6 ways to beat pricey gym memberships

Gym memberships at big-name health clubs can cost anywhere from $50 to $200 a month, plus initiation fees — a huge sum many shell out, and some never even show up.

One in six of the 54 million people with gym memberships abandons their health club in search of cheaper alternatives, according to research by the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA). What’s more, in 2012, 29.5% of former gym members dumped their workout center because they weren’t using their gym membership. Another 52% left because it was too expensive, and another 31% realized they could get fit elsewhere for free. Likewise, 56% of potential members have never joined a gym because of the price.

To cater to the budget-conscious, gyms cut prices — the average membership dropped from $49 a month in 2009 to $41 a month in 2014, according to industry research firm IBISWorld. Thus, some fitness experts have seen a boom at smaller gyms with much lower prices. For example, some Planet Fitness clubs, which charge $10 to $20 a month, signed up 1,000 new members each month in 2009, during the recession, according to IHRSA. 카지노사이트

While smaller locations are profiting, big-name gyms are still doing just fine. The fitness club industry earned $26.5 billion in revenue last year, reports IBISWorld, which is up slightly from previous years. To put that in perspective, the fitness club industry earned more cash last year than sports franchises ($25 billion), hog and pig farming ($21 billion), and amusement parks ($15 billion).

But a smaller gym isn’t the only way consumers can work up a decent sweat. For those who want to get fit and keep their wallets plump, there are plenty of options available. Below are just a few of the ways consumers can score a gym membership or its equivalent for $20 or less per month.

Join a different gym

Nearly 20% of gym members quit their former gym because they didn’t fit in or felt intimidated. So if you don’t want to be reminded that you’ll never look like the body builder posing in the mirror a few feet away, then a membership at a no-fuss facility like Planet Fitness may be for you. Planet Fitness leaves “gymtimidation” at the door by offering a judgment-free workout zone. For $10 a month (plus $20 startup fee), you get unlimited gym access to your local facility and unlimited fitness training. Upgrade to the “Black Card” for $19.99 a month, and you’ll receive additional perks, like half-price “cooler drinks,” such as Gatorade, soda and water, plus unlimited use of massage chairs, all gym locations, and guest privileges.

Or consider joining your alma mater’s gym. Many colleges and universities offer discounts to alumni. Emory University in Atlanta offers a yearly membership for $250 (roughly $20 a month), which grants alumni access to non-credit exercise classes throughout the year. Stanford University alumni can purchase day passes to the athletic facilities for $5. And for $13.75 a month ($165 for the year), dependents 19 and younger of Dartmouth College employees can use the indoor track and gym, racquet courts, and swimming pools. 안전한카지노사이트

Stream when you want to

Currently, there are dozens of sites that let you workout at your convenience, and not the instructor’s. Fitness gurus like Kristin McGee, a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor, recommend streaming services for budget- and time-conscious consumers. One website McGee uses is, which has a pay-per-view structure that requires no monthly fees for users, and can be streamed anywhere with an Internet connection. So you get the benefit of taking your gym and your personal trainer with you wherever you go. Workout routines on Vidergize are prerecorded regularly and hosted by instructors who are certified by the organizations that oversee their areas of expertise, like the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the American Council on Exercise. Then its members can watch the session for as little as $0.99 within a 24-hour window (think on-demand videos on your DVR). Users can even contact instructors for customized, extended view time routines that they can take anywhere to supplement or replace their traditional gym membership. Until March 31, 2014, new users can try Vidergize for free. Just use the code TryVidergize.

Another streaming service,, is $9.95 a month. There’s a large selection of video classes, including yoga, Thai chi, Pilates, cardio, walking, dance fitness, and more — think of it as Netflix for the exercise deprived. But for a male physique in mind, check out, which has partnered with Men’s Health magazine. StreamFit’s free membership option provides four ad-supported videos each month, while its $180-a-year unlimited membership ($15 a month) grants subscribers access to all of its streaming content.

Get a passbook
The American Health and Fitness Alliance has a Fitness PassBook for $85. The PassBook grants 600 free admission tickets to health clubs in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, or New York for the entire year. Valued at $3,500, the PassBook offers free admission to just about every health and fitness club out there. (Think tourist discount ticket books.) Plus, each pass is good for at least two free visits to the gym, and some are good for the entire month. Rounding out at just $7.08 a month, it’s a steal. Pass offerings vary by location, but may include one week of aerobic and body shaping exercise at 24 Hour Fitness, one-on-one training at Curves for Women, and one week of weight training at Bally Total Fitness, among others. If you join any of the clubs participating in the program for a one-year membership, excluding discount offers, the book is free. And for a limited time, buy three PassBooks, get one free. Or buy two and get $10 off. 카지노사이트 추천

Visit a rec center

Your city’s recreation center may offer low-cost fitness activities for residents. For example, New York City’s Park Recreation Center grants youth free access to its facilities, while adults can join for just $150 a year ($12.50 a month). Members get free access to things like indoor tracks, gyms, fitness classes and pools. Additional discounts may be available for older residents. Three-thousand miles away in Kent, Washington, residents 50 and over can access the city’s fitness center for $120 a year ($10 a month).


YouTube, the site that introduced you to the Harlem Shake meme and the firefighter reviving a kitten, also offers thousands of exercise videos. For example, Lionsgate BeFit channel offers free workouts led by fitness trainers, like Jillian Michaels, Jane Fonda and Bran Tanaka. Another channel, FitnessBlender, uploads new workout videos every month, and its website has printable workout routines for when you can’t get an Internet connection. Other free fitness channels include Everyday Health, POPSUGAR Fitness, and Six Pack Shortcuts, among others.

But when it comes to YouTube, there’s a word of caution from fitness experts. You get what you pay for, so use a little common sense before following an unknown e-instructor’s routine. (American College of Sports Medicine spokesman Neal Pire points out there’s no sound reason you should be balancing on a large exercise ball and lifting hand weights at the same time.) Plus, it never hurts to do a little research and make sure they’re certified.

Buy in bulk

Don’t forget to check out your local bulk retailer for deep discounts on gym memberships. (Save even more money by purchasing your gym attire there as well!) Costco Wholesale offers a two-year membership at 24 Hour Fitness Clubs with its All-Club Sport package for $369.99, which is about $15 a month, or a 70% savings. (A similar two-year prepaid membership at is $1,230.49, or $51 a month.) The retailer also offers a World Gym Lewisville two-year membership for $199.99, or about $8 a month.

Big gyms not for you? Sam’s Club currently offers a three-month Black Card membership to Planet Fitness for $38.98, about $12.99 a month — a 35% savings. The Black Card gives you the same perks of a standard Planet Fitness membership, plus the additional perks previously mentioned.

Leave a Reply