Five Free and Cheap Ways to Get in Shape…and Avoid an Expensive Gym Contract

It’s a common resolution to start the new year with the best intentions of getting in shape, but a month for some who have signed a long gym contract may already feel like a waste of money.

People are often quick to accept gym contracts in a fit of ambition, but don’t always think about the price, especially if they don’t use them several times a week.

In January, a large chunk of gym memberships are open according to broker Norton Finance, but 50% of new gym members stop going within six months.

If it’s not already too late to avoid an expensive locked-in contract, you might want to consider cheaper and even free ways to burn calories before you sign on the dotted line.

Consider using an outdoor gym instead of signing up to a lengthy gym contract – it’s free

1. Subscribe to a budget fitness app

There are thousands of budget apps to choose from, featuring exercise videos and workout plans for all types of workouts.

Free apps include Public Health England’s “Couch to 5k”, Nike Run Club and Strava.

Some apps offer additional services, such as personalized fitness plans and advice, in exchange for a monthly subscription.

These include Moovlite, which charges subscribers £15.99 per month, and WithU, where app users pay £7.99 per month or £59.99 for the year. Obviously the cost of these can also add up and you’ll still need to find somewhere to exercise and use the motivation they provide, but it’s likely to be a lot cheaper than a gymnasium.

Jeannie Di Bon, movement therapist and founder of Moovlite, says, “A subscription offers more than just exercise videos.

“For example, our clients have access to a private community and to me – we wanted the experience to be as close as possible to one-on-one collaboration with me.”

A WithU spokesperson adds, “Users will ultimately save money because they won’t be tied to a long-term deal like a gym membership.”

“Workouts are designed primarily to be done at home or without specialized equipment – so users can be efficient with their time and save money on transportation, membership fees and purchasing equipment. ‘equipment.”

At £7.99, the WithU fitness app subscription is much cheaper than most monthly gym deals

At £7.99, the WithU fitness app subscription is much cheaper than most monthly gym deals

2. Use outdoor gyms

Freezing temperatures may make you think twice about this option, but with over 1,500 outdoor gyms to choose from, this may be one of the best ways to get in shape for free – and take a little more fresh air.

They are usually located in public parks. You can find the nearest outdoor gym on the websites of The Great Outdoor Gym Company (TGO) or Fresh Air Fitness.

TGO’s Active app is free to download and will help you find your local free outdoor gym as well as record, track and share your activities.

3. Go ‘pay as you go’ at the local council gymnasium

If training via digital means or outdoors isn’t your thing, you can still save money if you go to a gym, as your local leisure center will now usually offer more flexible options that don’t will not commit you for the long term.

Some private gyms also offer it, but you may need to inquire. Salespeople will push the fixed gym contract, but that’s where you should stop the sales pitch and ask for “pay as you go.”

It’s an ideal alternative if you know you won’t be using the gym much, or if you’re not ready to commit to a full membership.

A number of businesses now run many municipal leisure centers for them – which can mean it’s easier to find out and book across multiple sites. Although many people complain that they have to register for many accounts rather than just going to the leisure center as they once did.

Everyone Active lets you book and pay for activities (prices vary) anytime at any of its 190 centers across the country. Mark Basker, Regional Contracts Manager at Everyone Active, says: “Our paid membership is free to sign up online.

“This means that visitors are charged per activity each time they use our facilities, i.e. the gym, swimming or an exercise class. This allows more flexibility for those who do not wish to commit to a monthly subscription.

Day passes are another option. The best gyms, which have around 200 recreation centers, offer day passes that give you access to their facilities for one, seven or 30 days. Price range varies by location.

3. Free classes for seniors

Some gyms may even give you free classes if you are over a certain age.

As an example, Basker says: “People aged 60 and over can also enter all Southwark Leisure Centers free of charge for one hour per day Monday to Thursday 9.30am to 10.30am, then Friday, Saturday and Sunday. in accordance with the free swim and gym schedules. .

“In addition, over-60s receive three free group exercise classes a week at Castle, Peckham, Dulwich and Camberwell Leisure Centres.”

Find out if your local recreation center offers something similar by dropping by or trying to call or email them.

4. Choose to go outside of peak times

If you work from home or work flexibly, you can take advantage of going to the gym at less busy times and benefit from off-peak rates that are usually cheaper than full-price memberships.

Puregym, for example, charges £9.99 per month for its off-peak plan, which is cheaper than its Core (£12.99 per month) and Plus (£18.99 per month) plans.

Just make sure you can go to the gym at the restricted times offered.

5. Consider trials

If you’re not sure if you can commit to a full-time gym, consider a trial first. David Lloyd, for example, offers a three-month subscription.

Gyms can have ways of locking you into a contract, so it’s crucial to take the time to read your contract cover to cover before agreeing to anything.

You should always check the length of the trial period and whether you will be obligated to pay for a full price subscription immediately after the offer ends. Find out when you need to cancel before full membership kicks in.

Nick Drewe, from online discount platform WeThrift, says: “Gyms can have ways of locking you into a contract, so it’s crucial to take the time to read your contract cover to cover before buying. accept anything.

“If you are unsure about any part of the contract, report it to a member of the gym team.

“Fortunately, not all gyms offer locked contracts – but it’s always important to be 100% aware of the terms and conditions of the deal you’re signing up for.

“If a gym has an exit policy, you can try to negotiate the terms of that policy before signing up.”

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