I love freebies, and I'm willing to bet you do too. Free healthy snack samples, free workout gear and free fitness classes; send any and all my way! (But seriously). Here's the top ways you too can get a sweat on for free. Sample out that barre class or CrossFit studio totally gratis without being pressured to join a membership or pay before you know if it is for you. There is nothing worse than being halfway through a class and realizing you shelled out $25 for a workout you hate.
I'm a big proponent of only doing workouts you love and that inspire you. Life is too short to be hating every minute of a workout. I promise there's a workout you'll love, and you'll actually look forward to. And I'm here to help you find out what that class is, for free.
1. Online classes. Totally obvious but also not that obvious: you can find workouts on YouTube ranging from 5 minutes to over an hour, for almost any workout. Barre, Ballet, Yoga, Pilates, HIIT, PiYo; search online to sample a variety of workouts without leaving your living room. You can also sample a trial week or even 2 free weeks or more for some online subscription-based classes like barre3's 15-day trial.
2. Free community classes. Check with nearby studios, Craigslist or local bulletin boards for upcoming community classes. Most barre studios offer free classes when they have new teachers still seeking to get experience before getting on the schedule officially. Many yoga studios offer occasional yoga in the park or on the beach classes, and many have free classes around holidays or on the studio's anniversary.
3. Try one free/one week free deals. Check with nearby studios and gyms for a try-one-class-free pass or even a week pass, like many Corepower Yoga and similar studios offer. The one week free passes are the best; then you can sample all the options that studio offers as well as try out different teachers.
4. JUST ASK. If you're dying to try a new workout but are hesitant to drop cash before trying, just ask. Likely the studio will be willing to work something out, or offer you a discount or even free pass to test the waters before diving in.
5. Get a referral card or drop-in pass from a friend. Have a friend who is always raving about her adult ballet class or Zumba class? Ask if she can bring you along. Most of the time they are allowed to bring a friend free, or if she wants a new workout buddy, she'll probably insist on paying for you. I know I would if a good friend shows interest in a dance class I love! There's nothing quite like workout out with a close buddy. Not only is it way more fun, you'll be more likely to work harder.
6. Head to a Lululemon store on the weekend or local running store's group run. Lululemon stores famously offer free in-store yoga and other fitness classes on Saturdays or Sundays. Check online or call the store for details. Any running store worth their salt will also host a free running group or weekly group run. Not only is that a good way to get in shape, it's a foolproof way to make new friends.
7. Trade. Offer to trade your services; I worked the front desk of a pole dancing studio for meager pay but lots of free classes, and cleaned yoga mats for a discounted yoga teacher training.
Are you a baker? Maybe you can create vegan cookies for the studio's next event (or for the teacher's sweet tooth! Yes I have traded gluten-free energy bars and paleo macaroons for free yoga classes and barre classes. Win-win!).
As a fitness instructor, though, let me warn you, there are unspoken rules for these free classes. We work hard to get to know you and your body, your injuries, and how we should coach you specifically. We are investing our time in you. We want you to come back, and encourage you to give us the feedback we deserve if there's a reason we did not like the class.
1. Tell us why. Most people aren't comfortable giving feedback in person, but comments and suggestions are welcome via studio comment cards, emails or other studio-related feedback forms. Let us know why you aren't coming back, or what you would rather have; this helps us improve as a teacher and it's the least you can do for getting a free hour from us.
2. Don't show up late, or even on time. Come early. If it's your first time in that Pilates or Kettlebell class, get there 15 minutes early to sign the waiver, introduce yourself to the teacher and explain any past or current injuries or concerns. If you get there early enough and request it, most teachers will rough through quick examples or terminology to help you not feel like such a newb. (I also recommend reading How to Be Confident in ANY Workout Class, my foolproof guide to getting rid of any new-class anxiety).
3. Dress appropriately. Read the studio's website on what to wear. Most places are flexible, but some barre studios require socks, and forgetting them will mean having to buy them at the desk, or unfortunately, to skip the class.
Ballet classes require ballet shoes, and some yoga studios require you to bring your own mat. Know before you go to avoid embarrassment, or to have to turn what was supposed to be a free class into an unexpected purchase. (Tip: barre socks and yoga mats and the like are cheaper to purchase online. It's always great to shop local or support your studio, but if you can't afford the studio price, shop online).