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- A gym membership is a great way to get your exercise in, but it’s not convenient for everyone.
- Luckily, there are great alternatives to the traditional gym membership that still help you get your daily workouts in.
- If you’re trying to save money, or are looking for a workout routine that fits with your schedule, the top three services we recommend are ClassPass, POPiN, and Aaptiv.
I love having a gym membership. My gym is conveniently located near both my apartment and my office, so getting there is easy. I enjoy balancing my own workouts with the classes my gym offers, like yoga and cycling, and I love being able to have control over when I work out. Sometimes I’m a morning person, sometimes I find I’m more productive after work. And, my gym has a sauna. I love saunas.
In my case, I feel as though I’m getting my money’s worth, and my gym membership is an expense I’ll continue to factor into my budget.
For many people though, a traditional gym membership just doesn’t check out. Some people just don’t like working out on their own and would prefer the direction of a fitness instructor, some people just don’t have the time to get there. Plus, gym memberships can be expensive – if you’re not visiting the gym often, you may feel like it’s just a waste of money.
The good news is, these days there are plenty of alternatives to the classic gym membership. These services can make working out more cost-effective, and help you find a fitness routine that works with your schedule.
Keep reading for an overview of three fitness alternatives that are cheaper than your gym membership:
What it is: POPiN is a free app that lets users work out at participating gyms through a pay-as-you-go-model. The concept is that you can “pop in” to gyms and health clubs (currently only in NYC) and only pay for the exact amount of time that you work out, down to the minute. Just download the app and browse the participating locations nearby – POPiN provides pictures, lists of amenities, class offerings, and even directions of how to get to the gym.
When you go to the gym, check in by showing them your app and scanning the QR code – from there the clock starts ticking. Work out for as long or as little as you’d like – POPiN’s rates are per minute, so you don’t have to worry about wasting any money on a longer-than-necessary session. When you’re ready to go, check out by scanning your app again. After that scan, you’ll immediately get a summary of how much time you spent at the gym and how much your session cost. If you live in NYC, travel here often, or are planning a visit soon, this app is definitely worth getting. It’s free to download and there’s no commitment, but it can come in handy if you need some flexible, affordable workouts during your travels or between busy days at work.
What it costs: Rates vary from $0.13 to $0.38 a minute. An hour workout session could be as little as $7.80 or as much as $22.80.
Read our full review of POPiN here
What it is: ClassPass is a membership service that lets you take classes at all kinds of boutique fitness studios, but for a much cheaper price. ClassPass uses a credit system, so you pay a monthly fee for a certain number of credits, which you can put towards classes. Monthly pricing differs based on location and how many credits you’d like each month. Different classes cost a different amounts of credits – so, let’s say you love going to a specific low-credit yoga class, you will likely squeeze more classes out of your monthly membership than someone who loves a high-credit boxing class. Regardless, you can always add more credits to your account if you find yourself running out before the month is over.
ClassPass has thousands of boutique fitness classes in its system, so it’s a great option if you love taking classes and want to try something new. Plus, ClassPass has a great free trial program where you can get two weeks to a month (depends on where you live) free, so you can try the service for a solid amount of time before paying for a membership.
What it costs: Pricing varies by location. Regardless of location, the cheapest membership is $29 per month, while the most expensive is $159 per month.
Read our full review of ClassPass here
What it is: Aaptiv is a convenient app that gives you access to audio-based personal training sessions on your phone. For a $15 monthly fee, you get unlimited access more than 2,500 classes for all kinds of workouts – everything from running, elliptical, rowing, race training, yoga, and even stretching routines. These workouts are designed and led, by certified personal trainers – the only difference is they’re not in a room with you. Instead, they’re leading you through your headphones. This means you can do these classes anytime, anywhere, and follow along at your own pace. It’s a good balance between working out on your own (when you may lack motivation) and working out in a group class (where you may be intimidated). Each week, Aaptiv adds 30 news classes, so you’ll always have something new to try. The plethora of categories makes it easy to engage in different kinds of workouts every day. At $15 a month it’s very affordable – but if you’re on the fence, you can sign up for a week-long free trial first.
How much it is: $14.99 a month, after a week-long free trial.
Read our full review of Aaptiv here