Author | Photo Mike Baird

The Broke Girl’s Guide to: Getting Fit

Although you wouldn’t know it by looking out your windows at the moment, spring has sprung. And that means only one thing – bikini season is right around the corner. So if you, like me, spent the winter stuffing your face with pulled pork poutine, you know your bikini bod is hiding in there… somewhere. You’ve just got to sweat a bit to find it.

Traditional gym memberships might not be in the realm of affordability for some, costing you an arm and a leg (or making you sign said appendages away for a three-year term). But some gyms actually offer poor folks a break on membership costs – with proof of income, of course. Should you rake in as little as $23,298 a year, which is Statistics Canada’s low income cut-off… huzzah! Through the City of Toronto’s Welcome Policy, you’re entitled to $212 a year to spend on recreation programs as you please. Depending on the type of centre you choose, this gets you an annual membership at city fitness centres for as little as $3, up to $366.50. Or spend your allotment on fun fitness classes like Pilates and Tai Chi to get you moving.

The YMCA also offers a pretty handy Membership Assistance program, which unlike the City of Toronto, works on a sliding scale based on how much you earn and are able to afford. Be prepared to provide proof of your expenses and income like pay stub and utilities bills. And if there ever was a time that student loan repayment actually worked in your favour, you can use it here to help your case for subsidized membership. Funding for this program is made available through donations, so they do ask that you let them know if your financial situation changes so that others can also benefit.

Broke girls like free options too, and the best one we can think of is strapping on your running shoes and hitting the road and/or sidewalk. If you’re new to this whole ‘running’ thing, then hit up one of the city’s many running clubs, most of which are free. Try the Lulu Lemon Run Club which also hosts fun events like yoga and wellness talks, Frontrunners for LGTBQs or the Running Room Run Club. Most run clubs accommodate for different fitness levels and paces so you won’t be running alone miles behind the pack.


  1. MacIntyreCom
    March 26, 2013

    shedoesthecity we love any guide to getting fit!! This is perfect! #fitness

  2. stephnairn
    March 26, 2013

    shedoesthecity Don’t forget nergy exchange programs. Many yoga studios will give free access to classes for a few hrs/wk of work.

  3. kgkg
    June 5, 2013

    Passport to Prana is a great way to get in the yoga studio for super cheap. $30 gets you a pass that is good for 1 free yoga class at each of over 70 participating studios. For such a low price you really can’t go wrong!

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