If you promised yourself you’ll get fit this year, it doesn’t have to cost you much. Avoid the hefty gym fees and try one of these ideas instead.
by Alex Brophy
Every January, the population of gym promo pushers explodes. After a warm December spent in hibernation and two weeks on the beach at Byron, they emerge. Bright smiley, ready to wave flyers in the face of any passer-by without a planned route around them.
It’s a strategic phenomenon, born in board rooms around the world. It sees savvy marketing types push their brood of back-packing employees out to exploit the new year fitness resolutions of people everywhere. And, if you’ve ever been enticed in the door of one of these body-sculpting establishments, you’ll have quickly learnt how expensive their oh-so-sought-after memberships can be.
Thankfully, there are ways around this. Not only can gym pushers be avoided by keeping your eyes peeled and your footwork fancy, but you can also get fit without the whopping gym fees.
Here are four low-cost alternatives that we’ve found to be terrifically toning over the years.
Play a team sport
Team sports are a fantastic form of fitness. Over-the-hill coaches shout you through regular group exercise at an incredibly competitive rate. And on top of an authoritative drill sergeant, local sports teams usually come with the added bonus of an instant line up of new mates.
If you’ve ever moved to a new town, this is a double whammy that can’t be beat; cardio and comradery in one place.
Squats, sprints, ball skills, stamina, the whole lot can be found here. Plus, fleeting moments of former glory can be relived in a way that only you and your overly excited new peers can appreciate. Dreamy.
Cost: $300-$500 /year
Hit the local pool
If the bum-patting-encouragement of a local sports team isn’t your bit, it could be worth popping into the local Adonis-building aquatic centre. These relatively inexpensive shrines of beauty are an excellent alternative to paying gym fees.
There are few workouts that leave you walking taller than a session in the pool. With a bit of well-timed sun beaming on your back, you’ll be looking good and feeling fine in no time. God-like.
Contact your council to find your nearest public pool. Or try swimming in an ocean pool for the completely-free alternative.
Cost: $3-$7 /visit or free
Join a run/cycle club
If small shorts or skivvies are more your style, it could be time to hook up with lycra-minded enthusiasts and enforce some regularity on your fitness regime.
Because while a run-for-one can be a short, comfortable affair, the commitment of a regular gang going at a certain time, running a set distance is how you get somewhere.
Whether you take over a local café with your tightly clad new mates afterwards is up to you. You can always start with a free 5k weekend run via Parkrun.
Do it yourself – probably
It’s highly likely that a self-enforced routine will fade like your 14-year-old six pack did. But, on the off chance you have the determination and delirious drive to do it yourself, there are a whole bunch of free routines available online. YouTube exploded with at-home fitness options faster than the pandemic.
Exercise circuits for the backyard, yoga courses for your lounge room floor, weight workouts for the bars in the park. Flick through YouTube and fitness blogs for a style that suits and see if you can hold yourself to it.
After that’s proven too ambitious, revert to one of the options above.