Want to Stay Fit in the New Year? Here is How To Shape Up and Trim Costs

Let’s hear it for the new year: a fresh chance to transform our workout routines, forget last year’s fitness faux pas, and propel ourselves to be stronger, healthier, and happier.

One of the most difficult challenges of maintaining an active lifestyle is affording the expense. But it may be easier than you think to tone up while toning down costs. Here’s the skinny on slimming down and cinching in on those gargantuan gym fees.

women working out in the gym

In The Club

Self-disciplined or slightly slothful, if a gym’s your jam, then you’ll want a health club that’s conveniently located and priced. Start with a search of what’s close to your home, place of employment, or campus. That way, you can minimize all of those endearing excuses for not working out. (Actually, the new season of Game of Thrones hasn’t aired, but good try, Silly.)

Next, make sure you join a club that doesn’t commit you to a contract. If you suddenly find yourself dealing with an urgent home repair, a new health condition, or another major life event like losing your job, then you’ll have the freedom to cut out the gym membership, if necessary. Buying out a gym contract is not fun. It’s actually a huge waste of money, which will stress you out and lead you to eat a whole box of doughnuts. Then, guess what? You’ll have no gym to work it off—only five extra pounds and $500 less! You don’t need any fancy-pants clubs that call the shots. You’re already fancy enough. Kick contracts to the curb!

Right now, many gyms offer free New Year’s enrollment, along with complimentary workout passes if you’re working hard to make a decision that’s right for you. Snap Fitness offers a free 30-day pass. It’s true! Exercise at the majority of their locations for a month without paying dues. Fabulous, right? The access pass is a one-time fee of $8.95, and once you have that card, you can hit the gym 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Lots of clubs will let you try out their facilities before signing up, so get on the workout circuit and feel the budget-savvy burn!

Want more discounts? Check out gym price reductions through your company or school. You might find a percentage off of your monthly bill, keeping your waist and wallet a little leaner.

For the lucky few, one more economical option is to join your office gym. If you don’t mind breaking a sweat alongside Milt from Manufacturing, then you can save big bucks by working out at work. Company gyms are often free or priced super low. Plus, they eliminate any reasons why you can’t get your daily cardio. (Hush. They do so.)

Iphone with apps

App-ily Ever After

If you’re naturally the motivated type, there are a ton of fitness apps you can add to your smartphone or tablet. For those who like making their own schedules and dislike working out with other humans, apps are awesome. And cheap! 

Needing a zombie fix while The Walking Dead’s on hiatus? Try Zombies, Run!

This fitness adventure app makes running frighteningly fun, sending you on a mission with its lively and immersive storylines. Novelist Naomi Alderman helped create the drama behind this innovative post-apocalyptic cardio rush.

If you’re into a relaxing, meditative experience, open your soul to your inner yogi. The Daily Yoga app is packed with classes for every fitness level. Healing your mind and body can be a delicate experience, and this yoga option gives you the flexibility to embrace that journey at home, in peace. You stretch your dollars, too, and that alone can bring calm to your spirit.

For all the dancing queens and kings out there, Viva Fitness offers a way to show off your moves and shake off that superfluous fat. It’s a blast and one of the most entertaining ways to get you on your feet. Strut out on your living room dance floor and give it all you’ve got!

walking in nikes

DIY-ing It

Does your current financial situation require you to be in all-out skinflint mode? We’ve got your back! Getting in your 10,000 steps doesn’t have to cost a thing. Truly! All you need is the willpower to work out and the creativity to crush it. Take an inventory of equipment and machines you already own. Did you pay a personal trainer a bazillion bucks, once upon a time? Dig out those old workout plans. They’re gems! Use what you’ve got at home, or team up with a friend and combine your resources.

If you have a dog, show them the love and play a little fetch. Heck, put them in their travel backpack and take a hike. (If your dog is a St. Bernard, possibly proceed with caution, overachiever.)

If you’ve never owned any exercise equipment, and honestly, you’re not even sure how you ended up reading a fitness post, don’t worry! You can improvise! Grab that old bookbag and stuff it with hardcovers and paperbacks, then walk a few laps pretty much anywhere. Turn on Pandora and choreograph your own music video. You don’t have to be good—but we all know you are! Fill a water bottle with coins (like all the change you’re saving!) and bust out some bicep curls.

And whatever you do, log it all so you can feel proud of your progress.

Remember, getting ripped shouldn’t be a rip-off. Do what fits your lifestyle and paygrade. And don’t sweat it! (Well, maybe sweat it a little. This is an exercise tutorial after all.)

Wishing you a year of wellness, wonderfulness, and the weight of the world not around your waistline.