This was inspired by Jocelynne Flor’s recent post, “5 Ways To Get Fit On A Budget.” Her guide is mostly tailored to Torontonians, so I figured I would do one tailored to New Yorkers (although most of these can be used by anyone anywhere). Also, her list includes a measly 5 ways get fit, while my list includes a record 7. And her ways are on a budget, while mine are free. Plus, NYC is better than Toronto, so… I WIN!
All joking aside, Jocelynne’s page has AMAZING recipes, fitness/lifestyle articles and more so you should definitely check it out.
- Where: Online
- What: Channels like Blogilates, Fitness Blender (see below), Tone It Up, Yoga With Adriene
- Pros: Free workouts! There are a TON of channels out there so just do your research and try out a bunch of them to see what you like best.
- Cons: It might be hard to do at-home workouts if you live in a tiny apartment (as most of us do in NY).
- Personal notes: Yoga With Adriene is my favorite channel for yoga. Fitness Blender is my favorite for everything else!
- Where: Online
- What: Full-length workout videos that vary in length, type (strength training, cardio, stretching, etc.), difficulty, focus (core, upper body, lower body, etc.), and equipment needed.
- Pros: Everything is completely free and the workouts are actually challenging and effective. They even have free nutrition and workout programs if you want to take your fitness to the next level. I also really like that they have a good amount of workouts that don’t require any equipment– just a mat.
- Cons: You need a decent amount of space to do these workouts (which, again, can be hard in tiny NYC apartments). You might also need some weights, depending on which workouts you choose.
- Personal notes: This one goes hand-in-hand with the first bullet, but I thought it deserved its own spot because it is my favorite online resource for exercise. It is amazing that every single thing they offer is not only free, but of high quality.
3. BBG (Bikini Body Guide)
- Where: Online/Printed PDF
- What: Kayla Itsine’s 12-week training program that involves resistance training, cardio, and stretching. There are three 28-minute resistance training (aka strength training) sessions every week. The sessions get increasingly harder as the weeks progress. You can pay for the program, but you can also download it for free if you do a simple Google search.
- Pros: This program is extremely effective and will definitely make you stronger. She also provides a nutritional guide which is helpful if you are trying to lose weight. This program is good if you are looking to pack a lot in a short period of time– all you need is 30 minutes.
- Cons: There is some equipment involved (benches, weights, medicine ball, etc.) so it might be better to do this at a gym rather than at home. However, if you are willing to buy some weights and improvise the rest using a table, couch, etc., this is totally doable at home as well.
- Personal notes: I’ve only completed the resistance training portion of BBG since I was simultaneously training for a half marathon at the time that I started it. You can read my full review of the program HERE. Essentially, it KICKED MY BUTT and was so much harder than I thought it would be. I ended up with a six pack that actually lasted longer than the few hours after waking up (it would disappear by dinnertime though…). Do it if you’re looking for a challenge.
- Where: Outside
- What: Run… outside. Need I say more?
- Pros: You can do it at any time, it’s easy, and free (well… almost. You should probably buy yourself some running shoes).
- Cons: If you’re out of shape, you will probably hate it at first. However, if you’re consistent with it you will eventually learn to love it… I promise :)
- Personal notes: This is honestly the easiest way to get fit IMO. All you have to do is get your butt outside. If you’re worried about not being a ‘runner,’ and therefore unqualified to ‘run,’ YOU.ARE.A.RUNNER. So just go for it.
- Where: Various locations in Manhattan/Brooklyn, San Francisco, and one in Arizona.
- What: Donation-based yoga classes. There are vinyasa, hot yoga, and hot vinyasa classes.
- Pros: Free yoga classes! They do suggest a $10 donation, but it’s not necessary. And still, $10 is a lot better than the standard $30+ classes you find (at least in NYC). The guys that come to the classes are generally really good looking too, so… that’s also a bonus.
- Cons: Since the classes are meant for everyone, they keep the difficulty level pretty low. They can also get pretty crowded, as it’s first-come first-serve. Bring your own mat if you’re a germi-phobe.
- Personal notes: I think their mission to make yoga available to everyone is SO cool. It’s also a fun, free way to hang out with friends.
- Where: NYC and cities all over the US
- What: A fitness movement that started in Boston to encourage everyone to stay in shape through the winter. All of their workouts are free, and the only requirement is to show up. From what I understand, the workouts involve running and strength/circuit training. NYC members meet every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
- Pros: It’s free, you get to meet new people and join a community.
- Cons: The meet-up spots can be hard to get to, and it takes a lot of internal motivation to go to the workouts.
- Personal notes: I’ve never been to a November Project workout, so I don’t really have anything to add here, but maybe I will go to one soon and report back!
7. Shape Up NYC
- Where: Various locations throughout NYC (all five boroughs)
- What: A free, drop-in fitness program with classes all around the city. The types of classes include yoga, zumba, body-sculpt, dance, bootcamp and more. You don’t need to be a member of the center that the classes are held at in order to attend the classes. Just show up– no registration is needed either.
- Pros: It’s like a free version of ClassPass! There is a surprisingly large amount of classes to choose from, all of which you can find on their site.
- Cons: You need to bring your own lock, towels, shampoo/conditioner, etc. so it’s not quite as nice as going to a gym.
- Personal notes: I’ve never attended a Shape Up NYC class, so I don’t have much to add, but this seems like an awesome resource for those who love taking fitness classes but can’t afford a gym membership.
And since you made it this far down the article, I thought I’d reward you with a bonus…
8. BONUS: Equinox (Or simply, The ‘Nox)
- Where: Throughout the USA/UK/Canada
- What: This gym has, you know, the bare necessities needed for a great workout. $9 juice? Check. Aromatherapy? Check. Teeth-whitening? Check. Eucalyptus-infused face towels? Check. $200 membership fee? Check.
- Pros: You will feel like the cool, popular kid you always wanted to be in HS. You’re all kickin’ it in your Lulus and Nike Frees, toweling off with refreshing, anti-inflammatory towels, and finishing your workouts with raw/vegan/gluten-free juices.
- Cons: You may experience a decent amount of cognitive dissonance due to the price tag associated with the ‘Nox. This may lead to attempts to validate the membership by telling yourself things like, “This is the only way I would get myself to the gym,” or, “I would be spending this money on booze anyway.”
- So how is this free, you ask? Because joining a lifestyle movement, however bougie it is, is priceless. ;)