The month I didn’t pay for the gym

Last summer was tough. I had just finished university and was experiencing that graduate slum like so many others before me. I was working a 9-6 job in the city whilst studying for my event management diploma. I could barely afford my oyster card, let alone scrape enough money to afford a gym membership.

The cheapest way to keep fit is running, but most days I was out of the house by half 7 and home around 9 and I don’t enjoy running in the dark. I refused point blank to let all my time be sucked up by work, commuting or studying, and the last thing I wanted was for my fitness levels drop.

The best way to get some of my time back was the use my lunch break to work out. I was lucky my office had a shower and started run during this time. This is a habit I’m really glad I picked up – If I make plans for after work I don’t feel guilty about canceling my date with the gym as I can easily throw on my running shoes and do a quick 5k loop during my lunch hour.

My dad had dug out his ancient set of dumbbells for me and I was using these at home for weighted workouts – but I soon felt like these weren’t doing enough for my legs and I was losing all the muscles I had worked so hard to achieve.

I then found out that most gyms in London offer an introductory pass so I was keen to use as many of these as I could:

  • Fitness First – they’re everywhere in London and they offer a free session per email so of course I used multiple emails and used various venues so the staff didn’t recognize me.
  • Anytime Fitness – a really small gym near Aldgate and I was noticeably the only women there. I used my one day pass and didn’t look back.
  • LAX Aldgate – they offered me a free trial and it was by far my favorite gym, but there was no way I could ever afford the £70 per month price tag. Unfortunately as it has been brought over by Pure Gym and they no longer offer this pass.
  • Fit4Less – again, a really small gym but they gave me a 3 day consecutive pass. I forgot my gym lock on one of these days and they kindly let me use one of theirs for free.
  • Fusion –  as a local they offered me 3 day trial to be used at any time.
  • Pure Ride – a spinning class and they offer your first two rides for free.
  • Orange fitness theory – an interval class which really gets your heart rate going and is something I’d consider going back to.

All in all, I went a month without ever having to pay to use a gym. If you’re strapped for cash I’d definitely recommend calling up your local gyms to see if they will offer you any trial passes.


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