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Gym Belle  - noun  one who enjoys pull-ups, push-ups, lifting things up/putting 'em down, PRs of all kinds, racing, jumping, spinning, daring and blogging re same (more here)


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Bulking Up Your Wallet

Apparently, I still have "bulk" on the brain.  I may have to ban the word for 2010.  Perhaps that should be my new years’ resolution.

Speaking of which, as a blogger, and as a fitness blogger no less, I feel obligated to say something intelligent on the topic of New Years’ resolutions.  The thing is, if you’re reading this, you’re probably a grown up, and by this point in your life, you’ve figured out if resolutions work for you.  You know how grand or manageable to make your plans.  You know if you mean it or not.  Resolve, don’t resolve.  It’s your business.

If you are considering a fitness-related resolution or two, and if you’re one of the victims of 2009’s total economy fail or if you are just feeling broke from the holidays, then I offer as food for thought the following: it is possible to be both fit and thrifty in NYC.  Simultaneously. 

If you are laughing at me, it’s probably because you’re tallying the $170/month that Equinox charges, the a la carte Physique 57 classes and the rest of what I do and arriving at a number that I don’t care to contemplate.  It’s true; I spend a lot on gyms even without a personal trainer.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t like a bargain.

Take Advantage of Freebies

In summer, you can find free classes of all kinds in NYC parks, but if you want something for nothing in winter, it helps to be a runner or a yogi.  Lululemon Athletica offers free community classes at its NYC locations.  Most are yoga classes, but I've also seen IntenSati and some dance classes on the schedules.  Lululemon, Niketown and the Running Company each have running clubs in the city that are open to anyone.  These are free groups that meet once or several times a week.  Details vary from club to club, but you can usually stash your stuff at the store.  The trick to making these freebies work is not to buy stuff in the stores.  Good luck with that. 

For something totally different, ice skate at Bryant Park (it's free if you own skates) or dance in the daytime at Brooklyn Bowl.  Previous event ads have mentioned $10 suggested donations, but the poster for the January 9th Get Your Dance On event says it’s free.  If you can get down without tossing back a few drinks, this sounds like a fun way to burn calories gratis.

Need more freebies?  Time Out NY regularly posts free classes on its website and I do my best to keep my Events Calendar up to date.

Pay What You Can

Bikram Yoga NYC offers community classes Fridays at its midtown location.  The suggested donation is $10.  Yoga to the People offers a full schedule of pay what you can classes.

Play the Field

Many gyms and studios offer amazing deals to first timers and new students.  Make the rounds strategically, and you can save quite a bit.  For example, Bikram Yoga NYC has a 30 days for $30 package for newbies.  Earth Yoga (which has popped up where Some Like It Hot used to be with some of the same instructors but no affiliation) offers a 7 day unlimited membership for $30.  Exhale offers a “week of transformation” package for $40 that includes unlimited classes and discounts on products and services.  Physique 57 offers a free second class, and then has a great deal on unlimited for classes for the first month. 

Equinox, Sports Club LA, David Barton and many other big gyms around the city will fork over trial passes if you seem interested in membership.  The length will vary, but you can usually get around a week.  Crunch offers 2 week guest passes.  Crunch also offer $16 day passes if you just want to hit up a gym every once in a while.  Be forewarned, the salespeople at the larger gyms will follow up with you (read: stalk) with impressive persistence. 

The best way to keep current on the latest discounts in your area is to pop into your local running store or Lululemon.  They often have a table or wall with fliers and coupons.  I walked in to the Running Company today and learned that I can sign up for a free “learn to ride” class at Bike New York.  I may do that.  Also, sometimes has great deals on gym classes.

Learn a Skill

If you’ve exhausted all the free trials, or you’re the kind of person who has to fork over a little cash to motivate, you might consider a class.  Maybe you don’t want to commit to a gym membership, but what about a 10 week course?  New York Road Runners offers a variety of twice-a-week classes priced at $125 for non-members.  JackRabbit NY offers running, swimming and biking classes that meet twice a week for 10 weeks for about $145.  Care to Tango?  4 week classes at Alvin Ailey are approximately $85.  Don’t forget about your local Y.  The 92nd Street Y offers lots of classes, from spinning to dance to krav maga.  You can sample Asphalt Green’s small group classes for free next week.  They offer kettle bell classes, boxing classes and a variety of others for members and non-members.

Be a Homebody

Many New Yorkers neglect the perfectly fine gyms in their buildings.  If you’ve got one, use it!  You can download great workouts from iTrain to keep you motivated and on track even without the crowds and classes.  If you absolutely need a workout buddy, advertise your free/inexpensive access to the gym in your building to your friends.  You may discover a friend who is perfectly happy to schlep to you and be your gym buddy for the discount.  Note also that you can lure trainers to your home gym for a fraction of what gyms will charge you.

If workout DVDs work for you, the world is your oyster.  A lot of what’s available in gyms you can do right in your own living room.  Physique 57 and Exhale offer DVD versions of their signature classes.  You can do Zumba at home... anything really.

Get out and run.

Self explanatory.

Things change, and I do have a day job, so please verify any deal with the offeree before you go.  Obviously, I couldn't include everything.  If you know of some fabulous deal, please share with the group in the comments so that your 2 cents can save a fellow reader a buck.

Yours Frugally,

-Gym Belle-


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Reader Comments (1)

I'm all about trying to work out for free and take advantage of free classes and demos, but sometimes it pays to actually pay and get in a good worth while class. I just payed $39 for Method Fitness boot camp sessions in Central Park and they are supposed to be great! Not to mention that I saved a lot of money by buying the sessions through BuyWithMe NYC. Here's the link

October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

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