saving money at the gym

Getting Fit Without A Gym Membership

Saving money at the gym

Did you know that the average gym member only darkens the door of their chosen gym 2 times or less per week? Did you also know that at least half of all gym members stop going entirely by month 6 after they sign up?

Based on some of these statistics, it seems that getting fit without a gym membership is a better option. This is great news for those who can’t afford expensive gym memberships or who don’t get motivated by getting sweaty with strangers.

Instead of putting your fitness routine into a (gym) box, why not create a fun and fit home workout routine? This can save you lots of money while also ensuring you drop the excuses for why you don’t make it to the gym regularly.

After all, most of us spend at least part of our day at home, so may as well make the most of it!

Before we launch into why a home fitness routine is superior to a gym routine, let me introduce myself. My name is Jenn, and I was once a morbidly obese girl from Wisconsin. In my senior year of college, I realized that topping the scales at 285 pounds was not serving me, or my goals to be a long-lived role model for future generations. Within one year, I dropped 100 pounds using all the low-cost tools I had at my disposal as a broke college student.

Now, I am a 40-year old marathon runner and mom to two beautiful girls and wife to a man from India. I also help other women create their own personal path to body bliss through my company Weightless, using the same process I used over 18 years ago.

Back in my college days, I used the free rec center pass I had at the University of Minnesota. Once I graduated, I knew that gym workouts were just not for me. If you find yourself reluctant to hit the gym, they may not be for you, either. Or, in the case of my fellow blogger friend, Meghan, by the time she got her 6 kids ready to hit the gym, she was already exhausted!

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Here Are 3 Immediate Benefits To Creating A Home Fitness Routine:

  1. Cost effective– you do not need to purchase ANY equipment in order to get fit at home. In fact, you often have equipment around your house you can use to get to that next fitness level (think milk cartons, canned foods, or even your young kids)
  2. Time efficient– it takes approximately 2 years to get ready to go the gym, between packing your clothes, water bottle, driving to the location, changing, waiting for your preferred machine(s), showering, and driving to your next destination. Home workouts can be completed in less than 40 minutes (including warm up/cool down). Bonus! No group shower situations.
  3. Role modelling– when your kids see you work out, they do one of two things: a) they join you or b) they learn that exercise is a priority- not just for you, but for the household.

Now That We Know The Benefits Of Creating A Home Workout Routine, Let’s Get Into Setting The Right Stage For It.

According to Charles Duhigg, who authored “The Power of Habit”, the best way to make any habit “sticky” is to create the right environmental cue to trigger the habit.

Here are simple ways to set the right environmental cues for your home “gym”:

  1. Create a dedicated workout space, and keep your tools (if you use them) visible. It is extremely important to make sure this area is uncluttered, clean, and always ready for you to get your sweat on. If you have tools, keep them visible instead of tucked away.
  2. Keep a fitness journal/calendar in the space- and note down the date/time/workout you do. This is just as important as tracking what you eat. Not only will it help you identify your current fitness level, but it gives you a chance to celebrate your progress.
  3. Make sure you have at least 2-3 appropriate fitness outfits you can wear to workout at home, including a supportive exercise bra and breathable fabrics. There’s no need to buy super high-end workout clothes- I purchased several sets of awesome plus-size workout gear at consignment stores. If you struggle with motivation, wear the workout clothes to bed before a morning workout, or put them on as soon as you decide to workout. Shoes are optional for home workouts!

Remember, bodyweight exercises are completely fine for the beginner workout enthusiast, and even into intermediate level. However, I recommend the use of basic fitness tools that are less than $20 at many local retailers. Some of my favorite basic tools include:

  • resistance bands (without handles)
  • ankle weights
  • cardio core ball
  • adjustable dumbbell set
  • medicine ball.

These tools add an additional 2-30 pounds of weight for your muscle development, or as well as additional range of motion.

Now, it’s time to choose your preferred exercise. Generally, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) exercises are the easiest and most effective workouts to start with. These are the workouts that really get your heart rate up and the sweat pouring, even in as little as 7 minutes (speaking of 7 minutes, have you tried the J&J 7 minute app?

They also tend to be repetitive exercises that are easy to do without being susceptible to injury, and may even take you back to your elementary days. Once you establish a few core moves, you simply repeat the sets as long as you can maintain- or in 15-minute segments.

These include exercises such as high knees, figure skaters, mountain climbers, burpees, jumping jacks, jump squats, push-ups, tricep dips, lunges, crunches, and bridges.

There are plenty of HIIT workouts you can find on Pinterest, YouTube or similar websites. No need to buy a program- many of these are completely free resources!

What if that feels a bit too intense for your current activity level? That is when dance might be a great option for you! When I was at my highest weight, the high intensity was not a good fit for me, as it put a lot of pressure on my knees and back. However, dance is a full body workout that can help you slim and sculpt while jamming to your favourite tunes!

You can find plenty of dance DVDs- even at your local library (which might be a fun walk down memory lane for some). I really enjoy the 10 Minute Solutions series, especially with Jenifer Galardi

If you prefer streaming dance workouts to your Smart TV, my favorite channel is SuperherofitnessTV ,or for very short but peppy dance routines, try the FitnessMarshall

If you want to follow certain choreography, you might want to use a ClassPass to try out some options within your local community. I have found great studios nearby using this route, or you can try your local Community Education centers, many of which have drop-in days.

With a drop-in day, you just show up for one class before deciding to try to the series. Once you find an option you like, check out Groupon for any discounted pass options.

If cardio is a challenge for you, don’t hesitate to try a weight lifting routine at home. Women over the age of 35 tend to lose bone density as we age, and weight lifting is a great way to counteract that.

In fact, because women traditionally focus more on cardio, we are more susceptible to having tight hips, bad backs, and poor posture. At least, that is what my chiropractic friends say.

Before starting with a weight lifting routine at home, please familiarize yourself with proper form. Again, Pinterest or Youtube will be your friend here. A good rule of thumb with weight training is to do either arms or legs (you can choose whether abs are part of arms or legs) and alternate the days you do those. You should aim to lift until failure (i.e. you cannot lift one more), and leave at least 48 hours between subsequent workouts. Never work through pain or injury- but soreness is a sign you are doing well!

Home fitness routines have many benefits over gym routines. Whether you are a dedicated gym rat, or someone who hasn’t ever consistently exercised before, you can create a home fitness routine towards your best health in less time with even less money.

If you are curious about whether home fitness is for you, check out my free Workout Style quiz, and find out how to workout smarter (not harder). Not only does the Workout Style quiz help you find the right type of training for you, but I also provide a free guide to get started.

Guest Writer
Jennifer Espinosa-Goswami Professional Speaker & Weight Loss Coach at Weightless LLC

86 thoughts on “Getting Fit Without A Gym Membership

  1. As a certified personal trainer, and a huge lover of the gym… I can absolutely say with certainty I agree with where you’re coming from! Whatever makes YOU comfortable, in terms of working out, regardless if it’s at a gym, or at home, you just have to get it done! So many of us love gyms, while others hate it, and would rather workout in the comfort of their own home, and that’s awesome! Loved this post girl!

    1. At times, gyms are the best place to work out, especially with professional trainers like you, Laura. Thank you for the work you do- whether on location or online, it’s important to know what you’re doing.

  2. Great post, but I’m a little on the fence about it. On the one hand, now I know I can get a good workout at home even if I don’t have time to go to the gym. However, on the other hand, knowing this has now taken away my excuse for not working out. LOL

    1. I feel you on that one (Elizabeth, Tired Mom Supermom) but my guest poster Jen is so motivational, she may have convinced even me to start working out at home.

    1. Glad it’s working out for you, Subhashish. We can get caught up in keeping up with the Joneses when it comes to fitness. But, if you found a path that feels good to you- don’t change it!

  3. I really liked it when I had a home gym routine going. Now I work two jobs and have other responsibilities that aren’t super close to my house, so the best thing is usually to go to the gym when I have free time between obligations (quicker than going home!). But mostly I’m a runner so I try to do that outside anywhere I can!

  4. I used to manage health clubs early on in my career and the majority of people who join a gym in January go for about 1-2 months and you never see them again. It is true that there are so many good DVDs and APPs now for fitness that there is no excuse to not get a workout in. For me, I have to be in a gym as I am more motivated if I have to leave to do it (weird I know), That being said if I miss a day or travel I do use APPS to stay in my routine. Great article for those looking to workout at home!

    1. Yes, it can be sobering that many ditch the gym once resolutions fade, Scott. I once heard that gyms are encouraged to sign up more memberships than the fire code allows for the building- which is intriguing. Sometimes, the gym environment can be the additional push to get it done. Thanks for commenting!

  5. Awesome post! These are some great ideas to workout without a membership! Have you heard of Classpass? It’s a great app I use where for a decent monthly price you can take classes at studios around your city! If you want to try it you can use my link and we each get $40 off! It sounds like it may be a good fit for you to try if you’re interested in classes on days you dont want to work out at home but dont want to commit to a studio!


  6. It is sooo true. I’ve had gym memberships on several occasion. The last one I’m still paying for 2 years later, but I haven’t gone since the second month. They definitely know how to make the money. I’m so glad to see what you have here. I’m going to check out the links and look for something I an do from home. And my gym membership… Bye,bye! Thank you.

    1. So excited for you to try these out, Melody! Let me know which your favorites are- and you can get accountability in my FB group Weight no More, if you’d like.

  7. I’ve learned a lot about getting fit at home by reading this. Mostly making a dedicated space to workout. I find truly helpful.

  8. I honestly swear by at-home workouts. I also love group workout classes, like barre or hot yoga! So fun and a great way to use your body as equipment!

  9. Great tips! I do my best fitness-ing in group classes, so I have to go into the gym for it. I wish I could just stay home and get a workout in. It’d save money and time!

  10. These are great tips. I had to give up my gym membership when I chose to be a SAHM. I will definitely incorporate some of these ideas. Thank you!

  11. It really is possible to make a lovely and fulfilling at home workout routine. I was one of those people who wasted my moolah on a gym membership I barely used. I’m all about the at home workout these days. And I adore your helpful advice! Thank you ♡

  12. I love this! And I can so relate to what you said about not wanting to step foot into a gym! I played Division 1 basketball in college & I seriously never want to step in a gym ever again haha no exaggeration! Home workouts can be SO effective if you find something you enjoy doing. For me finding a more gentle way to move my body at home has made all of the difference!

    -madi xo |

  13. Was actually looking for ways to stay fit without having to go to the gym (which i hate). This blog will really help me. I also think that working out helps you to be in a better mindset for the rest of the day.

  14. Great post! I personally find that it’s not so much about the location but discipline! I used to live in a condo in Canada that had a gym in the building and I barely ever went. Now that I have a husband, we’re accountable to each other and we go to the gym together!

  15. I loved how she breaks down everything and we do not need expensive gym memberships. Spring is here and it just motivates me to get my butt out there and start exercising more

  16. With 6 kids I do not have time for the gym but I have made time for myself in my own gym at home ? great tips…I especially love the idea of setting aside gym clothes…genius!

  17. I am the type of person who really dislikes the gym! I feel super uncomfortable there and just don’t like it so I work out at home.

  18. This was me. I got a gym membership then quit a month later because my daughter refused to play in their daycare and I was called to pick her up ever day after 20 minutes of being there. I now go on a walk everyday but I’m going to try some of this!

  19. I love this post! I have never been to the gym and I just workout at home. Your post just further proves that it is possible to work out at home and it cost so little.

  20. my husband built an awesome area for weightlifting in our garage, all that stuff can be expensive (especially if you want nice equipment) but in the long run it definitely pays off!

  21. These are great tips! I have 3 kids and work full time. It has been so hard to do anything more for exercise besides chasing my toddler around and running up and down stairs on the weekends. These gave me so great ideas of where to start.

  22. I’m all about home workouts! I love the Tone It Up girls’ workout videos. I used to have a gym membership in the past, but it was such a waste of money that I didn’t have really. I’m planning to start getting back to daily workouts to build up my stamina.

  23. This is perfect. My husband and I just started working out at home to get ourselves back into shape. I love it. I love being able to do it on my own time especially with three littles running around. Half of the time they join me which is great! I hope I encourage them with staying in shape.

  24. I strongly believe gym is not needed to get fit, it is mere an instrument useful for many people. if you have passion it it more than enough to get fit

  25. I never even thought of signing up for a gym membership. I am too lazy to drive to the nearest one and I think it is just a waste of money. Just doing everyday tasks at home is exercise in itself. I don’t have anything against people who go to the gym, this is just my own opinion.

  26. I prefer to workout at home. This makes it quicker, cheaper, and I don’t have to worry about forgetting something when I go to the gym.

  27. I am a big fan of at home workouts. I was a coach for a company for a few years promoting at home workouts and although I am not a coach anymore I still tell everyone about how good working out from home can be. Saves time and money and is so much more convenient.

  28. Great great advice that comes in handy. I’ve alwayw loved doing sports and going to the gym, that was never a problem for me, but now I’m temporarily on a low budget and decided not to sign up for the gym.. and while when the sun’s out I happily run to take my bike, on most days I have to excercise indoor, at home.. your post ‘s helped me get a punch and some more motivation! Thank you!

  29. there are so many ways to get fit without a gym membership! personally, I love Kayla Itsines’ BBG program! It’s seriously the best haha <3

  30. I gave up my gym membership since I mostly ran and was too tired to cross-train. I used what I would spend on a gym membership and invested in a pair of commercial grade spin bikes for my husband and I for our home.

  31. Very well said, dear. Its also good to consider being a role model to our children so that they will be encouraged to exercise for a healthy body.

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