There’s a new gym in town and it looks spectacular. The only problem is the price tag. A month’s membership is half a car payment. Five classes will set you back over $100. Ouch.
Worth it? Maybe not. A study done by the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that having a pricier, fancier gym membership won’t necessarily make you more fit. “There’s no evidence that suggests money is the best motivator for the gym” — or other tedious tasks, says Justin Sydnor, associate professor at Wisconsin School of Business. He found that spending more money on your exercise routine doesn’t work because money’s just not the best motivator for things you don’t want to do. Instead, making things fun, simple and social is the key to sticking to a routine. For fitness that could mean dancing in the kitchen with a friend or watching your favorite Netflix show as you do crunches. Keep your fitness expenses in line by doing the following:
Go to a gym that costs less than a movie ticket.
Gyms like Planet Fitness and Blink offer memberships for as low as $10 a month. Planet Fitness also added 4,000 new facilities nationwide, so there’s a good chance one is close to you. To make sure you’re keeping your expenses low, always read the contract and pay your dues in full because the gym could hit you with an annual fee or auto-renewal policy for those who prefer to go month-to-month.
…Or just ditch the gym altogether.
No gym, no problem. Health and fitness expert Stephanie Mansour, who specializes in at-home workouts, says you don’t need much to get fit. “All you really need is a set of dumbells and a yoga mat, the rest is a mindset,” says Mansour. Going gym free has somewhat become a trend, and not just because it saves you money. “High-intensity interval training is the biggest trend in fitness right now and you don’t need a gym to do it,” says Shape Deputy Editor Mary Anderson. She suggests doing bodyweight exercises like push-ups, squats, lunges and planks in intervals since it’s one of the most effective ways of melting fat (give this one a try). The best part? These moves can be done virtually anywhere and cost nothing.
Take advantage of free apps.
Whether you belong to a gym or use the living room carpet to plank on, there’s a free app for you. For customizable workout plans try apps like Fitplan which supplies you with tips from top trainers and Sworkit which enrolls you in a six-week program that suits your physical goals. With Aaptiv you get access to unlimited audio workout classes which are recordings of personal trainers telling you what to do. Ready. Set. Download.
And while you’re cutting costs, consider your wardrobe.
“When you are working out you want to feel your best and wear comfortable, non-fuss, sweat-wicking clothing,” says Brooke Ely Danielson, Fashion and Lifestyle Director at Shape. That doesn’t mean you need to ante up for $100 leggings, however. Old Navy Active, GapFit, Walmart and Target also offer a great selection of more affordable workout gear. Walmart carries superstar trainer Jillian Michaels’ line, Impact. (For an extra boost from Jillian, check out her advice on the HerMoney podcast here.)
With Hattie Burgher