Thrive to Be Fit (While on a Budget!)
Staying Fit at Northeastern
There’s no need to wander far in pursuit of a good workout. Northeastern offers a wide-range of on-campus fitness opportunities that are either free or significantly cheaper for students than other options in Boston. For additional information on each of the opportunities discussed below, make sure to check out the Campus Recreation website.
- Facilities: Most of you are probably familiar with the Marino Center on Huntington Avenue, which is Northeastern’s main campus gym. Working out at Marino is completely free for students, but it’s not your only option for a free workout on campus. If you live on the opposite side of campus, closer to Columbus Avenue, you can check out Squash Busters or the updated Carter Fields which includes an outdoor functional training area next to the Columbus garage. Other free options include swimming in the Cabot pool or ice skating in Matthews arena. The pool and ice rink both have inconsistent open hours, so definitely check out the Campus Recreation website before heading over.
- Guided Workouts: If you prefer to work out in a group setting or find that you need a bit more motivation to fuel your workout, group fitness or personal training might be the best option for you. Group fitness costs $50 per semester, $25 for summer semesters, and offers a wide variety of classes including cycle, Zumba, TRX, yoga, pilates, total body sculpt, barre and so much more. One hour personal training sessions cost $35 for a single session, $75 for a 3-session initial assessment or $150 for 5 sessions. For comparison, a single group fitness class at a private studio can cost anywhere from $15-$40 and the average personal training session at a private gym will cost over $50 per hour.
- Teams & Sports: Getting involved with a team is another great way to stay active. At Northeastern, intramural sports are offered throughout the year and are completely free to students. Club sports tend to be more competitive and may require membership dues, but are a great option if you want to competitively pursue your favorite sport in college.
Fitness Options Off-Campus
If you want to change up your fitness routine or if you’re heading outside of Boston for co-op or study abroad, there are plenty of fun ways to stay fit on a budget. Many gyms as well as boutique fitness studios offer student discounts.
This chart outlines a handful of Boston studios that are close to campus, calling out those that offer student discounts. Many of these studios also offer new student specials, such as a free trial class or week, that you should take advantage of before commiting to a membership package. Several national and international chains are also listed, which means you can use your membership while temporarily traveling or away on co-op. These tend to have higher pricing and even cult-like followings, but they’re also a more inclusive experience with special amenities and effective workouts. These include SoulCycle, FlyWheel, Title Boxing Club, Core Power Yoga, Yoga Works, Brooklyn Boulders, Xtend Barre, Pure Barre, The Bar Method, OrangeTheory Fitness, Barry’s Bootcamp and SLT.
- ClassPass: One way to try out these studios and studios in other cities is through ClassPass, a subscription service that provides access to a variety of fitness opportunities for a flat rate. As a student, your first two weeks are free with a promo code from Student Beans. You can typically get classes below the studio rate by subscribing to ClassPass and can get monthly credits by referring your workout buddies. Note that ClassPass is a subscription service, so your membership will renew and charge you each month if you don’t cancel it.
- Gyms: If you prefer a traditional gym over group fitness settings, there are many that are affordable and even more that offer student discounts. 24 Hour Fitness, Planet Fitness, Snap Fitness, Crunch, Anytime Fitness, Workout Anytime, World Gym, and YouFit all offer membership options between $10 and $35 per month at most of their locations. Some offer student discounts on top of that. Higher end options, such as Healthworks (an all-female fitness center), Gold’s Gym, Lifetime Fitness, and Towne Sports Clubs (NYSC, BSC, etc.) also offer discounts to students and may have special deals during holiday and summer breaks. Always be sure to read the fine print when signing up for various fitness programs, just as you should with everything in life. Many gym memberships and other subscriptions require activation and cancellation fees. You may also need to cancel memberships in advance (such as the month before). While these fees shouldn’t deter you from signing up, always make sure you know what you sign up for and keep your contracts to refer to if you have any questions. Also remember to account for these fees in your budget. Lastly, you should always understand what you’re entitled to with your membership – many gyms offer a free personal training session when you start your membership, which is a great way to learn how to use equipment properly and learn the best exercises for your goals.
No Money, No Time? Workout Online!
A third option for staying in shape on a budget is to take advantage of the abundance of online and app-based resources available. Many of these resources are free or cheaper than in-person fitness options and may be your best fit if you have a tight schedule, travel often, or just don’t feel like leaving your room to workout.
You could probably fill a book (or several) listing out all of the online workout options, so we’ll just call out a few of the most popular and accessible options. The number one resource for free online fitness is YouTube. Fitness professionals flock to YouTube to share everything from five minute ab workouts to hour-long total body bootcamps. The one downside of relying on YouTube is that anybody can post a video, so it may be hard to verify the qualifications of the person posting the workout.
Alternative online options and apps with verified fitness professionals include The Daily Burn, Booya Fitness, Beachbody On Demand, Tone It Up, FitnessBlender.com, and Shape. Most of these resources offer a “Freemium” membership, where a select number of videos and resources are free, and you’ll need to pay a one-time or recurring fee to gain access to everything.
If you are working out at home, you may find that you need some basic equipment such as a yoga mat, weights, or resistance bands. There are many inexpensive options that you can find on Amazon or at discount stores such as TJ Maxx and Marshalls. Additionally, try using some household items before committing to a purchase. Use a towel instead of a yoga mat when getting started and sub in textbooks or water bottles for weights. Once you feel committed to a workout routine, it may make sense to invest in more formal equipment.
Final Tips and Takeaways
Now it’s time to step away from the laptop and start taking action. Here are a few tips and takeaways to help you stay on track with your budget and fitness moving forward:
- Always ask about student discounts
- Sign up for new-student specials
- Check if your employer offers fitness reimbursements (co-op, part-time, or post-grad)
- Be realistic about your fitness routine before committing to memberships
- Find a workout buddy to stay motivated and refer friends for discounts
If you have any questions about this article, budgeting or other personal finance topics, stop by our office in 101 Curry Student Center. If you’re outside of Boston you can also email questions to NUThrive@gmail.com or send us a message on Facebook. Thanks for reading and keep on Thriving!