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The Cost of Fitness: When to Splurge and Save on Your Fitness Routine

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The DVD-iva

Holly Hengstebeck, 38
Senior financial analyst
Northville, Michigan

Monthly Fitness Bill
Gym membership: $0
Classes: $20
TOTAL: $20

Go-to routine: Elliptical machine "I use it at the gym at work," says Hengstebeck, who has a free employee membership there. "There are so many challenging programming options on it that I never feel as if I'm just phoning in my workout."

Money-saving move: Freebie home workouts "I sneak in exercise when I can," says Hengstebeck, a mother of two. "Some mornings before my kids get up, I'll do videos, like Jillian Michaels's 30 Day Shred, or even use my kids' Hula-Hoop or jump rope."

The real payoff: Staying fit for pennies "I'm lucky that I have a free gym I can use at work, but I don't believe in spending a lot on memberships anyway, because you can get a great workout anywhere."

The a la Carte Exerciser

Kim Turner, 45
Stylist and fashion blogger

Monthly Fitness Bill Gym membership: $13 Cycling classes: $50 Personal trainer: $180 TOTAL: $243

Go-to routine: Mix and match classes "I don't really have one favorite workout," Turner says. "I'll travel 20 miles just to take a cardio kickboxing class with this one instructor; it helps me work out frustration when someone has pissed me off. And I love indoor-cycling classes, especially at my Flywheel studio."

Money-saving move: Group personal training "I split the cost of a training session with four or five people once a week at the gym, which slashed my costs by about 75 percent," Turner says.

The real payoff: Skinny jeans, big recharge "I have only one body, and staying fit is critical for me. Not only does working out help me look great in my clothes, but it also gives me the energy to really enjoy my life."

The Outdoor Lover

Cara Mia Familet, 46
Client relations
Aspen, Colorado

Monthly Fitness Bill
Gym membership: $140
Barre classes: $100
Tennis: $12
Apparel/gear: $75
TOTAL: $327

Go-to routine: Hiking and skiing "I learned how to ski just last season, so I plan to focus on it in the winter, especially because I get a free ski pass through my job," Familet says. "But when the weather is nice, I love kayaking or to go hiking on one of the many gorgeous trails around here."

Money-saving move: Secondhand gear "At the end of the season, lots of people dump their barely used equipment at the Aspen Ski Swap," Familet says. "I got awesome skis and boots there for $215. I also picked up a great bike at an auction for $65."

The real payoff: A new definition of healthy "My whole attitude about fitness has changed since going from only doing gym classes to doing outdoor sports," Familet says. "I have a greater appreciation of what my body can do and the incredible physical and mental benefits that come with being active."

The G.I. Jane

Barbara Rappaport, 38
Music booking agent and producer
Austin, Texas

Monthly Fitness Bill
Gym membership: $35
Personal trainer and nutritionist: $200
Apparel/gear: $50
TOTAL: $285

Go-to routine: CrossFit "After doing CrossFit classes for a couple of years, I've got the basics down so that I now create my own Workout of the Day at the gym," says Rappaport, who also sees a trainer two times a week. "I also go to to get the WOD. I love it because the routines are never the same; they constantly challenge me."

Money-saving move: Freebie fitness offers "Practically every weekend you can find some facility around here offering a free intro or community class," Rappaport says.

The real payoff: Mental perks "Fitness is therapy for me. It boosts me when I'm down and calms my soul. I feel I'm worth the investment."

The Endurance Athlete

Kate Coward, 33
Business finance manager

Monthly Fitness Bill
Gym membership: $90
CrossFit membership: $140
Bikram yoga classes: $60
Masters swim classes: $35
Apparel/gear: $105
TOTAL: $430

Go-to routine: Group runs "My running group is a mix of ages, genders, and situations, but we are a tight family," says Coward, who has completed 20 marathons in 11 states and on every continent (she even placed second in the Antarctica Marathon).

Money-saving move: Buying in bulk "I'm training for an Ironman triathlon right now, so I'm spending more than I'm used to on things like energy bars and supplements," Coward says. As a result, she makes bulk purchases to keep the cost of her coconut water, electrolyte-replacement drinks, energy gels, and similar products to $85 a month.

The real payoff: Endorphins "Working out helps me feel good about the way I look," she says. "And then, of course, there's the pure exercise high I get."

The Racer

Aimee Shuey, 42
Office manager
New Orleans

Monthly Fitness Bill
Gym membership: $75
Swim coach: $50
Race fees: $75–$400
Apparel/gear: $50–$100
TOTAL: $250–$625

Go-to routine: Swimming "I didn't learn to swim until I was 28," says Shuey, who now regularly tackles long-distance open-water swims, like a 5K in Florida's Pensacola Bay. "The pool is where I go to clear my head, and I have an amazing swim coach who pushes me." She also runs in road races, often in costume "or at least in a tutu," she says.

Money-saving move: Biking to work "I bike everywhere, including the nine miles to my office each morning, so I save money on gas while getting in a workout."

The real payoff: Fit body, fat wallet "Instead of eating out at night, I'm usually in bed resting for my early-morning workout," Shuey says. "Plus I don't have to spend money buying bigger clothes!"

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, September 2013.


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missa1408 wrote:

The DVD workout woman has it right. I can't imagine shelling out over $200 to get fit. I would love to have a personal trainer but I would also like to be able to eat and pay rent. This article was rather ridiculous because even the DVD workout person went to a free gym at work. Way too much money being spent here!

9/20/2013 08:06:37 AM Report Abuse
ccornnell wrote:

Way too much money being can do a lot with a little

9/19/2013 11:36:59 AM Report Abuse
ktuck624 wrote:

I think these people have alot of money. WOW!

9/19/2013 09:57:23 AM Report Abuse
allenedoe wrote:

just as Jack implied I'm blown away that a student can get paid $4989 in four weeks on the internet. did you look at this webpageżżżwww.Blue78.Com

8/24/2013 07:42:48 AM Report Abuse
marya2010 wrote:

That is crazy, and very self involved! I walk 2 miles a day, do burpees, planks, pushups, tricep dips on block walls, squats and lunges all on different days. Zero dollars for that gym or workout. I pay $45 a month for a pool membership where I can kickbox or do Zumba in the pool, which are really tough workouts. I'm in great shape and I spend very little money. As far as workout clothes go, shorts and tees work just fine on my walks, and about 4 or 5 swimsuits a year.

8/19/2013 12:30:15 PM Report Abuse

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