I’m frugal by nature and over time, I’ve come to appreciate quality.  It’s a beautiful thing when these two values come together.  
You don’t always have to pay a premium for quality products and services.  

Here are just a few of my favorite fitness related frugal finds.

Fitness Clubs – Planet Fitness http://www.planetfitness.com/

Their commercials are strange and gave me a negative impression about the club. Large billboards advertising $10 per month membership fees along with glowing recommendations from friends turned the tide, so I went by to check out this Baton Rouge new comer.
For the price of a few combo meals, Planet Fitness provides a safe, clean, spacious and well equipped place to work out.
From their website: We don’t have any salespeople, and we don’t bother with all the extras like juice bars and childcare that drive up costs and can make a gym membership seem more like a car payment. Instead, we’ve boiled our business down to the things that you really want in a health club – clean, stylish, hassle-free facilities that are filled with tons of brand-name cardio and strength equipment, and a lot of happy people. If you’re looking for a comfortable, friendly place to exercise, and like a great deal, then you’ll love Planet Fitness.
The Baton Rouge facility I visited has ~150 sparkling new pieces of cardio equipment, (treadmills, elliptical, cybic arts machines and bikes), areas for stretching, free weights, weight machines and two timed circuits that reminded me of a more intense Curves type setup.  The location is open 24/7 and felt very safe with staff onsite at all times.   Specialty services are included in their upgraded membership (which prices out to a whole whopping $19 per month).  These services include unlimited fitness training, tanning and use of  hydro massage tables and massage chairs. (Honestly, the sight and thought of the self service massage table and chair sparked a bit of OCD in me).  Strange also reappeared in their red light therapy booth (another specialty service that is supposed to illuminate and shake fat off), and in the offering of a free pizza night on the first Monday of each month (…is that to put fat back on???). Those few items ignored, I really like this club.  It’s a very nice facility at an unbelievable price. BTW, PlanetFitness is a national franchise with clubs popping up all over the nation. 

Fitness Apparel – Danskin Now – http://www.danskinow.com/

When I think performance wear retailer – I don’t think Wal-Mart, but that is where I happily found the Danskin Now line. 
Don’t let their sparse and partially functioning website fool you, (Iconix – you can do better), Danskin Now has a substantial line of products including activewear, fitness equipment and footware (I won’t go there with the shoes – see tips for healthy feet). 
I do, however, have and enjoy several of their performance wear items.  The Active Tanks are my go to pieces for strength, Pilates or PraiseMoves workouts.  They fit well, are comfortable, breathable, cute cute cute and I believe I paid $3.88 per tank.  The fit and function of their moisture wicking Active Tee ($5) is comparable to my Reebok Dri-Fit shirts and I prefer the Danskin zip front sports bras ($11) over Nike.  With many items under $12, Danskin’s well-fitting and functioning pieces are a cost effective way to fill in a fitness wardrobe.  

Fitness Inspiration – PRAYFIT –  http://www.prayfit.com/

For me, exercise and fitness is much more than an activity of the body.  It’s also a soul and spirit thing.   An act of worship and stewardship.  The “why” behind my exercise/healthful eating as well as the strength and motivation that enables me to do what I do comes from God.  The ministry outreach from Prayfit directly supports this goal. 
From their website: Conceived of by fitness expert Jimmy Pena, MS, CSCS, and developed with the help of friend and fellow fitness writer Eric Velazquez, NSCA-CPT, PrayFit was designed to meet two basic needs: spiritual nourishment and physical development. In a few short years, PrayFit has become the fastest growing faith-and-fitness brand on the market. At PrayFit, we believe that the Lord has mandated a dedication to our health.The goal of PrayFit is to be a place where fitness-minded believers can read and memorize God’s Word while pursuing a healthier lifestyle. 
I first heard of PrayFit about a year ago during a Tyler Perry interview. He credits this method/program for his weight loss.   Since then, I’ve received PrayFit Daily, a FREE faith and fitness email subscription.  Each morning they send out a fitness related Bible devotion and either a fitness tip, suggested exercise or healthful recipe.  It’s a great daily boost of inspiration.

Fitness Information – Fitness Magazine http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/

A journal from the American Council on Exercise or the Cooper Institute it is not, but it is a nice one stop shop for things fitness.  This periodical offers solid information, motivation and tips on weight loss, diet and nutrition, food, recipes, health and beauty. 

Each month, I look forward to the assessments, product reviews and specialized workouts.  With the electronic version of the magazine or online at their website, you can see demonstrations of the exercises.  There you can also access this really neat  Build A Video Workout. feature.  Here you can mix and match video clips demonstrating different exercises and create a custom video workout that matches your desired time, problem areas, available equipment etc. The recipes are also consistently fantastic. Reasonably healthy and creative enough for a change using ingredients easily sourced from your pantry or local grocery store.  This month, I’m digging their oatmeal recipe made with chai tea instead of water and garnished with peaches and toasted nuts.  

A print subscription to this magazine can be purchased for about $5.99 per year, (which includes free access to the eversion for ipads, kindle and android tablets). Most of the online features at the fitnessmagazine.com website are free.  

Fitness Retailers

Brick and mortar – Academy Sports and Outdoor.   This is my local go to spot for a wide selection and competitive pricing on sports equipment and supplies. (Clothing – not so much.)
Online – www.Amazon.com   About 75% of my fitness electronics items and books are from Amazon.  Their pricing and item availability kicks butt, plus they redeem AMEX Rewards Points.

Fitness Steal of a Deal Groups
If you like Groupon or Living Social, check out the sites below.  They operate by the same principle, you sign up (for free) and are sent notices of HUGELY discounted deals on all kinds of fitness equipment.  I’ve picked up several wonderful products at as much as 75% off!

Schwaggle – operated by the Active company

Gearbuzz – operated by the Competitor group

I hope some of this information is helpful.  If you use any of these sites and find a great deal, please let me know what you got!  Also please share any good fitness related deals you know of.

Take care

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