(NEW YORK) -- New moms Jessica Fenderstock and Fara Napchan of New York are trying to get their bodies back after having babies – but they say expensive gym memberships and costly classes cut too deeply into the family budget. They both said they were spending $200 a month on gyms. And Americans spend $60 billion annually trying to lose weight, Marketdata Enterprises said.
But Michelle Katz, a health care advocate, said workouts, not their price tags, should make people sweat. She provided these money-saving tips to the “Real Money” team to show that Fenderstock and Napchan could shed $2,226 in excess costs this year:
1. Before you buy a membership, check out sites like GymTicket, LivingSocial and Groupon. They all offer fitness deals right in your area. “Real Money” found Fenderstock and Napchan an athletic and swim club nearby and scored them free day passes.
2. Buy gym memberships at the end of the month. Timing is everything.
“Don’t sign up until the end of the month because they’re trying to hit their numbers [then],” Katz said.
She added that they’re more likely to negotiate at the end of the month.
During negotiations, don’t be afraid to walk away, Katz said.
“You should be the first one to throw something [price] out there: ‘I only want to pay this,’” she said. “Walk away. Walk away. And I promise you they’ll call you after.”
3. Download free fitness apps. If working out at the gym is not your thing, get app-happy. Yoga Yak tells you where to find 200 free yoga classes, Nike’s Training Club offers 100 free targeted workouts and My Fitness Pal counts the calories burned and consumed.
4. Ask your health insurance company whether it has discounted memberships, as well. Many of them do, but you have to ask for it. Make sure you ask your company’s human resources department and check for AARP discounts.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio