Summer is supposed to be the time for relaxing at the beach, sipping margaritas at happy hour, and chilling with friends. My summer, although, has been extremely busy. I’ve been working, visiting friends, cleaning out my closet, and more. As I’ve mentioned many times before, I love being busy and constantly having something to do. I’ve been so busy that it seems like I’ve barely had some any me-time. Putting time aside for yourself is crucial for your mental health.
I make time for myself almost every day by working out. It makes me feel better both physically and mentally. I put aside at least 30 minutes to exercise in some form or another almost every day, even if that means getting up a little earlier before work or telling a friend that I have to hangout with them after I exercise. A lot of people don’t work out because they feel like they don’t have time to.
Another excuse that I (and many others) have used as to why they can’t work out is because they don’t have the money to pay for a gym membership. Being a recent college graduate and still paying my way through my grad year, I know how tight money can be. I realize that a gym membership may not make its way into your budget. It’s not the first thing on my list either. Working out doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Sometimes, it doesn’t have to cost any money at all. I have honestly not paid for a gym membership in over a year, yet I work out about five days a week.
How can this be, you ask? Well, here are my secrets to staying fit on a budget:
College and Company Gyms
One of the greatest things about college is the free gym. College gyms don’t always have all of the bells and whistles that big, chain gyms do, but they have enough equipment for you to get a good workout in. I have been using my university’s gym over the past year. It’s probably one of the smallest college gyms ever, but I’ve learned how to use the equipment it does have in order to have the best workout I can. I’ve thought about getting a membership at another gym, but I save so much money by using my college gym. Even though I have to drive a little bit further to use it, the amount of money I save in total is worth it. Even alumni’s are able to use their schools’ gyms after they graduate, so I’ll probably be using my college gym for a while.
Some companies have gyms on their properties too. They are most likely smaller than chain gyms, but you can still get a good workout in. Many company gyms also offer free classes for their employees. If you’re an intern at a larger company, find out if you’re allowed to use the gym. Again, even if you have to drive a little farther to get to it, the amount of money you save makes the drive worth it. You’re already there to work 9-5. You might as well try to get a workout in before or after hours.
The only downside I’ve really found to relying on my school gym is that it’s not always open during the summer and sometimes it has weird hours. When my school gym isn’t open or I can’t make it there that day, I usually workout with a YouTube fitness video. There are TONS of free fitness videos on YouTube. There’s everything from Pilates and Yoga to HIIT and Weight Training. Even if you don’t have any gym equipment whatsoever in your house, you can still get an awesome workout in by following a YouTube fitness video. I also like the videos because they’re like taking an exercise class without leaving your home or having the pressure of working out in front of other people. YouTube fitness videos also make it easy to fit in a workout at any time of the day because they’re on demand. Read my recommendations for the best YouTube fitness videos in “My Favorite YouTube Workouts.”
I really hate buying things at full price. Obviously, I feel the same way when it comes to paying for a gym membership or for fitness classes. I want to get a discount wherever I can. So, why not get a discount on my exercise? Here are some ways you can get a discount on your workout:
My favorite place to find discounts for fitness classes is Groupon. They have tons of local fitness classes and services for discounted prices. Plus, they often run sales, which means you can get even more of a bargain.
Student, Corporate, and Organizational Discounts
Check to see if a gym or fitness center offers student, corporate, and organizational discounts. The YMCA near me offers discounts to students during summer and winter breaks. Some places even offer discounts if you work at a certain company or if you belong to AAA or another organization. Definitely, do your research and check to see if you are eligible for one of those discounts.
Big chain gyms and fitness centers often offer special promotions throughout the year to try and get new members. Again, do your research and see when a gym or fitness center near you usually offers the best discount. Sign up during that time.
Try a Free Class
While a lot of yoga studios, Pilates studios, and other fitness centers often charge for trying a class, there are free classes that exist. You just have to find them. A new Pilates studio opened up near me, and they are offering free trial classes to new members. I have yet to go, but it’s definitely something I’m excited to take advantage of.
Free trial classes are great. You’re able to see what the studio is like, how the classes are taught, and if you like the teachers. This helps you get a feel for the studio without having to buy a package of classes. Ask around, look online, and do your research to find out who offers free fitness classes near you.
Gym Trial Periods
Gym trials are often both a blessing and a curse. They’re great because you get to try out a new gym and see if you like it. The downside is that you’ll probably get a bunch of annoying promotional emails and texts until you either sign up for a membership or unsubscribe. I don’t recommend making free gym trials the only way you go to the gym, but they are a wonderful tool for if you’re in the market to sign up for a new gym. Most gyms offer 1 or 2-day passes to potential new customers. This helps you get the feel of the gym while working out in it. Before committing to any gym membership, I recommend taking advantage of the free trial period.
Go with a Friend
Working out with a friend helps motivate you and gets you excited to workout. Going to the gym with a friend can also save you money. Some gyms, like Crunch, allow people with a certain level of membership to bring a guest at no additional cost. If one of your friends has a membership like this, take advantage of it. You get to work out with a friend for free, and he is able to get his money’s worth of his membership. (Luckily, Adam has the guest privilege as part of his membership, so I get to use his gym a lot.) Again, the only downside of doing this is that you’re going to get a whole bunch of promotional emails and texts. Simply, unsubscribe if they get too annoying.
Time and money are the biggest excuses people use for not working out. Don’t let money be an excuse for you! It’s so easy to work out on a budget. There are tons of ways to work out for free and/or at a discounted price. If there’s a will, there’s a way – if you really want to work out, you won’t let money be an object. I haven’t let it stand in my way, so you shouldn’t either.
Hustle for that muscle, my Dolls!
Don’t let your summer be all work(out) and no play. Take a trip to a vineyard! Get inspired by reading my last post, “Long Island Vineyards.”