Tips for Enjoying Fitness on a Budget

Don't lose your shirt to firm up your body

There's no question that boutique fitness experiences can be spendy but that doesn't mean you have to lose your shirt to get in shape (literally or figuratively). There are lots of ways to save money on classes, training and adventure experiences if you know when, where and how to cut corners.

Take Advantage of National Parks

Michael Quinn/National Park Service

National Parks are an incredible place to get active with friends and family. Not only do they offer a wide range of opportunities for hiking, biking, climbing and kayaking, some parks even offer free seminars and low-cost fitness classes. Check out the National Parks website to find a park near you. You can also be extra frugal by heading to the parks on one of their free entrance days.

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Look for Free Classes

Bryant Park Yoga
Bryant Park Corporation

Every summer Bryant Park in New York City offers a twice-weekly series of free yoga classes open to anyone who wants to participate. But you don't have to live in the Big Apple to enjoy free yoga. Check with your city's recreation department to see if there are similar series offered in your area.

Many fitness apparel stores, including Lululemon and Athleta also make a point of offering free classes to local residents. Call your local store to see if they have anything scheduled, or use the online store finder (linked above) to check specific store schedules.

Finally, remember to take advantage of "first class free" options at most boutique fitness facilities. Studios know they'll have a hard time selling their services if they don't let potential members test the wares, so they're happy to set you up with a free class.

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Access Free or Low-Cost Online Workouts

Pinterest pin for workouts. Laura Williams

The online world is exploding with free and low-cost fitness solutions. There are so many options that it can start feeling overwhelming - where do you start? How do you find a good resource? If you're not sure how to dive in, check out this quick article to help get you started.

Pinterest and YouTube are also excellent sources for free online workouts, but they do leave a lot to sort through. If you'd rather have your programs narrowed to the best of the best, check out a these reviews of low-cost online fitness memberships and programs.

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Buy a Multi-Studio Membership Pass

If you're a boutique studio junkie, stop paying full price for all those classes! Multi-studio membership passes can save you a bundle each month while also opening up your options to test lots of studios in your area.

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Skip High-Dollar Fitness Equipment Purchases

Beer bottles
Tetra Images/Getty Images

There's no need to waste a lot of money on your home gym. Try using paper plates in place of a slideboard and beer bottles in place of lightweight dumbbells. Click the link above to find eight more equipment solutions!

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Check Your Community for Fit Trails

Example of a parcourse set up.. Playworld Systems

Fit trails, or hike and bike trails, are often provided by city recreation departments to offer community members a cost-effective fitness solution. Check your city's website to see whether you have a trail in your area. They usually include stations with instructions for basic moves like squats, situps and assisted pullups.

While you're at it, see if your city has a disc golf course, too. You'll likely have to supply your own discs, but it's a fun way to add a twist and some friendly competition to a simple hike.

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Create Your Own Workout with Playing Cards

How to Use Playing Cards for Fitness. Getty Images / OJO Images

It's surprisingly easy to do. Just grab a $2 deck of cards and follow the instructions provided at the link above. You'll be breaking a sweat before you know it, and the sequence of your workout will be determined by the cards you draw from the deck - no thought required!

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Pick Up a New DVD

groov3 dvd

While the DVD industry as a whole is waning, fitness DVDs continue to rise in popularity. That's because people still want to experience their home-based fitness on a big screen, and DVDs make it easy to do so. At just $10 to $20 a pop, they don't require a big investment, and you can continue to use them over and over again.

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