3 Alternatives to the Gym to Save Money and Get Fit

Updated on September 14, 2017
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Steph made it a mission just under 5 years ago to get fit, but had no nearby gym and no money. She still achieved fitness through running.

Gyms are great, aren't they?!

They have so many machines, loads of weights and maybe even a climbing wall and a swimming pool.

But how many of those machines do you use? I'm not even sure how to use half of them, let alone know what they will do to benefit me.

Maybe you don't go in the weights section because of those few intimidating individuals who are lifting way more than you could ever imagine being able to lift.

And how many times do you use the pool? Or are you guilty of just sitting in the steam room and spa pool...?

But the cafe in there is good. Wait, you pay extra for that. That's not a perk.

Why Would I Quit the Gym?

Apart from the above reasons showing that many people don't use the gym to its full potential, work out how many times you go each month and divide the amount of money you pay by this figure. That's how much you pay to go each session. Is it worth the cost?

There are also plenty of other ways to get fit for a lot less money. You may even find you enjoy other sports or exercise methods more than going to the gym.

Some people also argue that the gym doesn't make you fit. Stick a dedicated treadmill runner into a road race, and they will struggle more than a person who has been training in more natural environments as they have more experience of real-life settings which can be a lot more varied and difficult.

How Often do you go to the Gym Each Month?

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Individual Outdoor Sports

If you prefer working out alone, the gym is not your only option. Although these sports can be done with friends, they can also be done alone, giving you flexibility and choice.

  1. I'm a big fan of running. You can start this with little to no money. Just step outside your door and run. Take your headphones with you if you need the driving force of music; just make sure you are careful when crossing any roads along your route. It also gives you the chance to explore your neighbourhood. For tips on starting running, please check out my article about how to get started.
  2. If running isn't your thing, what about cycling? If you don't have a bike, you can pick up a new one fairly cheaply or maybe even purchase a second-hand one. The scenery whilst cycling is a lot more picturesque than looking at other gym-goers and better than watching the TV. You could even open an account on Strava and save your rides to compare with others in the community.
  3. Love the stair master? Walk instead and choose a route with steep hills and lots of steps!
  4. You can also get your own weights at home. There may be an initial cost, but in a month or two you'll have saved the gym money to make them worth it. You can also do it in your own home with nobody watching you and feeling like you're being judged!

Group Sports

More of a team player? Rather than associate companion sports with a gym class, join a real team!

There are many options for team sports: football, rugby, hockey, netball, or even try something different like ice hockey.

  1. If you're in the UK, you could try Rush Hockey. There are many teams that meet up weekly for a shorter, more fast-paced game of hockey.
  2. Maybe you could get a 5-a-side football team together amongst your friends and enter competitions.
  3. If you like playing sport with a friend but don't want to work out with a large group of people, how about tennis, badminton or squash?

The communication between team members of sports outside of the gym tends to be better, as you have to arrange times for training and plan tactics. This is a huge benefit to your relationships and may help you make new friends.

Gym Classes

Okay, how do you replace those gym classes you love? This is my personal favourite, and I love the alternative: YouTube.

  • YouTube has lots of exercise videos for you to try out in the privacy of your own home. Whatever class you fancy taking, you can do.
  • Fancied Zumba, but don't like the idea of making a fool of yourself in front of strangers? Search for Zumba in YouTube!
  • I love looking for weight training for women in YouTube so I can use a few dumbbells without worrying about how weak I look!
  • Popular channels include Popsugar Fitness and Pop Pilates, but if you search for the type of workout you want you will soon discover a channel to suit your own needs.
  • I know someone that uses YouTube for spin classes. With a bike on a turbo-trainer, why do you need the gym?!
  • YouTube also has plenty of HIIT workouts too for when you only have five or ten minutes.

If you have been thinking about leaving the gym but have been worried about how you will maintain your fitness, I hope this article has provided some insights into how you will manage.

If you have any further suggestions, please let me know by commenting below.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2016 Stephanie Elford


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