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Burn calories but not a hole in your wallet

Seth Onyango @sethmanex

Getting into great shape is everyone’s wish. However, it seems paying for a gym or a health club membership can take more weight off your wallet than it does off your waist. Often, the price tag on gym membership will strain your wallet and encourage you to quit.

This is despite huge investments in the fitness industry that should work to reduce the cost burden. While cost is a major factor people do not achieve their fitness goals, time constraints is another component that stymies their ability to lose weight or bulk up.

With finances and time working against you, you may find it strenuous to stick to an exercise regimen or worse opt out altogether. You do not need big changes to burn calories, bulk up or stay fit. All you need is a plan and a few coins to oil it.

The average monthly cost of a gym membership is Sh5,000 out of which about Sh3,000 per month is wasted due to under-utilisation. A number of research articles have revealed that most people fail to commit to a workout regime despite enrolling to a fitness class.

It turns out some people “pay not to go to the gym”. What is the essence of spending so much money for training when you only attend 30 per cent of all classes. PD Wikendi sought ways to reduce costs at the gym and at home.

Home remedies

According to retired bodybuilder and fitness expert, George Wando, affordability can often trump the convenience of having the gym in your backyard but you can improvise at home.

“You do not need sophisticated tools for an iffective workout. You can improvise homemade weight training and still reap commendable results without having to spend thousands that comes with gym-equipment purchases.

Easy tricks like filling up bottles with water or sand and using them as dumbbells or creating homemade equipment can go a long way,” he advises. At home, household objects can improve your fitness. Water bottles are perhaps the most preferred Do it Yourself classic.

Use water bottles as dumbbells. Since water is not that heavy, try filling them with sand. A 1.5 litre bottle of sand weighs in at 1.5 kilogrammes. They are great for biceps curls or shoulder presses.

You could also use tyres. Toss, flip or drag a used tyre for a challenging adrenaline-pumping full-body workout. Or swing away your aggression and take a sledgehammer to an abandoned wheel.

Do not swipe and sweat

Additionally, Wando adds that gym membership and enrolment rates can be a little flexible hence the need to always bargain for the best deal. You could also wait for discounts before you enroll.

Consider off-peak membership “We get busy sometimes and it makes no sense at all to pay full membership when you will only be at the gym for a fraction of your time,” says Wando.

It is noteworthy, that many facilities offer discounted memberships for access outside peak hours during the day on weekdays or late at night. You may not realise it, but you could end up saving a lot of cash.

Pay for a full year upfront

Monthly subscription costs more than quarterly subscriptions, hence full year memberships will cost much less. Most gyms offer major discounts to members who pay for multiple months in full when they join. If you can afford the full year membership, go for it.

Enroll as a group Group registrations are often given better deals compared to individuals. You can gather a few friends or colleagues and use it as bargain for a better deal.

With gyms mushrooming in our estates, it will be a good idea to show up with a few friends or family members and offer to sign up all at once in exchange for a discount, and you are more likely to score a great deal. You will hardly get turned down because these facilities cost a lot to maintain.

Take advantage of free classes

Majority of gyms are now offering free aerobic classes and if your target is not strength training, which requires weights, then you can shine by capitalising on calisthenic exercises offered in the gym.

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