Fitness in a recession means balancing physical health with financial health. The average cost of a gym membership is between $40 and $50 a month. After tacking on a membership fee, payments can run upwards of $750 a year. Yet, data show "42 percent of club members attend their clubs less than 50 days per year," resulting in $15 gym sessions. If the goal is to shrink that bulge under your clothes, you'll do it, but it will be coming from your wallet, not your spare tire. Before you sign a contract, consider these three frugal tips:
Avoid the commitment — You don't have to be rich or famous to have a personal trainer. Carole Yeong says, "Making an investment in your health is very important when making the decision to be physically fit, but that doesn't have to cost a fortune. A personal trainer can work with your personal financial needs as well as individually tailor your workouts." As a certified trainer and spokeswoman for GoddessFit in Austin, Texas, Carole is working with clients during this economic time by offering discounts for partner training and setting up homework for days when she's not meeting with clients. Getting a trainer also means avoiding contracts and sign-up fees.
DIY living room gym — Exercise at home, for free. Yeong says that getting a little workout time in at home doesn't have to be about sacrificing your leisure time. She suggests, "Workout during the commercials when you're watching TV." She gives her clients plenty of practical things to do at home, including dips and modified push-up with your dining room chair. She also suggests doing curls with gallon water jugs and using the stairs for calf raises and lunges.
Invest in long-term — Maybe you do go to the gym often but only use the free weights or treadmill and avoid everything else. Consider purchasing some equipment for less than the price of an annual gym membership. Browse Craigslist for used equipment and set yourself up with the tools to stay fit without setting foot inside the gym again.