If you can’t afford a gym membership or if you just don’t want to pay, here are some ways to get your gym membership for free.

The Easiest Way to a Free Gym Membership

Sign people up.

Any good gym will have a referral program. Fitness usually spreads by word of mouth. I’ve always had a standing offer of “Refer someone who signs up and you get a free month.”

A salesman for a gym isn’t going to walk into someone’s house and start talking up the subject – but you can.

If you’re already interested and excited about the gym, your enthusiasm will spill over and infect those around you. Don’t be shy. It’s not like you’re selling drugs. You’re selling people their own health.

Hustle a little bit and get everyone you know working out at the gym. It will honestly be much more fun that way. And hell, if you get too good at it, you may have found yourself a profession.

Become Certified and Start Giving Classes

Gyms that hold different classes are always in need of instructors. This could be a spin class, a yoga class, pilates or anything.

See what they offer. See if they’ll pay for you to get certified. Then see if you can get a gym membership out of it. You’ll be working out anyway during the time you’re instructing.

I’ve never turned away willing participants or even inquiries about them. Just poke around and see what’s possible.

Sign Up During the New Year Specials

Here’s a secret: every gym has a New Year Special. It is, hands down, the busiest time of the year for any fitness center.

People feel like they need to change their bad habits and get back on the rails after all of the holiday eating.

And gyms will capitalize on that. They give a bunch of New Year Specials. If it isn’t quite New Years yet, then tell them you’ll sign up right now if you give them the deal that is coming. Feel free to talk their prices down.

Pause Your Membership

I’ve always worked at gyms where clients can pause their memberships. It is definitely an industry standard.

If you have an emergency or unexpected trip or even an expected month where you can’t come – just pause your membership.

This could get silly if you’re trying to pause your membership for three days or something, but before you sign up for a gym, get it written into the contract you sign. Let it be very clear on how long you can pause your membership for and for how short a time period.

I’ve seen too many people just waste money on training sessions that they never showed up to. If you’re too busy, just take some time off of it.

Pick Up a Broom

This is what I did to actually get my leg in the gym. I started out as a janitor.

I cleaned for a few hours twice a week and I got full access to a nice gym. I was in high school and got the extra cash and a means to get bigger muscles (a very, important thing at the time).

Then I eventually became a fitness trainer. Then I studied Exercise Science in college. Then my practice really exploded.

Trade Your Services

If you’re already established in another profession, such as marketing, then offer them up for a trade.

Work out a simple deal, where you design one bulk email for them every month or update their website or whatever it is that you do.

Get something in writing that says what your relationship is and then have fun with your free gym membership.

Just make sure that it is easy for you to do. If it gets to be too much time, tell them you’ll have to start charging.

Find a Gym That Gives You Discounts

Some gyms give discounts if you have a Triple A card, a student ID, or if you’re a veteran or were in the military.

Just make a list of each gym and ask if they give any discounts and see what they say. Sometimes they’ll give discounts to First Responders or other public service groups.

No one is going to get mad at you for asking. Once you’ve gone down the list, see which one gives the best deal.

Free Trials!

If you live in an area that has a lot of gyms, you can try them all out and take advantage of their free trials.

Usually, a free trial lasts up to a week, so you can easily pull a free month of exercise right there. Plus, you get to see which gym you like the best, and why. Check out my other article on Expensive vs Cheap Gyms to help find out what you are looking for.


There are probably thousands more ways to get a cheap or free gym membership.

No matter how much (or how little) you pay for a gym membership, the benefits of exercise will carry you through many, many years later in life.

You will be happy you kept exercising. So don’t feel like this is not worth diving into. It is. Ever heard the saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”?

It is a severe understatement.

Happy hunting!

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