If you’re on a budget, finding a gym with the equipment you need requires some creativity and ingenuity.
After reading through the comments posted by some folks after I penned this a few days ago, I wish we were all in the same room to discuss. In this moment, I’m as inspired as I’ve ever been to write a blog.
A very honest, authentic reader of the blog, dbreer23 posted this query:
Got a very serious question for you, Kap. I started making lifestyle changes a year ago to become healthier, most of which involved changing my diet and shedding quite a bit of excess belly fat (~30 lbs.). I want to begin the next stage of my transformation by beginning your routine, but I have one significant drawback: I cannot afford to join a gym, or acquire the necessary equipment, to do the core exercises. I’ve been out of work for more than 6 months and we are just scraping by as it is to make ends meet, so even purchasing day passes at the Y is not affordable. How feasible is it to make substitutions that can be done at home (or anywhere, I suppose) to the core exercises – i.e. pushups for bench press, etc.? Appreciate all of the hard work that you put into this site, Kap.
Whoa, this is a devoted individual committed to his transformation. When times get tough, creativity can breed confidence. Resourceful behavior builds self-esteem and opens up new opportunities.
I’m going to put myself in dbreer23’s shoes.
Assuming I live within striking distance of the Y, I march down there at opening time – dressed and groomed neatly – and ask to speak with the manager or the person empowered to make the important decisions. You’re looking to have the discussion right away, but, at the very least, don’t walk away without scheduling a 5 minute meeting.
When I got in front of them, I’d say this:
“I’m in a tough spot in my life right now, financially. I’m certainly not looking for a handout, but I’d like to propose an exchange. If you’ll let me use the gym for 90 minutes daily, I’ll clean all the machines and make your place sparkle for an hour prior to or following my workout.”
This accomplishes two things for me. It provides me a place to train, and, while I’m cleaning, I can subtly network with the management group, proving value and perhaps landing some work in a capacity I may not have otherwise thought possible. In any event, I’ll be immersing myself in a new community and will feel stronger because of it.
Lest you think I’d write an entire post without research, I talked to my local mom and pop gym this morning and asked them how they would feel about a proposal like the one I laid out. The reaction I received was strongly positive; I found that many of the gym’s current employees started with barters of this very nature!
This may not be the best approach with Equinox or 24 Hour Fitness. I would look for YMCA or locally owned places. The YMCA’s World Alliance’s main motto is “Empowering young people.” Stroll in there with that in your back pocket; they can’t turn you away.
In the same post, Smith Machine Guyer (love this name, by the way) writes:
I know that has been tackled before on many forums, but wanted your personal take. assume I have a free gym membership through my work that had no squat rack. While I understand the merit of “if you care about your fitness, you’ll play extra for a decent gym” bit, I’m looking for some short term advice…:
For me, no squat rack is a deal breaker. For “short term advice,” I’d suggest talking to the gym with the free membership and asking if you can bring in a squat rack. I just did a quick Google search and found a lightly used Power Line squat rack on EBay with no bids and a $57 price tag. Assuming 50% depreciation, you’ll own an item worth $28.50. You’ll have doled out the equivalent of one dollar a month for just over two years.
Training for sport and fitness is very similar to life. We are consistently being presented with challenges. There are always shortcuts and adjustments, but finding a way through resourcefulness will bring a confident smile to our face.
Who’s going to be the first to step out of their comfort zone?