Spring is here, and with the return of warm weather, many people feel the urge to get in shape before the skimpy fashions of summer become de rigueur. Many peeps enjoy joining a gym as the monthly membership fee gives them a psychological boost when sloth whispers, “Stay home and eat ice cream.” Membership fees come with a price, so how can folks on a tight budget afford to pump it up?

The cost of gym membership need not put fitness out of reach, because many methods exist for making facility fees more affordable. Those looking to join a fitness center without the high sticker price should try these tips.

1. Utilize Free Trials

Most every fitness facility offers free trials to entice more people to sign up for membership packages. People in urban areas with a plethora of facilities can sometimes work out for weeks without paying a dime. Free trials also provide the opportunity to scope the atmosphere out before signing up.

If possible, people should go with a group of friends who also have expressed interest in finding a new workout location. Coming in with the whole squad can sometimes result in considerable discounts, as gyms reward those who bring in business. Referral programs are another great option to shave some Gs off that months’ fees.

2. Work It

Another option is becoming a trainer or group fitness instructor. Those certified to teach or train get a free membership, plus a nice side hustle that makes going to the gym put money in their pocket instead of taking it out. Group fitness certification courses cost as little as $300, and personal training courses are a bit more. If a monthly gym membership costs $49 per month, the price of certification will pay for itself quickly.

People can also consider working for the gym in a different capacity. Some facilities need people with great personalities to work the front desk, and others need cleaning and maintenance staff.

3. Check Health Insurance

Savvy health insurance companies know that preventive care saves a ton of money in the long run. As such, many insurances will cover a gym membership either in full or in part. Not all reveal this upfront, and some only partner with certain gyms, so give insurers a call before starting a facility search.

4. Consider Company Options

Many employers value employees who take care of their health. They know fit staff members make for happier workers who call in sick less often. As such, some employers have a fitness facility on-site, while others partner with local gyms and obtain group discounts.

Those who work for companies lacking these programs can suggest this perk to their HR representative. When pitching the idea, focus on how offering this extra reward would benefit the company by minimizing sick days and preventing turnover.

5. Save on Other Expenses

Getting fit matters, but so does, say, making sure the family has enough food on the table. Consider joining a membership grocery store that helps you save money by buying in bulk. Some of these stores also offer discounts on gym memberships! So you get a double bonus by saving money on food while also getting fit on the cheap.

6. Check Community Options

Many communities have recreation centers with a wide range of workout equipment, group fitness classes, personal trainers, pools, saunas, whirlpools and more. Rec center memberships generally cost much less than many commercial gyms.

Additionally, community centers usually have child care facilities on-site, a huge plus for fitness buffs with little ones in tow. Plus, such facilities keep residents in the know about special programs, trips and other local events that can lead to new friendships.

7. Bring Fitness Home

Why drive to the gym at all when workout-at-home options also exist — and they go easy on the bank account? Home workouts also prove easier when inclement weather like snow or ice makes getting to the gym difficult.

Many online fitness streaming systems, such as DailyBurn, cost less than $20 per month and feature tons of workouts in different formats with licensed instructors. Exploring anything from dance-based workouts to Tabata to Pilates to yoga make it possible for everyone to find a fitness plan that works for their body.

Tons of people have treadmills, weights and other fitness equipment gathering dust. Check out local trade and swap sites like Craigslist, and hit up yard sales for home workout equipment on the cheap.

Fitness for Any Budget

While joining a gym motivates many to stick to their goals, those on tight budgets need not spend much to get their sweat groove on. By exploring all the options, people can start making strides toward getting that toned summer bod.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by PSECU, a Pennsylvania-based credit union.

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