We may not be there yet, but it isn’t long until the Holiday season, which means it isn’t long until gyms the world over start trying to court and woo you, hoping to capitalise on your Christmas of excess and your subsequent New Year’s resolution, using promotional deals, the promise of a “New Year, New You” and huge billboards of beautiful – photoshopped – women in bikinis, their bodies enviable on every level. We know this is what is going to happen because it is what happens every single year, each gym vying for your money.
That is why we are bringing this up now. We don’t want you to jump the gun and sign on the dotted line because once you’re locked in a contract you’re locked into a contract and that’s when our advice will become nothing more than salt in your wound. Not only do almost 70% of gym memberships go unused, but they also cost an average of $60 a month. That translates as: a lot of money; too much to be metaphorically burning or theoretically flushing down the toilet. If only you could be burning that amount of calories, huh?
So, before you pull the lid of your ballpoint and perform your squiggle, we thought we would teach you about a few inexpensive gym alternatives that still offer up the motivation you may need, the guidance you probably want and just about everything you need to skip toward your fitness hopes and bikini body dreams.
Read on to see our list of money wasting habits you need to kick and the best replacements available:
Kick The Personal Trainer
The great thing about using a personal trainer is the fact they keep you motivated and they keep you honest. The worst thing is the cost attached to this. That is why we recommend you go down the online route and get yourself a digital personal trainer. Sure, it may not be quite as personal as the real-life edition, but you can get a very similar experience at a fraction of the price, and on your time. Oh, and by a fraction of the price, we mean you could spend as little as zero. Yeah, that’s right, zilch. Zero. Nil. Nadda. No dollars. That’s because there are tons and tons and tons of free apps out there, each of which can help you with your fitness aims, workout routines and even monitor your progress.
On the free front, our favourite has to be Sworkit, which has an extensive video library that’s got all kinds of different workouts. Yoga, cardio, strength, stretching, everything. You can also sync it right to the health apps you use on your phone. The best part, for a small fee, you can even ask a real trainer questions. Boom.
If you are willing to spend as little as $5 you can get some seriously comprehensive health and fitness apps, such as 21-Day Shred, which helps you see real results in just three weeks. The best bit is the design, though. Nothing fancy, just straightforward and simple to use, meaning you can get straight into your workout without any unnecessary fuss. Oh, and it has five extra plans to help you keep your gains long after you’ve made them.
A New Way To Attend Classes
One of those things that keeps a lot of people on track to meet their fitness goals is a structured class. But that doesn’t mean you have to get up at 5.30 a.m., meet Karen outside Starbucks at 6 a.m. and then do as an instructor says as you jump on the spot in some freezing cold park. That’s because you can replicate the experience of an aerobics class in the comfort of your own home.
One digital download that has gained a lot of attention recently is Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Regime, but at $210 that is quite the investment. Yes, it is cheaper than the gym, but here you will see an honest Kayla Itsines review here, as well as reasons why the Jen Ferrugia option is the better option, not least because of the price.
Of course, these aren’t the only two options that are available to you because you could hop onto a subscription streaming service like DailyBurn or YogaGlo, in which you are getting exercise classes for a lot less than a gym membership. If you want to stick to the free side of things, then you could even subscribe to a YouTube channel. Trust us, there is a lot of free content that could help you hit your targets and see that piggy bank start to spill over. You see, for big fitness organisations, free workout content is like their version of having a blog, which means you get great content and value for nothing.
So long as you have access to the internet and a device on which you can watch videos you are ready to rock and roll. It really is as easy as that.
Bargain Bucket Gym Equipment
Actually, who even needs gym equipment? You were born with access to the best machine ever created; your body. That’s right, we’re talking about bodyweight exercises, which have grown in popularity at the same rate as Marvel movies in the past few years. Squats, press ups, pull ups, lunges – every part of your body can be improved using nothing more than your own weight, which is great for beginners.
However, if you are more likely to work out because you have access to certain weights, equipment and machinery then you’re best bet is to avoid anything that has a premium price tag on and buy used instead. It will save you a ton of money and you’ll still be getting fantastic equipment in return. After all, how much can a treadmill or a set of weights really advance? Exactly. What’s more, 65% of people stop using their home gym equipment after about six-months, which means you can pick up barely-used bits and bobs from yard sales for almost nothing. The same goes for eBay, Craigslist and Facebook marketplace.
The only piece of equipment that is really worth investing in and buying new is a good pair of running shoes; something comfortable that fits like a glove. These are what you will wear to exercise in, whether that be running to work or doing an online class at home, which is why you want something sturdy, comfy and exciting. This is super-duper important. It is what will encourage you to get up from your desk and squeeze in a bit of extra calorie burning, whether it be walking the stairs, marching to the subway stop after your usual one, or whatever else takes your fancy. It really will be better to for your health and your fitness.
If You Are Hellbent On The Gym
If you know that you’ll end up joining a gym anyway because, well, you don’t have the self-discipline to workout at home, then there are some things that you really need to keep in mind to make sure your relationship is a long, fruitful and money-well-spent one, and that starts with convenience, so make sure you pick a gym that is close to home. Sure, their maybe a new, fancy gym across town that has shiny new equipment and a great promotion, but distance is always the biggest contributing factor. If it is too far out of the way you won’t go, period.
The next thing you should do is read your contract. Carefully. Including the fine print. We know that is a real chore, but you really want to know what certain terms of your deal will mean, such as what is included in your membership, how long your contract will last and, most importantly, how to cancel your membership (and what it will cost in cancellation fees). Knowing this stuff is crucial, just in case, you know, you don’t end up going as much as you thought you would.
The next piece of worldly advice we can give you is this: try before you buy. This may sound ludicrous but most gyms offer free trials as part of their marketing strategies, hoping that you’ll enjoy their facilities so much you stick around and start paying. This is good news for you because it means you can see just how your plan of going to the gym five times a week pans out. If it doesn’t go well, at least you haven’t forked out a ton of cash and gotten yourself into a contract that has no cancellation option.
The last thing you need to do – and it is by no means the least – is shop around. See what offers are out there, who has dropped their initiation fee and then try and use this as a bargaining tool with your local gym. They will probably agree if it means getting your business.
And there we have it, the ultimate guide to keep you fit, health and in pocket this holiday season and beyond. Now good luck, and see you at the beach.