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Where to Work Out for Free When You’re Home for the Holidays

Crunch

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December may feel like it’s dragging on, but you’ll be home in a matter of minutes, wearing your broken-in pajama pants while you glide through your parents’ (glorious) Costco-packed pantry.

If you’re ambitious — or simply can’t get enough peppermint bark — you’re probably wondering where in the hell you’re going to work out in the middle of the ‘burbs. Merry freakin’ Christmas from us to you, because our comprehensive guide will help you get your sweat on for little-to-no money, regardless of how many high school colleagues you’re going to bump into on the treadmills.

First, let’s get the rules straight about visiting a gym with a first-timer pass in a town you don’t live in. Obviously, you can’t have used a pass recently, and you always need to bring an ID. (If you’ve previously been a member, call the location and give them a schpiel about moving or coming into some recent wealth or wanting to change your fitness goals to get you in the front door.)

Now, you may have to lie. We are not condoning it nor encouraging it, but it’s like going on a date with someone who’s looking to settle down after a minute of knowing each other. They will try to sell you a yearly membership to a gym whose location you will only enter two, maybe three times; you in turn need to provide an air of "leaving your options open." Do not fall for it! You are strong, both in body and mind, and remember: you can always sign up after your three-mile run if you decide you and this gym are OTP. Take heed particularly if any of these gyms are near where you live — enter with a curiosity about multi-location memberships, nod and smile a lot, and stick your headphones in the second you get to that treadmill, dreaming about what your possible future gym membership could feel like.

It’s a success! All before New Year’s Resolutions have even kicked in. Now, let’s get to stepping:

Image Credit: Tara Walton/Getty Images

Equinox

Where’s it at?

The luxe fitness chain operates clubs in nine states, including major cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, California, Miami, Boston and DC.

What should I do there?

The machines are all top-notch, but the classes really sets them apart. Spinning is boutique-level, barre is solid, and any class with "high intensity" in the description will probably make you puke, in a good way. (Try your best to coordinate your visit with a class of interest by looking at schedules and mentioning it in the form below.) Bring a change of clothing — you’ll want to experience the steam room and use the unlimited Kiehl’s shower products — and whatever you do, don’t miss the mini-fridge of cold, refreshing eucalyptus towels which are perfect post-workout.

How do I get in?

At Equinox, it’s not a visit. It’s "an experience", so you can imagine how hard it’s going to be to not fall in love with their luxe facilities and serious sales pitch. Click "visit us" on the top right-hand corner of the site to fill out a form and get started with a one-day trial.

Crunch

Where’s it at?

The fun-focused gym has locations in nearly 20 states, which are scattered between major cities and outer-metro suburbs.

What should I do there?

Classes, classes, classes! Utilize the unique and sometimes bizarre class options to break yourself out of that treadmill rut. Teachers are extremely accommodating to first-timers, so set your sights on Pound, Trapfit or 2Fly without feeling like a doofus, or dive into the class descriptions page and just try coming up for air.

How do I get in?

First-time visitors can get a one-day pass on Crunch’s website, but be sure to Google around — some 3-day offers are floating around, too. In New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, repeat visitors can purchase a one-day pass for $25.

Image Source: Crunch

The Y

Where’s it at?

It’s the YMCA. It’s everywhere!

What should I do there?

Get busy on cardio machines or dive into the pool and swim laps. Either way, you’re sure! to! have! a! good time! (Sorry.)

How do I get in?

Though this will sound wildly unhelpful, access does vary greatly between locations. Some have a $10 guest fee for one-day passes, others offer up to 7 days of a trial membership for free. Find the location closest to you to see how much you’ll have to shell out.

Life Time Fitness

Where’s it at?

The company operates two different clubs — Life Time Athletic and Life Time Fitness — in locations across 26 states, with plenty in Illinois, Minnesota, Texas, Michigan and Ohio. Amenities vary by location, meaning some are simply swanky gyms, while others are fully pimped out with pools, waterslides, a salon and every amenity you can think of. (Check each location’s individual amenities to peep what’s in store.)

What should I do there?

Everything. Seriously, Lifetime Fitness will make you so bummed out that you don’t live in the suburbs in a house and can park your Jeep Cherokee outside their glorious and super-clean facilities. Climb a rock wall! Go in the hot tub! Take an aqua fitness class with the old biddies! Clear your schedule and spend the day here; you won’t regret it.

How do I get in?

Request a guest pass in advance of your visit, and get stoked.

Image Source: New York Sports Club

Best Fitness

Where’s it at?

The East Coast chain has multiple locations in New York and Massachusetts, as well as individual locations in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.

What should I do there?

Whether you want to be challenged with weights, tackle intervals or do a Les Mills class alongside your no-longer-scrawny brother, you’ll be set — all in a gym with a local neighborhood vibe.

How do I get in?

They offer a staggering free 14-day trial for both gym facilities and group exercise classes, so if you’re lucky enough to live nearby, get ready to double up on the holiday treats beause you can burn it all off without dropping a dime.

My Sports Clubs

Where’s it at?

There are locations throughout New York, Boston, Washington and Philadelphia, all named after their respective spot.

What should I do there?

If you’re feeling like a blob from chowing down on your mom’s famous chocolate chip cookies, request to try out a UXF class. These progressive, crossfit-style classes will incinerate any unhealthy decisions you’ve made while prepping for Santa’s arrival. Can’t hammer down when you’ll visit? Don’t worry — you can access the UXF Training Zone freely when it’s not in use.

How do I get in?

All four branches offer a 5-Day pass for first-timers for only $5, AKA the cheapest holiday gift you can buy your loved ones.

Image Source: New York Sports Club

24 Hour Fitness

Where’s it at?

There are over 400 clubs across the country. There aren’t many in the Midwest nor in Northern or Southeastern states, but there are plenty in East Coast cities and anything west of Missouri.

What should I do there?

There are plenty of strength and toning classes, as the gym provides the a spectrum of Les Mills classes, which are perfect to offset all the seasonal lattes you’re bound to be treating yourself to. But, if you’re not a classes person, there are endless machines to run, glide and pedal on. The facilities are nice regardless of which you choose — basically, picture a nice, bright, clean gym, and you’ll envision this place.

How do I get in?

Fill out the online form to attend a trial day at a club near you for free. Just be sure to check in advance to confirm that you’ll be able to drop-in for a class.

Gold’s Gym

Where’s it at?

Scattered all throughout the country — check the gym locator to find one near you.

What should I do there?

You could do cardio or classes but what’s the point? You’re at Gold’s Gym and you’ll potentially never be back, so lift weights! Bench dumbbells! Do tricep extensions with three pound weights! Live your truth, and obviously, leave with a fresh muscle tank. C’mon.

How do I get in?

The website touts a "7 Day VIP Free Membership," so prepare yourself for the tough sell, as some locations may not honor it. Fill out the form now so you’re good to go when you’re home, or sign up for a separate Class Pass to experience group fitness once you select your location. Day passes are available, prices vary per location.

Image Source: New York Sports Club

Curves

Where’s it at?

Pretty much everywhere, because it’s franchised. Check out Curves’ location finder for the one nearest you.

What should I do there?

What they tell you to! Curves offers a thirty-minute group circuit exercise, as well as circuits that focus on abs, arms, and legs. They’ve recently partnered with Jillian Michaels on a full body workout and added Zumba interludes between strength machines, so there’s variety available throughout the time you’re trapped in the ‘burbs. And, of course, Instagram the shit out of it. You’re at Curves, homie! It’s double-tap gold.

How do I get in?

The website is a dead-end, don’t even waste your time on it. Instead, call 1-800-CURVES30 to sign up for a free appointment at a location near you. When there, you’ll have a consultation, go over the facility, and potentially get a one-week trial membership to use before signing up. (It varies by location.)

LA Fitness

Where’s it at?

With hundreds of locations on the East Coast, West Coast and in the South, LA Fitness is a solid option for anyone who doesn’t call a state between Iowa and Nevada home. (It’s a veritable LA Fitness deadzone.)

What should I do there?

The group fitness options (Zumba, AquaFit, Boot Camp Conditioning) are straightforward but bit slim on offerings if you’re used to boutique studio life. Take matters into your own hands and go for a lengthy swim in the pool or hit the cardio machines. They’re not exactly the nicest gyms, but hey, they get the job done.

How do I get in?

They’ll give you and your significant other the perfect excuse to escape family craziness with a complimentary consecutive three-day pass for you and a friend. Fill the request form out now to get the pass, which you’ll have 30 days to use. When there, you’ll have to fill out a form have a quick meeting with a membership advisor, but you won’t have to take down the tree because you’ll be getting busy on an elliptical, so, win. Be prepared to do battle, though — some people have said that they try strong-arming you into signing up, and may even charge you to use the pool and other facilities.