Staying Fit on a Student's Budget

With the school year in full swing and cold weather approaching, it’s easy to fall victim to the dreaded “freshman fifteen,” or, for upperclassmen, the aptly named “first-semester fifteen.” Maintaining fitness while worrying over midterms and a million other things might seem to be a hopeless endeavor, but fear not: there are countless ways to embrace your inner health nut, even in New York City on a student’s budget.

For those with a few extra bucks, a gym membership is a great investment, and with dozens of gym franchises around New York, it’s easy to find the one that is a perfect fit for you.

Planet Fitness Just ten dollars a month provides a basic membership at Planet Fitness. With this membership comes unlimited use of the Planet Fitness gym at your chosen location, one of which sits a few doors down from The King’s College. For $19.99 a month, however, Planet Fitness offers a Black Card, which grants unlimited access to any Planet Fitness location, as well as discounts at places like Reebok and Regis Salons. No matter the membership, Planet Fitness offers access to treadmills, ellipticals, weights and circuit stations in all of their locations.

New York Sports Club Though a bit more expensive, the New York Sports Club is another great place to burn some calories and unlike Planet Fitness, they offer a student discount. For $39.95 a month, they offer unlimited access to their gym facilities as well as classes like Zumba, Pilates and boxing. Class availability varies from location to location. Nonetheless, every NYSC offers classes for beginners and advanced athletes alike.

ClassPass For those interested in a wide variety of ways to build strength and burn calories, ClassPass offers unlimited classes, ranging from kickboxing to yoga and almost everything in between. Though it is a bit pricy for the frugal college student at $125 a month, ClassPass is a much cheaper option for those looking for a gym, a yoga studio, a dance class and more. It also provides the chance to discover new and fun ways to stay fit.

Yoga If there is one thing that college students need, it is a time to relax. What better way to relax than by practicing yoga? Not only does it free the mind, but it simultaneously builds strength. New York City Recreational Centers in all of the boroughs offer free yoga throughout the year as part of the Shape Up NYC program. There are also dozens of inexpensive yoga classes around New York. Dharma Yoga in Midtown offers classes six days a week and only ask for a minimum of a $5 donation. Integral Yoga Institute near Union Square offers classes twice a week for $5 as well. Even those who have never practiced yoga prior to moving to New York should make a point to try at least one of these out, for the sake of both body and mind.

The Great Outdoors For those not so fond of gyms and workout classes or those on an even tighter budget, there are running paths around most of the New York parks, such as Brooklyn Bridge Park, Central Park, Prospect Park and Battery Park. For playing soccer, basketball or volleyball with friends over the weekend, Brooklyn Bridge Park is the place to be. Soccer fields and basketball courts and volleyball courts are located on multiple piers at the park, surrounded by the Hudson River and backdropped by the Manhattan skyline.


With all of these ways and places to exercise, there’s no reason to suffer the “freshman fifteen” or the “first-semester fifteen.” Even with a busy schedule, there is always time to squeeze in a few moments to exercise as long as you know where to go. Go run, lift weights or play a great game of volleyball with some friends. Your options in New York City are, as always, endless.