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November Project (Photo credit: Steve Christensen)

Get fit on a budget with free & discounted D.C. workouts

Great workouts don’t need to mean big money. Back in the good old days you didn’t have to drop $30 on a workout, a few more bucks on rental shoes and $10 more on a post-workout smoothie to consider it a successful sweat session. While there are tons of tempting, pricey workouts in the D.C. area, there are also plenty of ways to break a sweat without breaking the bank.

Here are 5 strategies to burn calories without burning your through your savings:

Seek Out Free Fitness Crews:

Your workout might not take place in a swanky studio, but there are plenty of outdoor workouts that will take your fitness to a new level with throwback challenges like hill running, stairs and sprints. Check out November Project for break-of-dawn group workouts around DC—a great way to spend time outdoors, connect with other passionate wellness folks and save some serious money.

Trade in Your Time for Classes:

Many studios will offer free memberships in exchange for front desk or cleaning services. If you have a favorite yoga or Pilates studio, check in with the manager to see if you can work the front desk on weekends or after work in exchange for discounted or on-the-house classes. Not only will you save money at your favorite studio, you’ll get to know the instructors and fellow students.

Visit Your Local Shops:

To build community and get people moving, many run and bike shops will host free workouts. Lululemon Clarendon hosts a Monday night run club, Potomac River Running Store hosts a group run every Friday, and bike shops like The Bike Rack and Bicycle Space offer weekly group rides. The perks of going with a run or bike group is guided routes, a place to store your gear while on the workout, plus some sessions include discounted shopping or post-workout complimentary drinks. Is yoga more your speed? Check out Athleta’s event calendar for a variety of in-store and waterfront classes.

Scan for Community Classes:

As instructors are getting settled into a new studio, they often have to teach a certain amount of free community classes. Keep an eye on the schedule and check with the front desk to snag a spot for these freebies.

Discounted Packages & First-Timer Deals:

Sign up for ClassPass (3 classes for $35, 5 classes for $55 or 10 classes for $105), or FitReserve (3 classes for $55, 5 classes for $75 or 10 classes for $135, use code DCFIT20 for 20% off your first three months), which will give you access to your favorite classes, with prices below the standard. If you’re new to a studio, always do a quick google search for new student deals. Studios often offer a first class (or even week) for free or a two-for-one deal on your first package. Once you figure out your can’t-miss studios, invest in the largest package available to save a little money per class.

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