5 Tips for Staying Fit While Saving Money with Military Discounts

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Navy Physical Fitness Assessment
Sailors attached to various commands managed by Naval Operational Support Center, North Island perform stretch exercises in preparation for their Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) conducted on Naval Air Station North Island, Coronado, Calif., on Sept. 29, 2019. (U.S. Navy photo/Natalia Murillo)

Physical fitness is essential for service members throughout their military careers. But staying in shape and making healthy nutritional choices are also important for every member of the family.

Regardless of fitness level or experience, there are endless ways for military families to meet their fitness needs. Here are five tips for military families to help save money on your fitness journey:

1. On-Base Fitness Centers

Being a member of a local gym allows you to meet up with other fitness-minded friends who offer motivation, keeps you from having to buy expensive equipment and helps you avoid the exercise boredom rut thanks to various options for fitness classes.

But gyms aren’t cheap.

That’s why it's so great to have the option to work out at fitness centers on base, which are free on most installations for service members and their families. MWR fitness centers and gyms offer just as much as gyms that cost an arm and a leg. You’ll find cardiovascular and weight-lifting equipment, basketball and racquetball courts, and group classes like spinning, zumba, yoga and prenatal fitness. There are pools for lap swimming, lessons, and water aerobics. There are personal trainers, nutrition classes, and even intramural sports programs, such as flag football, soccer and golf.

Different installations offer different equipment and programs so check with your local installation for specifics.

2. Other Gyms

Don’t live near a military installation or prefer to work out off base? Some gyms offer military discounts on membership and enrollment fees.

24 Hour Fitness offers a membership discount program for active-duty military personnel and their families. Anytime Fitness also offers military discounts, but it's not the same at every location so check with your local club directly to see what discounts are available.

Participating YMCAs offer special military memberships, but there are specific requirements and it varies by location, so make sure to ask at your local YMCA to see what you're eligible for.

And many local boutique gyms (think CrossFit gyms and yoga studios) also advertise military discounts on membership packages. But even if the discount isn’t on the website, go ahead and ask for it anyway.

3. Fitness At Home

Can't get to a gym or prefer to work out at home? There are many ways to stay fit without leaving your house.

Peloton streams live and on-demand workout classes and offers military members a free Essentials Package with the recent purchase of a bike or tread.

The Mirror, which has over 10,000 classes on demand and new live workouts every day, offers $590 in total savings to active-duty military, Reservists, veterans and spouses. The discount includes 15% off the cost of The Mirror, three months free subscription and free delivery and installation.

Barre3 provides full-body, low-impact workouts, and you can receive military discounts on monthly subscriptions to its online classes. 

The Fitness App by Jillian Michaels, which provides customized workouts and meal plans, offers a 40% military discount off all subscription tiers after verification.

And Aaptiv, which has thousands of workouts, offers a military discount on their annual subscription plan.

4. Apparel and Equipment

You can't keep up a successful fitness plan without the proper gear, including the right clothes, shoes and equipment. A great place to start is your local Exchange. Shop around first and take advantage of their price match policy.

Stores like Kettlebells USALululemon, Under ArmourReebokNike, New BalanceAsicsBorn Primitive and Old Navy all offer military discounts. And if you're shopping at malls or outlets, don't forget to ask for a military discount in every store you visit. Malls, like the Lynnhaven Mall in Virginia Beach, Virginia, offer military discounts in many of their stores.

5. Fitness Certifications

Do you love fitness so much you want to share your knowledge and enrich the lives of others through instruction? 

Beachbody's Military Waiver Program waives the Coach Business Service Fee for military veterans, reservists, or active duty service members. Qualifying Coaches also get a reimbursement of the Business Starter Kit fee.

The American Council on Exercise or ACE is a nonprofit fitness certification, education and training provider. And they want to show their appreciation for service members and their families by offering 20% off materials. ACE also participates in the Post 9/11 GI Bill and the Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA), both of which offer financial assistance as you pursue your certification.

For more on fitness, visit the Military.com Fitness Center.

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