6 Ways To Work Out On A Budget

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Living in a city can be expensive. Living in a city AND maintaining a fitness routine can be even more expensive. There are many amazing studios and boutique gyms to be found in Chicago and other cities nationwide, but many of these carry a steep price tag that for some people may be prohibitive.

When I moved to Chicago in November I decided to switch careers. This meant that I had little to no income while I worked on switching from admin work to personal training.  I wanted to be able to work out, but I was really limited in what I could afford to do.  Thankfully I was able to get creative and along the way I made note of some of the best ways to work out while keeping the costs at a minimum.


I can speak from experience that ClassPass is amazing. For $99 a month you get an unlimited number of different classes offered by studios in the city who participate. The only caveat is that you can’t visit the same location more than 3 times a month. With so many options to choose from though, this was never a problem for me.

Membership Exchange

If you like exercising somewhere but can’t afford a membership, find out who the owner or manager is and see if they offer a membership exchange program. This means that you work a certain amount of time in exchange for a membership. I did this exact thing at the studio where I now teach because I loved it there but couldn’t afford it. I worked 4 hours a week in exchange for an awesome workout whenever I wanted it.

Free Trials

Many large gyms and even smaller studios offer free trials for new clients. These trials can range anywhere from one free class to an entire week, so make sure to inquire about what options may be available to you as a new client.

Work Out At Home

There are a million different ways to work out at home.  If you are looking for a structured workout, head over to Pinterest to choose from thousands of artfully displayed options. Another idea is to use workout DVDs to get your fitness on. If you live in an apartment complex, take advantage of the gym if they have one. Or you can use any of these bodyweight workouts.

Free City Workouts

In the summer, Chicago comes alive (or so I hear since I have only endured the winter so far). By doing a little research, you can easily find a number of free workouts offered outside.  Millennium Park, for example, offers free classes from June through September and will update their website to provide more information as the weather gets better. If you don’t want to wait for summer, the city of Chicago offers free classes Monday through Friday at various locations.

Fun Runs and Yoga

Visit in person or check the websites of your local fitness stores to see if they offer free classes.  Places like Lululemon, Athleta, and Fleet Feet Sports all offer free exercise options at various times during the month.

What other suggestions do you have about working out on a budget?

Live Work & Money

About Erin Bahadur

Erin is the founder of the blog Erin’s Inside Job and she uses it as a way of sharing her story and helping others learn about health, fitness, overcoming obstacles and having a powerful voice in the community. A recovering addict, Erin is also an accomplished athlete, has run multiple races and ran her first half marathon in September. From recipes to workouts, reviews and tips for healthy living, readers find inspiration and interesting stories every week. She recently moved to Chicago in November and is currently pursuing her personal training certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine and interning to coach at a local studio. She is enjoying the short time that she has been in the city and hopes to create long lasting connections with the great members of the health and fitness community in Chicago!

2 thoughts on “6 Ways To Work Out On A Budget

  1. I love Classpass. It has completely changed the workout/health routine, and it’s great to supplement with runs, which in spring/summer is perfect!

  2. Had no idea about the Class Pass. What a great tip! My current gym membership is quite expensive, and though I love my club I am trying to cut back. Am definitely going to do some research on this and share with friends. Thanks!

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