Monday, October 8, 2012

How to save on fitness classes

I really love taking group fitness classes. I find that I push myself a lot harder when I feel accountable to someone and when I see others pushing themselves. I've fallen in love with several boutique fitness studios around the city, but this being Manhattan, their prices can be a bit steep, especially on my student budget. I should note that I'm not exactly on an undergrad budget since I worked at a law firm this summer, but I still don't have a steady stream of income so I have to watch how much I'm spending.


Here are a few strategies that I use to save money:

1. Take a class at an athletic clothing or sporting goods store
A lot of athletic clothing stores and sporting good stores have free classes, run clubs, etc. that you can sign up for or drop by. Lululemon has free yoga classes and run clubs at their stores, Athleta does a variety of in-store classes like boot camps and pilates, and JackRabbit Sports has run clubs and other classes. Most of these are free, and a great way to meet other fitness-minded individuals in the city. Check out your local store's website for a calendar.

2. Follow your favorite studios, stores, teachers, and bloggers on Twitter and Facebook
Whenever a studio has a discount or special, they'll tweet it or post about it on Facebook. For example, on Uplift Studio's 6 month anniversary, they made class packages 20% off for one day only. I was able to buy a 5-class pack, which is already a bit cheaper, bringing the cost to $25 per class instead of $32, a savings of $7 per class. Stores also tweet about their free classes and run clubs.

Additionally, teachers occasionally do free workshops or outdoor classes in the summer. By following an instructor, you can be in the loop on anything they're doing. I was able to attend an awesome class with Kristin McGee and get some samples of a really tasty on-the-go protein shake by following her on Twitter and seeing her tweet about the event. Popular bloggers also do giveaways of classes or set up free workshops sometimes. I won a free class to Uplift in a giveaway on Mariell's blog,, and attended a great yoga for runners class with Kristin McGee hosted by Ashley of

3. Attend class a few times, then buy DVD's
Physique 57 and Core Fusion all have DVD's of their classes. If you attend a few classes so that you can get pointers on form, you can then get a lot more out of the DVD's. The DVD's are typically much cheaper than a single class, so it's a good way to keep up a practice you enjoy without spending $30 per class.

4. Subscribe to Groupon and Gilt City-type emails
Lots of studios and gyms will feature deals on sites like Groupon or Gilt City. I find that Gilt City in particular has some great studios; they've had steeply discounted packs of classes to Uplift Studios, Flywheel, Core Fusion, and Pure Barre, just to name a few. Buying a 3-pack of classes on Gilt to a studio you haven't tried before can also be a great way to discover a new favorite!

5. Ask about corporate/student discounts or influencer incentives
A lot of studios have student or corporate discounts. If you present your student ID to Physique 57, you get a 15% discount on packages and individual classes. Although you have to call to make reservations if you want to use the discount, it's a small price to pay to save almost $5 per class. Strala Yoga is normally $15 for a drop-in class, but drops their price to an astoundingly cheap $10 for student drop-ins!

Some studios will also have influencer incentives where they give you free classes if you bring in new clients. I've been able to get several free classes at Physique 57 by bringing in my friends (who all fell in love with the studio, so now I have more friends to attend classes with!).

6. Buy packages of classes
Just like at the grocery store, buying in bulk is cheaper. If you decide you really love a studio, investing in a package of classes can save a lot of money, depending on how much the studio chops off the class price for packages. Uplift Studios shaves $2 off the price of each class with a 5-pack, $3.50 off with a 10-pack, and $5 off per class with a 20-pack.

7. Look out for free "community" classes
Off the top of my head, I know that Pure Yoga and SoulCycle both do free community classes. Obviously these are hard to get into since everyone wants a spot, but if you make signing up a priority on the day they're available, you should be able to grab a bike or mat. Contact studios you like to see if they have similar programs.

8. Read city-dedicated fitness websites
Sites like Well+Good NYC always have the latest information on free classes and workshops around the city. Well + Good published a summer guide that listed all sorts of free outdoor classes around the city. If you're in a city like New York, there are constantly awesome fitness events that are often free, and by getting on mailing lists of sites like Well+Good, you'll be the first to hear about them and ensure yourself a spot!

A few other notes:
  • I don't really drink much, and I don't go out to eat too frequently. (I use "frequently" in the New York sense, meaning every night, not the normal sense, which would be like once a week) I'm able to save money in those areas which enables me to take classes that I love. If I ate out or went bar-hopping frequently, I would definitely not be able to take as many fun fitness classes as I do, so it's a trade-off.
  • RateYourBurn has an epic catalogue of beginner discounts and free classes in New York here. Trying out new classes is always a great way to re-motivate yourself!

Do you have any tips for making those addicting fitness classes more affordable?


  1. There are certain yoga studios that pride themselves on offering affordable yoga.

    Yoga to the People, which is found in NY, SF, Seattle & Berkeley, offers cheap yoga classes ($10 suggested donation).

    Even better if you live in Astoria is Yoga Agora, whose 1 hr 15 min Vinyasa class can be had for $5. I love Yoga Agora because they're the exception to the rule that you get what you paid for.

    1. I've been meaning to go to Yoga to the People, but I hadn't heard of Yoga Agora. I'll have to get out there sometime!

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