Everyone wants to get in better shape in 2012 but gyms are expensive.I wanted to share easy ways Canadian residents can get in great shape and save money. Here is a photo of my wife and I on a hike from last year in the Cowichan Valley.
DIY Home gym
Before you head out to purchase P90-X or another popular workout DVD, research exercises online that will work out your legs, arms, and core.
Your local library has many DVDs available to borrow that cover everything from yoga, dance, stretching, kick-boxing, and pilates.
Additionally, online on YouTube, you will find thousands of instructors offering fitness advice and free exercises.
Look at alternative or low-cost gyms
In Victoria where I live, we are lucky to enjoy incredible recreation centres and the YMCA. Many of these include amenities like a swimming pool, track, dance, yoga, and group-fitness and an open gym.
Several examples in Vancouver include the YMCA, Steve Nash Fitness World, and Trevor Linden’s gym Club 16. Club 16 has a $19.99 per month package at their new gym at the convention centre in downtown Vancouver.
A 12-month membership at the Kitsilano Fitness Centre is just $357.14.
Another benefit of the YMCA is that your annual membership can be put on hold for up to four months, meaning you can save in the summer if you prefer to get your exercise outdoors.
Also, if you teach a class or volunteer at the YMCA you can even get a free membership.
Look for any trial offers or discounts at your gym
Most gyms will offer a free trial and let you demo several classes or sessions before paying for a membership. I recommend becoming a gym tester and try several gyms or recreation centers before signing up for a gym.
Another recommendation is to look for online coupons or in your local Entertainment book for drop-in passes or some discount for your gym.
Take advantage of the outdoors
Many Canadians are stuck with sub-zero temperatures for the majority of their winter and it is difficult to participate in outdoor activities for a long period of time.
For residents of Vancouver, just 25 minutes from downtown Vancouver, the North Shore’s Grouse Grind trail is often referred to as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster” and serves as the benchmark of physical fitness for many Vancouverites. (Personal best is 56 minutes and that was running and sprinting).
Join a club
The past two winters I have joined a house-league floor hockey that is fun and inexpensive. For a cost of $225, I receive a great cardio workout and it is a fun social release.
It is great motivation and it saves me money as this is an inexpensive sport. I get to play Monday and Wednesday nights and it is a great way to stay fit and be social.
Intramural leagues like volleyball, basketball, and badminton are affordable and do not require much equipment.
To find a drop-in or house league, simply check your local recreation centers or craigslist.