The Ultimate Guide to Working Out in NYC On the Cheap

Working out in NYC is EXPENSIVE. Seriously, how is the price of a boutique fitness class creeping closer and closer to $40? Back in my day $28 was absurd!

Sometimes I dream of moving to LA just for cheaper Soul Cycle classes. Okay, AND for the dreamy weather.

Fear not, though, there are tons of ways to workout for free OR cheap in NYC.

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the ultimate guide to working out in NYC for free or cheap

Cost Efficient Gyms

You don’t need to join Equinox to hit the weight room or treadmill! Cost efficient gyms like Blink Fitness and Planet Fitness make going to the gym a far more affordable experience. I swear both are slowly taking over Manhattan — and I ain’t mad about it.

Depending on location, Blink Fitness memberships hover around $25/month, Planet Fitness at $10/month.


Multi-Studio Fitness Memberships

Services such as ClassPass and Fitreserve (<— get $50 off your first month!) let you sign up for boutique fitness classes at a discounted rate. For example, I pay $149 a month for 10 classes on Fitreserve. At 15 bucks for each class, I’m a happy camper.

I personally have been a fan of Fitreserve for almost 3 years now. It works for me and my lifestyle since I can visit studios weekly. Plus I like knowing that unless a class is legit sold-out I can sign up. I haven’t used ClassPass in NYC since I worked there, but I did test it in LA briefly.

There are definitely pro’s and con’s to both services:


  • Pro: more studios
  • Pro: cheaper
  • Pro: you can purchase additional classes
  • Con: you can only take 3 classes a month at each studio
  • Con: peak times not always available or super limited number of spots


  • Pro: full class schedule available
  • Pro: you can take 4 classes a month at each studio
  • Pro: unless a class is full, you can sign up.
  • Con: price
  • Con: not a ton of studio options.


Dynamic Pricing

Newcomer to the fitness scene Dibs introduced dynamic pricing to the world of boutique fitness. It’s pretty freaking awesome. Prices change depending on the demand for that specific class. The more in advanced you book, the better the price. I’ve used it a bunch of times to book classes at my favorite studio, Uplift for between $20-$27.

They also give you “flash” credits from time to time such as $3 off your next booking at a studio you’ve already visited.

✨ Get $5 off your first time booking on Dibs with code KAYLAINTHECITY.


Work at a Studio

Want to workout for free? Work at a fitness studio! After college I worked front desk at Flywheel for a year. The pay wasn’t terrible and I could take unlimited Flywheel and Flybarre classes for free. Plus I ended up meeting one of my close friends there. Not a bad gig if you have some free time on your hands.


Scout out Community  or donati0n based classes

A number of studios offer weekly community classes that are either *free* or donation based. Schedules to scout out: Yoga Vida, Soul Cycle and Flywheel have been known to offer frequent community classes.

All power vinyasa classes at Yoga to the People are donation based — pay what you can!


Sliding Scale Memberships

Yoga + barre studio Shaktibarre offers sliding scale memberships, depending on your income. More information on this opportunity here.


New instructor classes

Get on the mailing list at your favorite studio! Some studios offer free or steeply discounted classes when a new batch of instructors are in training. Studios I’ve seen do this frequently: Uplift, 305 Fitness and Soul Cycle.


In-Store Classes

Tons of stores now offer weekly (or daily!) in-store classes in partnership with studios for free! Some places to check out: Lululemon, Athleta and Sweaty Betty.


Search Eventbrite

Having hosted a number of free events with Holistic Happening, we always get a TON of sign ups thanks to people that found ou event on Eventbrite. Even just searching free yoga a number of events came up in NYC!


New student specials

Most fitness studios offer a special to new students. At CorePower Yoga you get your first week free! For $25, Yoga Vida offers unlimited yoga for 2 weeks. Rumble Boxing offers buy one class get the second one free. Even Soul Cycle let’s you ride for the first time for only $20

While I don’t think studio hopping is the most sustainable fitness option out there, it’s a great way to check out a new studio every once in awhile. Before signing up for your first class at any studio, check to see what specials they offer for newbies.


Workout at home

Of course you don’t need to leave your apartment to get a good workout! A simple pinterest search will find you a bunch of no-equipment needed workouts.

For an array of workout videos, I highly recommend Daily Burn which is only $14.95 a month. Every day there’s a new workout on their program 365, but they also have options such as barre and cardio kickboxing. The workouts are deceptively tough!

If yoga is more your jam, Bulldog Yoga offers streaming yoga classes.  Trust me, this is not your hippie dippie yoga. The classes are great for anyone that’s new to yoga or not looking for some overly zen-ed out experience, all set to gooood music. You can pay $5 for a day pass or $12 for unlimited classes.


Outdoor classes

This is more of a summertime thing but I swear every freaking park in NYC hosts free yoga come summer. I love it. When the weather gets warm be on the look out for free classes in Bryant Park, Washington Square Park and other parks around the city.

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