Toss on a pair of sneakers and head outside. I’m a huge proponent of walking and running for fitness. It can be done throughout the entire year (as long as you dress properly), you can make it has easy or difficult a workout as you wish, and it will cost you absolutely nothing! Try other outdoor activities too, like swimming at the local lake or beach, or hiking some trails.
2) Evaluate your gym membership
If you are looking for a gym membership or have a current gym membership, evaluate the following:
- Are you happy with the facility (staff, cleanliness, etc)?
- Does it offer all the equipment you need?
- Is it crowded during the hours you’d normally be there? Are there waits for the machines you like?
- If you enjoy fitness classes, does your gym offer the types you’d like to take?
- If you like working with a personal trainer, are the rates for those services reasonable?
3) Negotiate deals
Many gyms will offer specials periodically throughout the year – January is big for New Year’s Resolutions; late spring is common for getting in shape for bathing suit season; summer is big for college student specials. If your gym is offering a great deal for new members, see if they’ll change your membership rate to match the special. Some gyms will also match specials for other local gyms if you bring it up. And even if there’s nothing advertised, don’t be afraid to ask for a negotiated rate – the worst they can say is no. I had a gym around here that I was looking at on behalf of a client. There was typically an $80 joiners fee in addition to the monthly dues, but just by asking them to waive it, they did!
4) Scan social media
Be sure to follow your favorite gyms, fitness studios, class locations, fitness instructors, race management companies, etc on social media. There are often specials on these sites that may not be advertised elsewhere. For example, there is a deal today (good through Saturday) on the Splash of Color 5K facebook page for 50% off their upcoming race in Devens, MA on August 4th.
Companies strive to engage their fan followings on these sites through giveaways as well. It never hurts to enter! Just a few weeks ago, I scored a free zumba class at Fierce Love Fitness for myself and a friend through a facebook giveaway. Last year, my husband won an intensive triathlon swim clinic. Keep your eyes peeled!
5) Check out daily deal sites
Almost every day, I’m seeing promotions on sites like Groupon, Living Social, Gilt City, or Zozi for deals on fitness related activities or gear. One of the great things about this is you can find new, unique activities to test out without making a long term commitment. You might try zumba, piloxing, cross fit – there are tons of opportunities out there. I just got a great deal on a new yoga studio, Universal Power Yoga, in Norwood on Groupon (and I've been loving the classes there!). There’s also frequently race entries on these sites too – I’ve seen plenty of obstacle course races and other fun runs recently.
6) Tackle workouts at home
Think you can’t workout at home? Think again! Jumping jacks, lunges, squats, lifting weights (use household items, like jugs of laundry detergent), dancing to music, push-ups, crunches, and more can all be done without stepping foot out the door. And all for free! Check your television programming or the internet too – some channels and websites offer free exercise videos that you can follow along. The library often offers tons of workout DVDs that you can check out for free, or you can also always invest in a single workout DVD or set of DVDs to use at home.
7) Look locally
Look into your local community for free fitness offerings. Many running stores offer free group running clubs, and stores like Lululemon and Athleta often have free yoga classes and running groups as well.
Community organizations may host free group fitness activities, especially during the summer. For example, if you’re local, the city of Boston has tons of great opportunities including:
- Free pilates, bootcamp, and yoga at Norman B. Leventhal Park, Monday-Friday, morning/evening classes
- Free yoga at the Frog Pond on Tuesday evenings
- Free fitness activities, including walking clubs and zumba, on the Esplanade Monday-Friday
8) Love racing? Consider an Active Advantage membership.
This requires some funds up front ($64.95 per year), but if you are smart about it and you race a lot, it will most likely save you money over the long run. Your membership includes access to free race giveaways, discounts on races and registration fees, entries into monthly raffle drawings, special discounts for online shopping partners like Sports Authority, and free online training plans for tons of different race types and distances. You also receive an additional 15% discount off any Active GearUp deal, and up to $30 in rebates on money you spend on race photos.
In the past year, I’ve scored 6 free race entries, won a Road ID and a Restaurant.com gift certificate, and utilized their free half marathon training plans – definitely worth the $60 I spent on it!
Plus, you can check out Active Advantage to see if you like it for 30 days for just $1.99.