10 Trendy Workouts You Can Do for Less


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Spring break is just around the corner, which means it's time to shed some pounds before breaking out the bathing suit. Fitness classes are a good way to keep up morale while working toward a stronger, healthier physique, but some trendy workouts can cost more than a month's membership at the local gym. Instead, look at these budget-friendly alternatives to popular 2016 fitness trends, including bodyweight exercises, low-impact workouts, and butt-kicking self-defense.


Between Ronda Rousey's rise to fame and Conor McGregor's smack talking, mixed martial arts has become one of the fastest-growing sports in America and raised interest in other combat sports that involve striking and grappling. Boutique boxing studios offering heavy-bag work set to high-tempo music have sprung up around the country, but it's also possible to get a boxing fix at home. YouTube hosts a variety of exercises for beginners, such as the "Ultimate 20-Minute, In-Home Boxing Workout" from NateBowerFitness.


Running and sports can take a toll on joints after a while. Alternative motion machines such as ellipticals, stair climbers, and cross trainers take some pressure off, because the feet never leave the machine, but they can cost thousands of dollars. Expensive equipment or a gym membership isn't necessary for a low-impact workout. Alternatives include speed walking, hiking, and biking, and MyFItnessPal has put plenty of low-impact cardio exercises for beginners online.


Pilates emphasizes building core muscles, using a pulley and spring system to regulate resistance and build endurance. Training is notoriously expensive, with group classes costing $50 or more. Mat Pilates classes still cost at least $20. Follow free online Pilates tutorials at home instead. YouTube fitness guru Cassey Ho has a 28-day "Intense Interval Training" workout with a program ebook for $39 -- cheaper than a one-time Pilates reformer class at some boutique studios. Core strengthening workouts can also be created on apps such as Fitocracy.


The extra motivation that comes from grunting and sweating in front of a mirror with 15 other people can carry you through an intense workout. Gyms that offer group classes can cost upward of $60 a month for membership, though, and a la carte classes add up quickly. Booya Fitness and Live Streaming Fitness offer $10 monthly subscriptions for pre-recorded or live group fitness classes that get cheaper with a longer contract. There are also free fitness videos on YouTube and Fitness Blender.


Weight rooms are filled with racks of dumbbells and barbells, but some of the best workouts can be done with only body weight as resistance. From isolated isometric movements or traditional pushups, these moves can strengthen muscles and improve cardiovascular endurance. Greatist has compiled 50 bodyweight exercises that can be done anywhere, anytime.


Personal training appears on the American College of Sports Medicine list of 2016 fitness trends, but booking one-on-one sessions with a trainer at the local gym can run well into the thousands annually. These days, people with the discipline to work out at home can find their own virtual trainers. Social media fitness gurus such as Mankofit create and publish free 30-day fitness and diet challenges on Instagram. Others charge fees that still save compared with in-person training. Rauve Suave has 12-week plans that end up costing less than $1 a day and invites Instagram followers to email for custom plans.


HIIT can be found just about anywhere, from group boot-camp classes to warm-up drills at boxing studios. Tabata training, a type of HIIT, involves maximum effort for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. It's an exhausting regimen that burns calories quickly. Instead of scouring gym schedules for Tabata, try it at home. There are a variety of Tabata training apps available for mobile phones, such as the Tabata HIIT Timer (Android) and the Tabata Stopwatch (iOS). Just plug in a few favorite workout moves and start training.


Intimidating yellow and black TRX straps hanging at gyms signal the presence of an intense workout that uses every muscle and includes many of 2016's top exercises, including yoga, strength, and bodyweight training. Since feet are strapped in during TRX workouts, core strength is required to maintain form, stability, and balance. People who aren't keen on buying straps for home use can still opt for workouts targeting core muscles and arm strength. Use exercise balls to challenge balance and turn to personal trainer Tara Sabo for a list of TRX-inspired moves to try.


Yoga remains on the ACSM list of 2016's top fitness trends. A step further is hot yoga, an intense physical and mental workout in a heated room. Temperatures can get as high as 105 degrees, and classes cost anywhere from $20 to $35. But it's possible to sweat at home for free, with tips for arranging a home hot yoga studio from Heating Green. After setting up a small room with a yoga mat, full-length mirror, thermometer, and space heater, work on the 26 hot yoga poses. A quick online search will turn up numerous guides and comprehensive videos.


Strength training has always been a go-to for those seeking a toned physique and faster metabolism -- muscle burns far more calories than fat. Gyms always feature group classes that incorporate weight training with dumbbells, body bars, or Bosus inflated devices. A gym membership isn't necessary for strength training, though. Buy some inexpensive weights (a 40-pound Gold's Gym vinyl dumbbell set is $17 from Walmart) and seek out tutorials online, searching by fitness goals and target areas.