For workout fanatics, there’s a lot to love about boutique fitness studios, from the seriously body-transforming moves to the edgy music and personal attention from instructors.
Plus, these spots are perfect places to meet like-minded folks, network and bring friends in a setting probably cleaner, nicer and more relaxed than your local gym or YMCA.
What isn’t fun, though, is the price.
At $20 to $35 per session, one hour in a boutique studio costs almost as much as — and sometimes more than — a monthly gym membership.
However, if you’re trying to get out of a fitness rut, or sick of the same old step or spin classes, taking offsite studio classes is a great way to shake things up.
The good news is there are more than a few ways to pay less for elite studio classes. I know because I’ve done it — and saved an estimated $500 or so since last June.
Here are six ways to save money — many of which I’ve tried myself — and get the biggest bang for your barre (or pedal/yoga pose).
1. Wait Until Summer
If you cringe at the regular prices at your favorite studio, wait until after Memorial Day.
People flock outdoors during the warmer months, so the fitness industry is known for using incentives to keep customers coming in.
Last summer, I saved more than $150 on a 10-pack of Pure Barre classes by taking advantage of my local studio’s “Summer Slimdown” deal.
2. Join a “Fit Mommy” Group
Mingling with other fit parents in your city or neighborhood can give you the inside scoop on cool new fit businesses opening up shop.
Last month, I scored a free trial workout at a $35-per-class Pilates-inspired studio because one of my super-fit friends happened to know the mom who owned the business.
While this opportunity involved being in the right place at the right time, surrounding yourself with other fit-minded, time-strapped individuals will up your chances of having a similar encounter.
3. Start Mystery Shopping
You can review fitness classes (and get paid upwards of $25 per review) if you sign up to be a mystery shopper with one of a growing number of agencies.
After recently getting on the email list for a New York City-area mystery shopping service, I was offered $25 plus credit for a $28 class to review a FlyWheel Sports studio.
4. Search Your Inbox for Email Promotions
I’ve used several of these services to score fitness deals, such as a five-pack of barre classes for $75, half off the regular price.
Sometimes the good ones go overlooked, as I recently discovered when I searched “fitness classes” in my Gmail account’s Promotions tab. I scored an insane $50 deal for classes at a local bootcamp studio — the regular price is $199!
5. Barter Services for Studio Workouts
I’m a writer, but not everyone is — and certainly not every fitness guru.
For this reason, I’ve bartered my editorial services (such as writing bios or editing blogs) in exchange for free Skype sessions with certified personal trainers, one of whom teaches at a boutique studio.
You can barter pretty much anything.
For example, one of my graphic designer friends designs logos or photo books for pals in exchange for free massages from another friend. Just think about what you’re good at (social media? car repairs?) and how it might be of value to a fitness instructor.
6. Try a Bulk-Class Pass
If you live in a major U.S. metropolitan city and love trying tons of different boutique fitness classes, consider ClassPass. It offers unlimited-class deals in multiple studios, though the price depends on your city — a pass in Tampa starts at $40, but in New York, the least expensive option is $75.
Keep in mind some individual studios have limits, such as no more than three classes per month.
Similar services are popping up, such as FitReserve, which offers New York City and Boston workout lovers 10 classes a month at Barry’s Bootcamp and Peloton for for $149.
How Will You Save on Your Next Workout?
While getting in shape for less requires a little bit of ingenuity, trying one or more of these ideas can help you keep your fitness habit from breaking the bank.
Now all you need is to stock up on sneakers and yoga pants (without going overboard)!
Your Turn: Do you know how to score cheap fitness classes?
Marisa Torrieri Bloom is a mom, writer and guitar teacher who lives in Connecticut. When she’s not getting in shape and/or chasing her toddlers, she’s dispatching from her blog Rockmommy.