Frugal Fitness: 6 Ways to Save Money at the Gym

by Hank Coleman

Ways to Find Great Gym Membership DiscountsJust a single personal training session at a gym could cost you as much as $60-70 per hour. For most people, even once-a-week personal training would be an unsustainable expense for their budgets. And, self-directed workouts at a gym with a membership aren’t exactly cheap either. But, you can find ways to save money at the gym and find gym membership discounts that can help.

How to Find Gym Membership Discounts

If you’re trying to get in shape or lose weight, there are several ways to accomplish your fitness goals without busting your budget.

Take Advantage of Free Trial Offers

Nearly every gym out there offers a free trial period for potential members. This may just be a 3-day pass or you might be able to workout cost-free for an entire month. This can be a big help before deciding whether or not you want to sign up for a paid membership.

Gyms offer these trial memberships ‘free of charge’ to entice more people to check out what they have to offer by means of health and fitness amenities, so it’s a win-win approach for both sides.

Ultimate Checklist for Your Finances

Take back control of your finances!

Get a FREE checklist for the money moves to make in the New Year.

Also get new articles, advice, and tips delivered right in your email inbox with our newsletter!

You’re not under any obligation to sign up for a membership after the free trial period concludes. And, don’t waste your money unless you loved the experience and truly believe you’ll come back enough to make the monetary investment worth it. However, you also shouldn’t abuse the free trial system at gyms in your area just for the sake of saving money by indefinitely avoiding a paid membership.

No Initiation Fee

When you’re ready to sign up for a gym membership, the club’s employees will try to charge you an initiation fee. If there are several gyms to choose from in your area, then do some comparison shopping before agreeing to anything.

You should continue to shop around if you already completed a free trial run and now they’re pressuring you to sign up for a paid membership. There might be other gyms with better amenities, prices, or promotions in your area that you might not know about yet.

If another promising gym in your area has a lower monthly membership fee, or if they don’t charge initiation fees, then bring this up to the folks at the other gym you’re considering. Try to negotiate the price down to something more reasonable for your budget.

Don’t always assume that the price advertised is your only option. Sometimes, they’ll waive the initiation fee altogether, and you can start working out for the cost of the first month’s membership fee.

Ask Your Employer for Discounts

Does your company offer a health and/or fitness plan and benefits for its employees? It may not have been explicitly stated when you were first brought onboard.

But, many major companies, and even some small businesses and startups, offer health benefits that include gym membership discounts for their employees.

Some companies even pay their employees to exercise because active and healthy lifestyles are key to lowering the companies’ health insurance premiums across the board. Don’t miss out on this potential benefit. This is especially true if your employer is willing to reimburse you or even pay you for going to the gym. 

Group Classes

You don’t need your own personal trainer to get fit. But, navigating a huge room full of equipment that you barely know how to use isn’t too effective, either.

Fortunately there are group classes, which are oftentimes included in the cost of your gym membership. This is often the case at least if you workout at a franchise gym, such as 24 Hour Fitness or LA Fitness.

On one hand, you won’t get much personalized attention in the span of an hour with 10-20 other people in the class with you and just one instructor up in front. But, group classes are not only a lot of fun, you can try everything from Zumba and kickboxing to scorching ab workouts or yoga. And, working out with a group can be a great motivator.

University Gyms

Do you live near a college campus? If the university’s recreational center offers memberships to the public, then you could save some serious money by forgoing a traditional gym membership for this instead.

A considerable downside to this option is that you may have to pay for parking on campus or park off-campus and walk to the gym. However, the university gym may still be a worthwhile option for someone who wants quality equipment, more amenities, motivating trainers, and lower prices than what you’d probably find at a for-profit gym in your area. 

I have even found that large hospitals often have a gym as well. They’re a hidden gem that was meant for doctors and other hospital staff, but many are open to the public.

Groupon Fitness Classes

Groupon Fitness ClassesGroupon is a fantastic way to save money on everything from restaurants to vacation getaways. And, did you know – the website has an entire section dedicated to fitness and health?
You can find local deals on personal training sessions, crossfit classes, cycling club memberships, dance instruction, and a host of other physical health-related activities.

Scouting out fitness deals on Groupon is perfect for anyone who wants to try a new fitness regime but isn’t sure if the activity would be a good fit for them. For example, trying out barré classes to improve your flexibility or sampling the Crossfit lifestyle with a month-long membership to a “box” in your area.

You may just find your new favorite hobby by starting out with an über-cheap Groupon deal! A deal a day great things to do, eat, see, & buy in your area. Shop Groupon.com today!Ways to Save Money at the Gym

Gym memberships aren’t cheap, but the benefits of leading an active lifestyle generally outweigh the costs. Although your heart might race at the sight of gym membership costs in your area, just navigate your options and be willing to negotiate for better prices to maximize your fitness regime while minimizing your expenses.

How do you find gym membership discounts? Are there any other tips on finding great deals on gym memberships?

Groupon Fitness Deals

myFICO Score Watch Trial

About Hank Coleman

Hank Coleman is the founder of Money Q&A, an Iraq combat veteran, a Dr. Pepper addict, and a self-proclaimed investing junkie. He has written extensively for many nationally known financial websites and publications. Hank holds a Master’s Degree in Finance and a graduate certificate in personal financial planning. Email him directly at Hank[at]MoneyQandA.com.


Hank Coleman has written 582 articles on Money Q&A. Learn more about Money Q&A on Twitter @MoneyQandA and @HankColeman.


Subscribe To Money Q&A

If you want to learn more about taking back control of your money please subscribe to Money Q&A’s RSS feed or via email to receive all the latest articles! You can also subscribe to our Free Weekly Newsletter.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Josh

+1 for trying out the gym before you actually commit to a membership. I’ve been to many gyms over the years and all of them have different “vibes” about them. If you are easily intimidated you might want to avoid certain ones. On the other hand having a bunch of huge guys could be motivating to you!

Thanks for sharing!

Reply

Trevor McClintock

Some gyms also have a great value “off-peak” membership option, which is definitely worth it if you can make it to the gym during the day. Also, I’d recommend checking Groupon for deals on supplements, as you can save a bunch on protein shakes, multivitamins, etc.

Reply

Money Beagle

We both use Planet Fitness. Each of us pays $10 per month. It’s no frills but perfect for most people’s cardio and weight routine.

Reply

Leave a Comment


Previous post:

Next post: