Hello! We’ve reached the halfway point of the Greatist Challenge, and I’ve yet to hack into my savings account. I have also introduced my muscles and mind to a few new workouts, some of which were better than others.

I started my week with a free personal training session with Emran Riaz of React Method. After weeks of seeing training groups at a track in Williamsburg, I was inspired to join the action. I signed up for a free session with R.E.A.C.T., a fitness program that holds group and personal training sessions at every fitness level. Early Monday morning I met Emran for a heart-pumping, blood-circulating hour of TRX suspension training, rope waving (way harder than it looks, and works the core and arms like crazy), and circuit drills: jump over cones, sprint to the line, ten pushups, aaand repeat. Again. And Again. While I wouldn’t work with a personal trainer on a regular basis, it was helpful to learn new fitness routines in a one-on-one setting so I can start doing them on my own.

Tuesday I decided to stay in the comfort of my own “cozy” (that’s NYC talk for “tiny”) apartment to work out. I incorporated core work I learned from Emran, a few Pilates moves from last week, push-ups, and an upper-body workout with free weights. I created a rotation that made me feel the burn in no time, for $0 an hour. Be warned: Home exercise really requires motivation. It’s easy to get distracted or cut a work out short when doing it in the kitchen!

By Wednesday, I wanted to find a budget-friendly workout close to the Greatist office. Luckily, Crunch Gym is right around the corner, and offers free guest passes. A staff member gave me a quick tour of the gym before I hopped on the treadmill for an interval workout, followed by an upper body workout, some stretching, and a shower (my co-workers thanked me for that one). The gym also offers an array of classes (though I didn’t take any this time) that can be free fun when trying out a new gym!

Now, on to Thursday. I’ve always been eager to try hot yoga, and I’d heard about a yoga studio that offers classes for only $8. I even brought my own mat (which I got for free at last week’s IntenSati class!) and towel so I wouldn’t have to rent them for an extra cost. Our teacher suggested we sit in the 105 degree room before the class started to “get used to the heat.” So by the time class actually started, I actually wanted to dunk my head into a bucket of ice and run far, far away. But in all seriousness, the class was an intense yet rewarding 90 minutes of traditional yoga poses while focusing on breath, posture, and strength (and learning how much the body can actually sweat).

‘Twas the end of the week, and again I wanted to reward myself with a run around my neighborhood. After a week of stretching, lifting, and sprinting, I was set to get some miles back in under my belt, and ran five for free. I took it easy because some other members of the Greatist Team and I are running a free 5K in Central Park on Saturday! Wish us luck!

And the total is? $8!

The Pros: Once again, I was able to try new things, learning which types of exercise I enjoy most and which I’ll eventually want to invest my money in. A membership at a gym with a variety of classes seems well worth the cost. But dropping cash to feel close to dead in a 100-degree hotbox just doesn’t (at least for me).

The Cons: Going to new places and working with new teachers means I’m always exercising in unknown surroundings, and I have yet to build relationships with instructors.

The Tips: Most gyms have free trials, and yoga classes often have first-timer deals. Also check for free running races in your town, and don’t be afraid to work out in a cramped apartment! (You can do a push-up virtually anywhere.)

Keep following along next week as I try to do some more home exercises to take away from travel time. I also want to use another one of my $3 Pilates classes from my Yipit deal, and find fun fitness activities to do with friends. Pairing with a friend can really up the motivation!

Until Monday!

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