Tuesday 21st May 2024

Sweating coins: top money saving tips from five home workout aficionados

I have been working out for free for over three months now, and have saved £195. Here are my experiences saving on lockdown workouts and tips from four other home-gymmers.

I have never been a fitness fanatic. In fact, for most of my life the only exercise I did was forced upon me by well-meaning friends and family members.

But in the last year I have started to get my act together: gyming, spinning, yoga classes and even the occasional circuit training session.

Hardly a workout pro, but I had even gotten to the stage of looking forward to my next workout (my old PE teachers would be so proud!).

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Of course when coronavirus hit, gyms were one of the first things to go – all that sweating and lack of personal space is hardly social-distancing-friendly.

Like most people, I am working from home, so the main workout I managed to get was the walk from the fridge back to my office space in the living room – not ideal. So, I decided to have a go at working out from home and have actually managed to save a fair bit of cash in the process.

Before lockdown I wasn’t a member of a gym, but instead used ClassPass. ClassPass is a great app that allows you to find and book onto gym classes near you. They have all sorts available, from hip-hop dance workout classes, to restorative yoga mediation sessions.

A standard ClassPass membership costs £65 a month, which may seem pricey but I was more than getting my money back. I attended three to four classes a week, that would have cost on average around £15-18 for a non-member.

Once Covid-19 started closing gyms I got a notification from ClassPass saying I could pause my membership for as long as I needed.

The added bonus was that I still had access to their archives of workouts and was still able to book on to class live streams and didn’t have to part with a penny.

But what lockdown has made me realised is that there are loads of great workouts online, many of them free. Perfect for someone wanting to stay in shape on a budget.

Accounts like Barry’s UK, TechnoGym, and The Gym Group offer free live or IGTV classes on Instagram with a mixture of different workouts to suit all types of goals and fitness levels.

I have invested in a Google Chromecast for £25, which allows me to mirror my phone screen with the TV to make workouts easier to follow and a bit more fun.

At first it was a bit bizarre to have an instructor yell motivational phrases at me in my living room, and I felt a bit like a cast member of High School Musical trying out the Cardio Dance workout.

But after a couple of days I really started to enjoy myself and get into the flow of my new, free home workout routine.

Once gym doors open again I will be tempted back, but my mind has been opened to the idea of working out at home, if anything because of the positive effect it has on my bank balance.

I know I am not alone and many of you are bopping along to Joe Wick’s PE videos or perhaps taking a leaf out of Captain Tom’s book and running laps of your gardens, so I reached out to a few friends to share their home workout stories too.

Amy and Kyle

Amy, 22 and Kyle, 26 live together in Churchdown, Gloucester

Amy, 22, and Kyle, 26, loved working out together in their local gym in Churchdown, Gloucester, you could typically find them in the weights section squatting and lifting huge loads.

Their budget-friendly gym memberships only cost them £16.99 a month, which gave them 24-hour access to all the equipment they needed.

Both of them see going to gym as an important part of their lives, and did not want that to end in lockdown. So, they decided to investment in re-creating their gym setup at home.

They started with online purchases, spending £20 on resistance bands from eBay, and renting 160kg of weights from a friend costing 25p per KG a month. Kyle is also building his own squat rack, using free wood he gets from work. They are hoping this can double up as a bench rack too.

Kyle used pallet wood he got for free from his work to create their own squat rack

Overall, Amy and Kyle have only spent around £70 on this home workout setup, with the main cost coming from renting the weights.

They hope to purchase their own soon for around £80, to complete the home gym without any more rolling costs.

Amy said “We’ve worked out even more from home than we would have been going to the gym, now we just have to walk outside to workout rather than get in the car and drive. It’s all worked out so well.”


Liv, 22, from Manchester

Liv, 22 from Manchester,  had a very active lifestyle before Covid-19 and was keen for it to continue in lockdown. She is an aerial performer, had personal training sessions several times a week and often attended yoga, flexibility and dance classes.

Her monthly workout costs varied, but could range from £60-£100, depending on the classes she attended. In lockdown this cost has more than halved.

Liv uses the free Nike Training app to track her daily runs, does body circuits in her local park and has Zoom dance classes weekly.

The price of these classes has been halved in lockdown and now only costs her £15 a class, which is the only money Liv now spends on her exercise routine.

Liv plans to continue her home workouts even after lockdown, although there are some classes she won’t be missing once they’re back up and running.

She said: “I didn’t realise how much I could do at home and I will 100% keep going with my runs and circuits. But I miss the atmosphere of my classes and that extra support you get from an instructor”.


Helena, 25, an account executive from London

Helena, 25, was spending roughly £81 a month going to the gym and on classes before the lockdown.

Now the account executive, who lives in London, mainly works out at home for free, occasionally splashing £25 on a Zoom personal training session.

Her favourite apps that have helped keep her on track are Strava, which assists with running and cycling and also Down Dog, which is mainly for yoga but also has barre and HIIT classes. It costs £29.99 for a full year’s membership and comes highly recommended by Helena, who said it’s worth the cost for the yoga classes alone.

Helena is also a member of the Belsize Park RFC’s women’s team, who have come together in lockdown to virtually run the distance from London to Barcelona – a whopping 1,500km! She recommends organising competitions and events with your friends to help stay motivated during lockdown.

Helena does plan on returning to the gym once lockdown is over, but will be using her apps a lot more. She said: “It’s taught me I don’t need to spend £20 on a yoga class.”

Kat Jenkins

Mouthy Blogger

Kat is an award-winning journalism graduate with experience at a wide range of publications. The first thing she learnt about money was how shockingly easy it is to spend.

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