The no-commitment workout
Sometimes a gym membership can feel like such a commitment. What if you hate it? What if the hours don't work for you? What if you can never get into the classes you want? Worst of all: What if you spend all that money and then never go?
Good news, commitment-phobes: You now have more choices than ever. You can check out a variety of different classes, some tried-and-true and some new and trendy, that let you pay only when you show up. “Pay-as-you go or drop-in-and-pay classes are often the right way to go in this tight economic environment,” says Scott Yonehiro, CEO and head trainer of Ballistic Body Fitness, a pay-as-you go personal training studio in Burbank, California. You can control the cost, the schedule, and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to worry about getting roped into hefty up-front costs.
Most drop-in classes cost between $10 and $20 per class. But if you buy classes in a bundle, you can see significant savings. And of course, you’re more likely to see significant results if you go more than once or twice. Look for these classes in your area, and try everything that appeals to you until you find the class that fits:
The class: Spinning
The body benefits: Spinning uses a stationary bike with different tension levels. Over the course of 45 minutes, you can experience a low-impact aerobic workout, build muscle in your core, butt and thighs, and burn up to 500 calories.
Drop in: SoulCycle has more than a dozen spin studios on the East and West Coasts. Depending on the location, a single class can cost as little as $15. Flywheel has locations across the country, including multiple locations in North Carolina, Texas and the Chicago metro region. The company offers first-timers a free class. After that, one class costs around $20.
The class: Barre
The body benefits: This new-ish workout makes use of a traditional ballet bar and combines the elements of ballet, yoga and Pilates. With all the stretching and pulling, you get great muscle tone in your arms and legs, as well as improved flexibility and posture.
Drop in: Pure Barre has locations in over 30 states with single classes starting around $20. In many locations, the first class is free. The Bar Method has over 65 studios across the country in 18 states. Single classes start at $20.
The class: Yoga
The body benefits: Whether you take a vinyasa, bikram or hatha yoga class, you are sure to get a good workout that will also benefit your posture, your breathing, your mood and your stress level. Depending on which style you opt for, you can burn calories, tone your muscles or both.
Drop in: Most independent yoga studios tend to offer single classes for purchase. There aren't too many yoga franchises out there, but we found that CorePower Yoga, which is located throughout the Western U.S. in 12 states, currently offers newbies one free week of classes. After that you can buy one drop-in class for less than $20, depending on the location.
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The class: Zumba
The body benefits: A dance workout that features high-energy Latin and international beats, this class feels more fun than fitness-y. Still, you’ll manage to torch at least 500 calories per class and tone most of your muscles while you get your groove on.
Drop in: Practically anywhere there’s a Zumba class which is pretty much, uh, everywhere (There are over 140,000 locations worldwide)! Most studios charge a one-time class fee. For example, at the Z Spot in Las Vegas, the drop-in rate is $5 — and they offer Weight Watchers members three classes for $10. To find a Zumba class near you, check out Zumba.com.
RELATED: What to expect from a Zumba class
The class: Pilates
The body benefits: A series of exercises that blends flexibility and strength-training, Pilates can either be done on a mat or on a machine called a reformer. The exercises tone and build your muscles without adding bulk, and help create a strong abdominal core.
The class: Dance Trance
The body benefits: You can torch up to 1,000 calories in an hour-long class of Dance Trance, which combines high-cardio aerobic moves with music-video style dance routines set to Top 40 hits.
Drop in: The program is currently at more than 45 locations in the U.S. with many (if not all) locations offering drop-in classes. At Dance Trance San Francisco, for example, the drop-in rate is $15.
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The class: CrossFit
The body benefits: CrossFit is an intense bootcamp-like workout that combines weight-training, aerobics and gymnastics all in one. In about 20 minutes, you complete a circuit of exercises, such as squats, jacks and a jog, over and over through a set amount of time (usually around 20 minutes). The high intensity level burns calories and builds strength simultaneously.
Drop in: Cross Fit Iconz in Snellville, Georgia offers a drop-in class that costs $15. And while not every single CrossFit franchise offers a drop-in rate, almost all offer a free trial class. Find a location near you at http://map.crossfit.com/
RELATED: Before your first CrossFit workout