There are no ifs or buts about it — gym memberships and workout classes can get expensive. As a fitness editor, I love nothing more than strolling into a SoulCycle class on a whim and often prefer dropping into classes than signing up to lengthy gym memberships, but sometimes, you just want somewhere to workout, and more often than not, that’s a gym.
If you prefer to try before you buy, I’ve done my homework and found some of the best free gym trials and discounted classes to try. Whether you’re traveling the country, or just switching your workouts up post-pandemic, here are the best ways to hit the gym for free.
Looking for workout inspiration once you get there? We’ve found it — here are the best treadmill workouts to try, the arm exercise Arnold Schwarzenegger invented, a 15-minute bodyweight ab workout, and the exercise that blasts your entire body using just a kettlebell.
The best free gym passes
Blink Fitness: Blink Fitness has locations in New York, New Jersey, Philly and LA. The gyms offer a good amount of cardio machines, strength training equipment, and workout videos via their app. They strive to be a body-positive space, where everyone is comfortable, and members even have the option of bringing a plus one every visit. You can try before you buy, as the company offers a free one-day pass, and if you choose to sign up, at the time of writing, it’ll only cost you $1 with no dues till April.
24-hour Fitness: 24-hour fitness has a number of gyms across the country, and they are popular for their affordable membership prices and a brilliant array of class offerings. Despite the club's name, not all venues are open 24 hours a day, but unless you’re a night owl, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. They also offer a free 3-day trial, so you can explore your local center before committing.
Anytime Fitness: Another chain with gyms all over the country, Anytime Fitness locations are open 24/7, so if you work odd hours, you’ll still be able to fit workouts in around your schedule. They also offer a 7-day free trial, which is pretty generous, and there are plenty of group classes to keep you motivated.
Gold’s Gym: A nationwide gym with a passion for bodybuilding, Gold's Gym is the place to be if you’re into strength training. They offer a free one-day pass if you’d rather try before you commit.
Crunch: You’ll be able to find a Crunch gym in most states, and if you’re into group classes, they are well worth checking out. From TRX classes to contemporary dance, there’s something for everyone, plus, you can grab a free one-day pass to hit the gym, or take a group session before signing up.
Pure Yoga: If you’re a yogi in New York City, we’ve got fantastic news. Pure yoga is a yoga studio of dreams, think beautiful changing rooms (hello Kiehl’s products), relaxing studio spaces, and eucalyptus towels. You can also sign up for a complimentary class before committing to a membership.
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CKO Kickboxing: Ready to get a killer workout and burn off some stress at the same time? CKO Kickboxing has a number of kickboxing gyms in a lot of major cities, and its one-hour classes are all about being high-energy and fun. First-time guests can try a class for free.
Equinox: If you’re someone who prefers a little luxury, look no further than Equinox. With its eucalyptus steam rooms and health-focused juice bars, this is as luxurious as nationwide gyms get. You can try before you buy with a free one-day pass to experience the gym or try a class. Warning — you’re going to want to sign up.
Pure Barre: If you’ve never tried barre, you’ll be surprised by how tricky the workouts are. Think of barre as a mix of dance, yoga, and Pilates, as you sculpt long, lean muscles. If you’re in New York, Pure Barre has a number of studios, and you can try a free low-impact, high-intensity barre class.
Classpass: If you’re more of a classes person than a gym bunny, Classpass is for you. Instead of buying multiple packages at different gyms, you buy credits on Classpass, which you can spend at a number of different classes, all over the world. Sign up now and get two weeks for free.
YMCA: The Y has gyms dotted all over the place, with most offering group fitness classes, gyms, and even pools, depending on the location. Most have free trials, which range from one day to one week.
LA Fitness: Another popular chain in most major cities, LA Fitness gyms offer group classes, personal training, and plenty of gym equipment to get you in shape. You can try your local club for free with a 3-day pass.
Best Fitness: With gyms in New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, Best Fitness offers one of the best fitness deals out there — a free 30-day pass to get you going.
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Other discounted gym memberships to grab:
Planet Fitness: Wherever you live, there’s probably a Planet Fitness nearby. While they don’t offer free passes, memberships start at $10 a month, which is less than one class at some of the studios on this list. They are also open 24/7 and have heaps of member benefits.
Barry’s Bootcamp: Ahh Barry’s — if you’ve never been in the Red Room, I warn you now, it’s not pretty. You’ll get a killer workout, and DOMS for days. New members can get three classes for $99 at most locations, which is a saving of $39.
Solidcore: Expect your core to ache for days in a way it has never done before with this killer reformer Pilates class. Solidcore newbies get two weeks of unlimited classes for $99 and abs of steel.
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Rumble: A high-intensity boxing class that’ll help you work up a sweat in no time, Rumble offer a buy one class, get one free offer for new clients. Don’t forget a towel, you’ll need it.
Orangetheory Fitness: Orangetheory is a HIIT class designed to torch calories with group fitness classes involving cardio machines, TRX, and strength training. With more than 500 different studios across the country to visit, your first class is free.
BRICK Crossfit: With studios in New York, LA, and Northern California, BRICK offers a number of strength and conditioning classes to push you to your limits. Most of the studios offer a buy one class, get one free offer.
SoulCycle: If spinning is your thing, wait till you try the high-energy classes SoulCycle has to offer. For new riders, your first class is discounted to $25, or you can buy three classes for $75.
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Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.