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How Can I Stay In Shape If I Cant Afford A Gym Membership?

Updated on February 2, 2016

Should you even pay for a membership?

Growing up as an athlete, i always wanted to improve my body physically. I wanted to be faster , stronger, and push myself even harder. I didn't know about gyms when i was younger, i was about 14 years old and just wanted to keep up with my peers physically. Gyms are suppose to be a place for you to get fit and physically healthy.There are many gyms out there from Planet Fitness to Crunch with price range from $20 to $150 a month. However, i have discovered many alternatives to the traditional gym memberships that people should consider.These alternatives are simple and will save you alot of money.

NYC's Recreation Center Weight Room

If your fortunate like me and your from NYC, you have free access to the city's resources. New York City has recreation centers in all five boroughs, and it is filled with all kinds of fun activities such as swimming, basketball , tennis, handball, weight rooms, etc. If you are under the age of 18, then this facility is free for you (LUCKY!) , however, if you are over 18, then you will have to pay a small fee of $25 per year to use the facility. This is a golden price for what you are given, compared to the $60 - $115 per month memberships you pay at other gyms. I was in the dark about my own city's resources until one of my co workers shed the light by introducing me to these recreation centers. Their equipment are up to par with what you will get at more expensive gyms like NYSC.

Do some research and find out your city's recreation centers! (for NYC residence the link to recreation center website is below).


Resistance Bands

Leg Press with resistant bands
Leg Press with resistant bands

If your up for it and willing to try new things.Then another alternative to gym memberships is to invest in resistance bands.I would recommend these over any free weights or home gyms for home workouts. Resistance bands are great for all ages and gender, and are ideal for people recovering from injury or not ready for weights.

Resistance bands are greatly underestimated in our society, not only can they create the same results as free weights but they are portable , safer, and easier to manage. Instead of buying a home gym that cost thousands of dollars just go for a $40 resistant band bundle.You will get bands with many different levels of resistance. They are truly a smart investment as they can fit in your bag for travel, and are great for beginners as well. The workouts with resistance band are very identical to the workouts from free weights.

Dr. Jim Stoppani discusses the difference between free wights and resistance bands in more detail, link below.

University Gym

Every college with a sports team has a fitness facility.Although, not all universities have facilities that are up to par with an actual GYM, it has all the basics you need for training.More importantly, it is free for the students to use.Technically, the student is paying for this facility as part of their tuition. I have seen many college students pay out of pocket for private gyms when they dont really need to, when they have free access to one at their university.

Plus finding a gym partner wouldn't be difficult as you would most likely surrounded with familiar classmates and students.

Find a Sport

There are a ton of sports out their for different people and ages.Weather you are a team player or a lone wolf. Playing sports is the most effective way to staying fit without a gym membership, because you are staying in shape and active while having fun. Seriously while run on a treadmill when you can play soccer? Below are a few sports that burn calories and keep you active.There are tons of other sports out there you can try.

  • Tennis - Tennis without doubt the best way to pass your time leisurely and improve your health.I once thought this sport was boring, but it was actually really fun when i started playing. Playing tennis helps in moving your body and keeps your mind alert. Since it is a low-impact sport, you don’t need a lot of strength and skills to play the game.It is a good option for toning.
  • Football or soccer is one of the few universal sports. As it engages players to run fast and slow - with sudden balance shifts. This helps to build stamina and works for interval training too. Being a continuous game, it is extremely effective for fitness and cardiovascular health.
  • Volleyball is one of the best sports for a workout This sport helps you burn calories and improves your muscular system.
  • Swimming is the best way to help your body cool down during summer. Since, swimming involves your entire body; it is the best full-body workout. It helps you to relax, builds endurance, tones your muscles, maintains a healthy weight and improves flexibility.
  • Dancing is an amazingly fun activity. It allows people to enjoy, socialize and develop creative skills. Dancing for 30 minutes helps to keep the body active, helps to improve strength and flexibility, improves posture and balance, reduces stress levels and burns calories.

Body Weight Exercises (The Basics)

No gym? No Equipment, No Problem. Getting fit does not have to be complicated.Body weight exercises are simple and can be done anywhere.If your serious about body building then you should master body weight exercises first. Your body is a temple and you need to figure out what your capabilities are. How can you be sure you can lift anything if you cant even do 10 push ups? Benefits of body weight training includes:

  1. Free
  2. Versatile, many different variations
  3. Can be done anywhere
  4. Improves movement
  5. Improves relative strength
  6. Maintain and tone muscles

Practice Yoga

Yoga works not just your body but your body and soul.It is often overlooked in society because the media does not promote it as a fitness activity. There also seems to be a stereotype that Yoga is for women, however from my personal experience I can tell you that Yoga is not just for women.Practicing Yoga was just as hard as my physical training at any gym, and i got just as sore after an intense session. I didn't get any big gains that you can expect from lifting weights but i notice i got stronger, a lot stronger! More like i was able to tap into strength that i already had ,but was hidden from me before i started doing yoga. I also felt present mentally and was thinking more clearly. Yoga can improve your balance, concentration, and keep your body tone. Yoga will give you the best body you can possibly have for your body type.

Im going to try..

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