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You're Paying Too Much: How to Score Cheap Deals on Fitness

Save your pennies and stay fit! (Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto)

Gym memberships, Bar Method classes, and Lululemon capris — this stuff doesn't come cheap. But what if we told you that you don't have to pay full price? And that in some cases, you may even get it for free. It may sound too good to be true, but with the right approach, you can exercise for next to nothing (while also taking the hottest new classes and wearing the latest gear). Keep reading to learn how to score major deals — and save major bucks — on all things fitness!

Negotiate a Gym Rate
It's easy to get a deal on gym membership — you just have to ask. Once you've picked the right gym, do your homework before meeting with its membership representative. See what rates other gyms are offering and the types of deals your gym of choice has used in the past; this information will come in handy when negotiating. Also, be honest about your income and monthly expenses; it's not unusual for membership reps to cut a deal based on an individual's financial profile. Ask if they can offer a discount based on your profession (students and educators are usually good candidates) or if they will give a better deal if you agree to a long-term contract. At the very least, you should be able to have the enrollment fee waived.

Use Coupon Websites to Get Almost-Free Classes
Daily coupon sites like Groupon, PopSugar City, and LivingSocial can help you save major bucks on the hottest new fitness classes and studios. These websites work by helping strangers form a buying collective, which is then leveraged for major discounts. Depending on the day, you're likely to find upwards of a 50 percent discount on rock climbing classes, Zumba, or Bar Method classes.

Create a Home Gym
Why pay for exercise when you can work out at home for next to nothing? Determine what your favorite types of workouts are, and from there, buy the appropriate at-home gym equipment and use these tips to create a mini gym in your house. Shop online to score used big-ticket items like a treadmill or elliptical machine. Skip the equipment altogether and work out to fitness DVDs — which you can check out for free from the library — or stream free exercise videos from your home computer. Here are some additional ideas for at-home workouts.

Barter For Free Classes
Bartering is a pretty common practice in private studios. Often called "karma programs," for every hour of work you donate toward the studio, you're rewarded with a free hour that you can use toward classes. Check to see if your current studio offers a program like this, or call around to find a studio that does. If not, ask if they'd be willing to.

Read on for more ways to save on fitness.

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