“Gym memberships are just too expensive!”
It’s by far the most common excuse for not working out — with the possible exception of “I don’t have time!” And yes, with the rise of boutique fitness studios that wouldn’t look out of place in an interiors magazine, working out can be expensive. But it certainly doesn’t have to be — especially if you live in Sydney where there’s a range of fantastic ways to work out for free. Nope, not ‘free’ as in ‘pretty affordable’, but literally $0, no matter how often you go. Read on for URBANSWEAT’s insider guide to getting fit for free in Sydney.
For the outdoor exerciser:
From the famous Bondi Beach Brutes Bar to the luxe modern day jungle gym in Macquarie (above), Sydney has an incredible array of outdoor gyms. In fact, with hundreds of them spread across the city, there’s nearly one in every suburb! You can do everything from pull-ups and dips to body weight and calisthenic-style workouts. Not only do you get to soak up the fresh air while you work out, but it’s 100% free! You can check out where your closest outdoor gym is here.
For the runners:
Yes, pounding the pavement is free. But sometimes, you just need a group of like-minded running buddies to keep you motivated and distract you from the pain. Parkrun hold 5km timed runs around Australia (and the world) every Saturday. They’re open to all experience levels, lots of fun and most importantly, 100% FREE! They have dozens of locations across Sydney — you can check them out here
For the Yogis:
Lululemon’s (admittedly gorgeous and high quality) activewear may be on the pricier side, but turns out the brand is actually rather generous. For years, they’ve offered free yoga sessions in cities across the globe. Sydney is no exception, with community yoga classes happening in a different location nearly every week — both in-store and in gorgeous spots like Hyde Park and Circular Quay. You can keep up with the latest Lululemon community yoga classes here. Our tip: Make sure you get there early to nab a space and BYO mat, as they aren’t provided.
For the solo athlete:
Sick of screaming PT’s, smelly gym dudes and unflattering mirrors wherever you turn? Don’t worry folks, the rise of online fitness has got your back. You are now able to exercise when you want, how you want and where you want. Take your HIIT workout to Hyde Park on your lunch break, practice yoga on Bondi beach or do a sweaty workout right in your living room. Search Youtube for free classes and watch them on your phone, or download your favourite workout app, very few require more equipment then than an exercise mat and a set of dumbbells (which you can substitute for bags of flour or bottles of milk).
For the water babies:
OneWave is a not-for-profit surf community tackling mental health issues with a simple recipe — saltwater therapy, surfing and fluro. Each week, they hold their free Fluro Friday sessions on beaches across Sydney to raise awareness of mental health. You rock up in your finest fluro and swim, surf and do yoga with a rad group of people. Working out in the ocean for a good cause — what more could you ask for? You can check out OneWave’s upcoming events here.
For the bootcamp junkie:
Need someone to yell at you (nicely) to get the most out of your workouts? You could recruit your partner/friend/sibling to do the honours — but why do that when you could go to a free bootcamp? Every Monday and Wednesday night, a huge social bootcamp is held in Hyde Park. It’s free to the first 20 people who RSVP to each session and then a thrifty $5 for everyone else. The sessions are held all year round, so there’s never an excuse not to get in your weekly workout. You can find out more about the Crosstraining Fitness Bootcamp here.
For commitment phones:
If you’re a bit of a commitment-phobe/variety seeker when it comes to exercise, you may find that you spend a fortune on working out. A ClassPass membership that you forgot to cancel here, a drop-in gym class there and boom, all of a sudden you’re blowing half your budget on fitness. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way! There are free options for workout wildcards.
Firstly, there’s Live Life Get Active — an AMAZING organisation that runs group fitness classes across Australia. They have everything from yoga to boxing and cross-training. Their goal is to remove the barriers for Aussies who want to be fitter and healthier— so not only are the classes free, they’re suitable for all fitness levels. You can learn more about Live Life Get Active here.
If you have a way with words, you could also become an URBANSWEAT contributor and work out for free! We are always on the lookout for writers to try out new fitness classes around Sydney. Check out our CONTRIBUTORS section to find out more.