Many people want to get fit but don’t have the money to spend on an expensive gym membership. If you don’t know where to start, exercising on your own can be intimidating or even impossible if it’s not something you’ve ever done before. Fortunately, there are many free or inexpensive offerings in Chicago to get you started. Check out the suggestions below and find an affordable fitness option that intrigues you.



3415 N. Southport Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 525-5881

You can’t get more budget than free and Chicago’s local Athleta offers free classes every week. You can pick up a schedule online. Both running and yoga classes are the usual offerings, which are perfect for fitness beginners. Anyone can run and with someone to guide you on a fun run, there’s no pressure to ‘perform’ while you start working on your cardio. Yoga is an excellent start to strength training as it’s all body weight and no weights. The store is conveniently located off the Southport brown line stop.

City of Chicago
Various Park District Locations
Chicago, IL
(312) 745-1640

Chicago has done a good job of bringing the city closer to athlete friendly by adding bike paths that traverse nearly every neighborhood. But did you know that the city offers free fitness classes provided by the Chicago Department of Public Health? The classes are low-impact aerobic dance classes that are geared toward anyone who is trying to get in shape or begin their foray into fitness. All ages are welcome and anyone from beginner to expert will find the classes enjoyable. There are several park districts listed here with different schedules.



CorePower Yoga
1704 N. Milwaukee
Chicago, IL 60647

One of the most intimidating things for frugal workout beginners can be signing that gym contract. Often it’s difficult to commit to three months, six months or sometimes the required year of membership for something you’re not sure how you’re going to handle. Although most gyms in the area will offer some trial time, it’s nice to find the occasional location that offers drop-in pricing. CorePower Yoga offers single yoga classes for $20. The price of the individual class goes down as you commit to more (you can get five classes for $95 and use them when you like). There’s never any need to commit to a contract, although there are discounts on merchandise and other options if you do decide to commit. With multiple Chicago locations, you’re sure to find a location convenient to your work or home. As a bonus, brand new members get a week of free unlimited classes before they need to commit to anything.

Related:  Best Gyms In Chicago

Millennium Park
201 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 742-1168

If you enjoy being outdoors in the sun, Millennium Park offers free workouts during the summer months of June, July and August (starting early June and ending early September). Workouts are generally held in the morning hours between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. and feature anything from yoga and tai chi to zumba and pilates. The schedule is posted with Millennium Park’s other free events. If you enjoy being outdoors in the sun and want to start your mornings off with a bang, the price is right and the setting couldn’t be more picturesque.

Fleet Feet Chicago
4762 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago IL, 60625
(773) 271-3338

If running is more your style than pilates or a dance class but you can’t seem to make yourself do it on your own, try one of Fleet Feet’s fun runs. You can leave your baggage safely stowed at the store (there are currently two locations in Old Town and Lincoln Square with a third to arrive in the South Loop) and participate in a run knowing you’ll be safe on the path and in the company of other guided runners. You may make new friends or learn something new along the way. It also offers Yoga For Runners classes on the occasion to stretch out those running muscles. Check here for information on their upcoming runs for both locations.

Meredith Lyons is an actor, competitive fighter and fitness instructor in Chicago who also owns an amazing cat named Jake. Meredith has been writing on Examiner as the Chicago Martial Arts Examiner since 2008. Her work can be found at