Here at Hip & Healthy, we’re big believers that keeping fit in the city shouldn’t- and needn’t be- a financial strain. Whilst fancy urban gyms may offer the very latest in sporting technology with a nice price to suit, there’s a lot to be gained from trying out free fitness classes in your local area or from following online tutorials at home, at a time that slots easily into your daily routine.

Expensive membership fees and minimum contract periods often put us off the idea of signing up for something new which is probably why many of us, at one stage or another, have fallen into the trap of routinely sticking to the same old running routes. Unsurprisingly, our fitness reaches a plateau and, quite simply, we get bored. Guilty as charged. Yet, with a little research, you’ll soon discover that there’s a fantastic selection of free classes thanks to a whole host of new and exciting fitness trends emerging in the city – you just need to find them!

So, if you’re looking to turn your hand to something new or want to find some fitness friends to work out with, the following list is a smart girl’s guide to being a thrifty city fitty (yes, that’s quite a mouthful). My first piece of advice is this; keep your eyes and ears open, ask around and, most importantly, save those pounds for a well-earned super juice.

1. Sweaty Betty. With shops all over London, Sweaty Betty runs a variety of in-store (and outdoor) fitness classes ranging from ballet boot camps to running clubs. Head over to the community section on sweatybetty.com to find the one nearest to you. Be warned; places book up fast. That said; don’t be discouraged, if you inquire now you’re sure to find something for the near future.

2. Park Run. Wherever you are in the UK, if you love running and want to take it to the next level, find your local run at www.parkrun.org.uk. Most Saturdays throughout the year, eager runners across the country meet at 9AM (eek, it’s early, but it’s definitely worth it) and run a set 5K course. A unique barcode logs your time so you can easily track your progress. A great community of runners and a great way to start the weekend! No booking, just sign up to receive your barcode.

3. Lululemon. Want to work on your vinyasa flow? Lululemon athletica holds free yoga sessions every Sunday at various showrooms across London. Each session is taken by a different yoga teacher offering a different style of practise ranging from the traditional to the more experimental (urban fitness yoga anyone?). It’s great if you’re easily bored and like a challenge. No booking required, just turn up in plenty of time in order to reserve your space.

4. Yoga Glo. If there isn’t a Lulumelon near you, yogaglo.com offers a free 15 day trial and plenty of online material at your fingertips. You can filter by style, level and duration so there really is something to suit every yoga bunny in town. Try ten minutes of yoga in the morning and you might just be surprised at how it mentally and physically prepares you for the day ahead. No booking required, just sign up online.

5. Okay, I admit, it’s a little sneaky but all of the following gyms offer free day passes or taster sessions to allow you to experience their facilities: Fitness First, Harpers Fitness, Curves, LA Fitness, Nuffield Health, Total Fitness and British Military Fitness. The idea is that you’ll try it, love it and want to sign up for more but be shrewd, politely say you’re exploring your options when they ask. It’s easy once you get the hang of it.

On the 20th March Lululemon has organised  CHEEKY YOGA – a whole day of free yoga in loads of participating studios across London! Get involved!! For more information visit: http://info.lululemon.co.uk/cheeky-yoga/

Your new mantra; fitness should be fun and free. So go forth fellow city fitties and do us proud!

words by Alexandra Salisbury
image by Sweaty Betty