10 ways to lose weight, not your wallet

Head to any gym right now and chances are it’s way more crowded than usual. Every January, people dive into fitness in droves, hoping to stick to that ever-popular New Year’s resolution of getting into shape. Sure, the spin and Pilates classes might be packed, but now’s also a great time to lose weight without losing your wallet.

Here’s how.

Join a fundraising team
Whether you’re walking, running, swimming, biking, rowing or doing some other sport for charity, there’s a good chance that the event in question will offer free training. Consider it working out for the greater good.

Visit your community centre
Community centres often offer fantastic programming at rates that are downright irresistible compared to those of swanky boutique studios. You – and your bank account-- might be pleasantly surprised.

Volunteer
Community centres are always looking for extra help, and some of them will let you access group classes or fitness facilities for free if you’re willing to pitch in regularly.

Work out through the workplace
If your company doesn’t have a corporate rate at a nearby gym, ask about setting up an account. It may take as few as 10 people to get in on a group discount.

If that’s not happening, is there a spare meeting room or other space that could be turned into a mini gym at noon hour? Inquire about purchasing some simple equipment—free weights, body balls, yoga mats, resistance bands — or have people pitch in or bring in their own gear and get moving with your colleagues. There are also mobile fitness companies that will bring an instructor right to your boardroom.

Work out at home
Just as at the office, a small investment can yield big results when it comes to fitness. You don’t even have to buy the aforementioned weights and bands. There are a ton of exercises you can do in a small space that only require your own body weight as resistance. Google some or search for instructional videos on YouTube. And don't forget about fitness DVDs at your local library.

Negotiate a gym membership
Fitness clubs love January, and you can bet they’ve got sales reps working overtime to lure in new members and sell memberships. Some places pour on the pressure, saying that to get a deal you’ve got to sign on the spot. Go in ready to negotiate and if you don’t like what they’re offering, dig in your heels and either insist on a better price or walk away. It’s a competitive marketplace, and if you’ve got the gumption to haggle, go for it.

Ask about a trial pass
Most gyms offer some kind of trial period for a great rate — maybe it’s a two-week pass at a yoga studio – or even a few free visits. This allows you to get in a few workouts while assessing whether a particular gym suits your needs.

Fitness fads that are a waste of money
With Americans spending upwards of $60 billion a year on fitness fads, it’s safe to say dieting and fitness is a national obsession. Financial Expert Farnoosh Torabi and Fitness Magazine partner to give a list of the trends that aren’t worth the money.

Pore over the details
Be sure you know exactly what you’re buying. Some clubs might offer what seems to be a great monthly rate, but look a little closer and maybe that fee doesn’t include yoga classes or use of the pool. By the same token, if you’re only going to use the weight room, ask about passes that are a lower price than those that grant all-access.

Inquire about discounts
It’s possible the gym has special rates for students, seniors and family members but don’t advertise them. Ask.

Consider sharing a trainer
One way to learn specific, effective exercises is to hire a personal trainer, and although that might sound like a luxury, a couple of sessions can give you enough information to keep you going over the long term for those at-home workouts. Bring a friend or two and split the cost.

Fitness fads that are a waste of moneyWith Americans spending upwards of $60 billion a year on fitness fads, it’s safe to say dieting and fitness is a national obsession. Financial Expert Farnoosh Torabi and Fitness Magazine partner to give a list of the trends that aren’t worth the money.

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