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5 Tips for Staying Fit While Saving Money

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Physical fitness is essential for service members throughout their military careers. But staying in shape and making healthy nutritional choices are also important for every member of the family. Regardless of fitness level or experience, there are endless ways for military families to meet their fitness needs.

Here are 5 tips for military families to help save money on your fitness journey:

1. On-Base Fitness Centers

Being a member of a local gym gets you out of the house, allows you to meet up and exercise with other fitness-minded friends who offer motivation, keeps you from having to buy expensive equipment, and helps you avoid the exercise boredom rut by providing various options for fitness classes.

But gyms aren’t cheap.

That’s why it's so great to have the option to work out at fitness centers on base, which are free on most installations for service members and their families. MWR fitness centers and gyms offer just as much, if not more, than all those fancy gyms that cost an arm and a leg. You’ll find cardiovascular and weight-lifting equipment, basketball and racquetball courts, and group classes like spinning, zumba, yoga, and prenatal fitness. There are pools for lap swimming, lessons, and water aerobics. There are personal trainers, nutrition classes, and even intramural sports programs, such as flag football, soccer, and golf.

Different installations offer different equipment and programs so check with your local installation for specifics.

2. Other Gyms and Health Clubs

Don’t live near a military installation or prefer to work out off base? Some gyms and health clubs offer military discounts on membership and enrollment fees.

Gold’s Gym offers 20% off monthly dues and a discounted enrollment fee, and at 24 Hour Fitness you can sign up with no initiation fee and pay only $29.99 a month. The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) created the Joining Forces Network to provide free health club memberships to the families of deployed Reservists and National Guard members. Participating YMCA’s offer military discounts, but it varies by location and sometimes by branch of service, so make sure to ask. Many local CrossFit gyms also advertise military discounts on membership packages. But even if the discount isn’t on the website, go ahead and ask for it anyway.

3. Sports

Are you a runner? MWR also helps military families as they reach their fitness goals through fun runs and races. Most races are even free! Some areas, such as Hampton Roads in Virginia, offer plenty of opportunities to keep you running on a regular basis. Race schedules vary so contact your local MWR office for more details.

Military discounts are available for other runs as well. In the past, the Marine Corps Marathon offered military members 15% off registration in the 4 weeks prior to registration opening to the general public. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series has also shown their support for the military by offering a $10 military discount on marathons and half-marathons. You also never know about military discounts available for local races so always ask.

Do you stay in shape on the ski slopes during the winter? Click here for a list of over 30 ski resorts that offer military discounts.

Are you a golfer? Click here for golf-related military discounts.

4. Fitness Certifications

Do you love fitness so much you want to share your knowledge and enrich the lives of others through instruction? 

Beachbody offers their Coaching Opportunity to military members for free. And as a member of their coach community, you get all Beachbody fitness programs and nutritional supplements for 25% off, always.

The American Council on Exercise or ACE is a nonprofit fitness certification, education and training provider. And they want to show their appreciation for service members and their families by offering 20% off materials as well as the chance for veterans to apply for full scholarships. ACE also participates in the Post 9/11 GI Bill and the Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA), both of which offer financial assistance as you pursue your certification.

Do you specialize in yoga? YogaFit for Warriors is a program aimed to educate yoga teachers about PTSD and TBI and how yoga can help students with these issues. Just like ACE, YogaFit is approved for the GI Bill and MyCAA. They also offer $50 off each Warriors Training for service members and spouses.

5. Apparel and Equipment

You can’t keep up a successful fitness plan without the proper gear, including the right clothes, shoes and equipment. A great place to start is your local Exchange. Then check out the military discounts offered by the following:

For more on fitness, visit the Military.com Fitness Center.

Click here for a list of more Military.com articles about discounts.

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