my cardio done and still worked my core and arms.  Daily Candy recently ran a deal for Elliptifit.  I got 6 classes for $55 ($9.17 per class), and it doesn’t expire until January.

By no means am I going to be doing all these things every week.  But I think I’ve got enough exercise options that I won’t get bored.  And of course, let it be known that for all of these workouts, I score free street parking.

What do you do to get some exercise without breaking the bank?

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9 Responses to “Frugal Ways For Me to Stay Fit”

  1. nikkiana August 22, 2012 at 6:55 PM #

    This very subject is one of the current banes to my existence. I’m one of those people who kinda doesn’t like to exercise and will refuse to do it and sit on my butt and drink soda pop all day if I’m left to my own devices. I thrive when I’m taking classes. But the whole thing gets expensive SO quickly! I mostly am doing yoga these days, and the studio I go to has a lot of different options… To buy a single class is $18, but they’ve got a couple of package options to buy 4, 6, 10 or 20 classes at once. I usually end up buying the 6 for $96 ($16 a class) because that’s usually how much money I have to spend at a given time… but it would be better if I’d buy one of the bigger packages. Plus, they have unlimited options for one month, six months or a year… but I don’t go often enough in a month to really merit buying an unlimited package yet.

    • Frugal Flip August 22, 2012 at 8:47 PM #

      I don’t really like exercise either (except for dancing), but I do feel better when I do it. Having the stimulus of a class does help a lot! And agreed, I don’t have the schedule to warrant buying unlimited classes either.

  2. Asianmommy August 22, 2012 at 7:49 PM #

    Do you have a bike? If the weather is nice, biking can be a lot of fun.

    • Frugal Flip August 22, 2012 at 8:43 PM #

      I haven’t had a bike in years, but I did love it when I had one! The drivers here are too clueless to really do it safely, and there’s not too many neighborhoods with designated bike lanes.

  3. Mitch Jacobson (@mitchisagirl) August 28, 2012 at 2:45 PM #

    I’d like to chime in here with a few suggestions of my own!

    For the Los Angeles area, there are several smaller chain and privately-owned gyms that frequently offer inexpensive month-to-month and year-long memberships. World Gym and the Burbank Athletic Club are just two examples. Both offer $10 – $15 monthly membership deals at various times of the year. I’ve also had success negotiating even betters deals by offering to pay for a year or longer in advance in cash.

    It takes a little legwork (so-to-speak), but finding a reasonably-priced gym to work out in is possible – even in L.A. Search online for gyms in your area, speak to a manager in person or over the phone, and ask about current deals. Then, offer a better one.

    • Frugal Flip August 30, 2012 at 2:18 PM #

      I just checked out the World Gym locations; they and Burbank AC are too far for me to go consistently. I’d burn up the savings in gas and time. Boo. One of the good things about 24HF is that they were on the way home from work. I’ll have to keep a look out for a small chain more local to me.

  4. ElfinOreilles September 13, 2012 at 9:28 AM #

    As a Physique 57 fan, just wanted to let you and your frugal fans know — they now have a new client $110 first month, unlimited classes offer! Ridiculously cheap if you can make it in 2-3 times a week. If you make it more, well, it just gets stupid cheap 🙂

  5. Canadianbudgetbinder September 14, 2012 at 9:52 AM #

    I go to the gym with my mates everyday so I certainly make good use of the gym. I also go for a run almost every day to the gym and back and that’s my free cardio for the day. Sometimes the easiest forms of getting fit are right under our noses and don’t cost a thing,

    • Frugal Flip September 16, 2012 at 12:12 PM #

      You have way more discipline than I do – and it definitely helps to go with a friend. Guess I’m off to do a fitness DVD now…

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