From Soul Cycle and reformer Pilates to Barry’s Bootcamp and Pure Barre, there’s a reason these brand name workouts have cult-like followings: People love them and they produce results. (OK—we said one reason but there are actually quite a few.) The instructors are top-notch, the music is motivating, the showers remind you of the spa, and the workout is killer. But when the class drop-in rate is $35 and package deals cost hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars, the price rather than the workout makes you sweat. Fortunately, there are ways to enjoy your boutique fitness habit without breaking the bank. Here are our top three tips.
Many studios run introductory deals that let you take a few classes and try it out without committing to an expensive membership or class pack. A friend told us she saved money by signing up for different studios’ discounted introductory packages for several months. As soon as one package ran out, she’d find another studio with an intro deal. And repeat. She tried every fitness trend: acro yoga, boxing, ballet, Olympic powerlifting, krav maga, and more. The best part? Because she was exposing her body to so many types of movement, she got in incredible shape.
Sites like Groupon are great for this approach, too. You can purchase discounted packages at top studios. All it takes is an open mind, some Internet deal stalking, and a little attention to detail. Before signing up for these offers, read the fine print in the contract or terms. Some studios automatically enroll new clients in a regular package when their intro package runs out, unless you remember to call and cancel. There’s also nothing worse than having classes expire and wasting money. Mark the package expiration date on your calendar to avoid this.
Work to work out
By assisting the studio with maintenance or business-related tasks, you could get free or discounted classes or memberships. Most studios need help checking clients in at the front desk, cleaning and organizing equipment, or maintaining marketing channels like social media, Yelp, and the website. If you’re a marketer or writer, ask the studio if they need a hand with the newsletter. Love photography? Offer to take pictures of the instructors, space, or public classes for the studio to use for Instagram. If you have a flexible schedule, coming to class early or staying late to make sure the space is in tip-top shape is another option.
We get that asking for this can feel awkward, but remember: the worst someone can say is “no.” They’re not going to ban you from the studio. If you feel uncomfortable asking about work trade opportunities in person, try contacting the studio at their general information email address.
Sweat the small stuff
Boutique fitness studios are called “boutique” for a reason. After you finish your tough HIIT class, you’re greeted by the clothes, food and beverage, equipment, and other products in the lobby. “I just worked my butt off,” you tell yourself. “I deserve a new colorful sports bra.” But if you’re looking to save cash, try to only spend money on the workout itself. This means skipping the “Namaste in Bed” tank, $5 electrolyte-enhanced water, or smoothie bar.
If you’re a regular yogi or cycler, consider investing in your own equipment. Spending $2 on a mat, towel, or shoe rental can quickly add up. Using this money for your own mat or spinning shoes can save you money in the long-term if you’re truly committed to the exercise. Plus, they are yours and haven’t been previously worn by anyone else. We’re all about decisions that benefit our wallet and hygiene.
Next time you sign up for a hot fitness class, keep these tips in mind. First, visit the website to check for new client specials. Does Groupon have a deal? We know the essential oil-infused towels are tempting and oh-so-refreshing, but why not bring your own from home and save a couple of bucks? Last but not least: Don’t forget to thank the instructor or person working the front desk. Hey, why not introduce yourself while you’re at it? Who knows, you may negotiate a sweet work trade deal the next time you come.