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FREE Fitness in NYC: Now Shameless!

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Quick quiz for my ladies:

Your idea of working out most resembles:

A) Fergie in – what else – her “Fergalicious” music video

B) Hannah jogging – er, attempting to jog – in Girls

C) Kristin Wiig and Maya Rudolph’s characters in “Bridesmaids

You probably answered “C” because you’re reading articles on a website called Broke-Ass Stuart and therefore have also likely mooched workout classes  in the park that other people actually paid for, a la Annie and Lillian. And if you chose “A,” are you freaking kidding me? She’s in a skimpy Girl-Scout-esque uniform for most of the video and is only “up in the gym” just workin’ on her fitness for, like, two seconds. (Also, “tasty” is spelled wrong.)

Pay (or not) to get your butt kicked

What Annie and Lillian didn’t know (probably because “Bridesmaids” takes place in the Midwest and not NYC) is that there are name-your-price bootcamp classes. Read: FREE. At People’s Bootcamp, you can literally pay $0, $3, or even $50 if you’re feeling not-broke and way too generous. The studio is in Midtown, and you can expect 45 minutes of bodyweight-only ass-kicking. And supposedly the founder’s passion for fitness was started when he was 13 years old and inspired by Marky Mark (says the The New York Times) – what more could you ask for?

Child’s-price child pose

Speaking of people, Yoga to the People (YTTP) is another broke-ass way to get a good workout for cheap. In fact, the website proudly claims that yoga is meant to “stretch your arms and legs, not cost you one.” With hot- and vinyasa-style yoga available at six different locations throughout the City (one of which is in Williamsburg, holla!) the convenience factor warrants the $8 fee (plus $2 if you want to rent a mat).

But if you’re looking to downward dog it and pay no dinero at all, hold onto your spandex when I tell you this: lululemon, notorious for its too-cute, too-expensive fitness attire, actually offers FREE yoga classes. Each week, lululemon stores and showrooms (of which there are eight in NYC) clear out space and offer classes led by actual teachers from the community. They must do this because they feel a tinge of guilt for charging $60 for a flimsy tank, cute as it may be. And if you’re more nerdy than trendy, hold onto your messenger bag when you get a load of this: you can practice yoga for FREE at five different New York Public Library branches, thanks to Compass Yoga. Founded as a means to provide the mental and physical benefits of yoga to those who would or could not practice in a traditional studio setting, Compass offers a variety of Monday-through-Thursday and Saturday classes.

Bags be gone

We all know a brisk jog in the park is the ultimate FREE way to work out, but there comes an issue when you want to jet out right after work and have to haul all your stuff around with you. New York Running Company, a retail shop that sells footwear, apparel, accessories, and other running-related products, has your tootsies covered with a FREE bag check. And this store even offers FREE group runs three times a week, for those of you also looking for FREE friends.

And sometimes we’re a bit more bougie

If you’re balking at the thought of striking a warrior pose at the library and are looking for a bit more class, it is possible to try some of those boutique fitness studios without shelling out $40 per drop-in session. Classtivity, a site where you can explore virtually every fitness class offered near you, offers a Passport deal (currently invite-only, but you can register your email address to be put on a wait list). For $49, you get a month to try up to 10 fancy-pants fitness classes, including everything from Bollywood dancing and beginner’s ballet to kettlebell kickboxing, aerial yoga, and barre classes. If fully utilized, this equates to less than $5 per class: a better – and more interesting – deal than a Living Social or Groupon-type site has to offer, I’d say.

Shout-out to my RPM girls for being cheap like me and inspiring this article. Also, don’t Google “girls in gym movie” – people are sick.

Photo credit: Yahoo! Movies

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Rene Beight - Femme Frugale

Rene Beight - Femme Frugale

Yearbook/newspaper nerd turned marketing professional/freelance writer. Originally from San Diego, Rene now resides in Brooklyn's most hipster neighborhood, where the rent's not cheap, but the whiskey is (coincidence?). On weekends, you can find her wandering the flea (but buying nothing) and squandering away her late-night pizza to the stray cats next door. She's addicted to chocolate almonds, long runs in the City, apocalyptic thrillers, and nachos. Talents include belching at will.


  1. Donna
    April 25, 2013 at 11:49 am

    If you’re like me and don’t want to shell out crazy amount of money for classes or just too shy to go out, try, they offer free yoga poses on a weekly basis. I just check my email every week and find a new yoga pose to try at home. It’s easy & at least get’s be started being healthier 🙂

  2. Vanessa
    April 25, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Hahaha, that last line…really the whole thing! You are hilarious Ms. Femme Frugale!