Keeping Fit for Free, in Leeds

Remember January 1st of this year? Maybe you do because you had a horrific hangover or maybe you don’t because you were still riding on the good vibes leftover from New Years Eve. But January 2nd? It’s the date we all start to get ourselves into gear. I even wrote a post about what a new year can bring with it (you can read that here). We resolve to get fit, to feel super confident in our bikinis by summer and to eat clean… or at least try to.
But then those gym bills start to pile up, and you really can’t justify it for the 4 visits you make each month. You don’t have time to get to the gym after work, if you want to have family time. We can always find a reason. However, the one I hear the most from friends and family, is that a gym membership is just too expensive, let alone the price of a personal trainer.
Having lived as a student for the past 4 years, finding free (or very cheap) ways to do the things I want to do, has become a specialty of mine, and so it’s time to stop with the excuses! Here are 6 ways to keep up those fitness goals for free in Leeds!

1. Walk everywhere

This one is so obvious it almost doesn’t need to be said. I remember even when I was at school we got the regular talks in assemblies about getting off the bus one stop earlier than we needed to walk the rest of the way. It’s obvious, it can be boring, but this is the easiest way to keep your body moving and keep your muscles working all day! Especially in Leeds (a city of hills!), wake up and start your day with a brisk walk to work. I used to route my runs around the University of Leeds campus because it’s so hilly and there are so many huge staircases to sprint up!

2. Sweaty Betty classes

Where there is a Sweaty Betty boutique, there are free fitness classes for you to enjoy. You can make an account in less than a minute and then scroll through the classes for every week that are held in the studio above the shop in the Victoria Quarter. It’s simple and free to do, you just have to make sure you check the availability early to get a spot! Plus there’s such a great atmosphere in the classes when it’s just you and a bunch of other girls sweating it out or stretching it out! Here’s the link.

3. Be a gym bunny for the day

This one may be a little cheeky. In most big chains of gyms, there is some sort of offer of a free day pass. Depending on the gym it may even be a week. Of course, gyms do this to entice new customers, to let us experience the gym and equipment and get a feel for if we like the particular atmosphere, and of course they hope that we will sign up for a membership after this. If you genuinely are looking into finding a gym that suits you, this is a great way to go about it. As long as you don’t mind a few badgering phone calls and emails after, it’s a great way to have a few days in a proper gym (if you can’t afford it full-time) every month or so.
Try out Nuffield HealthTotal Fitness in Wakefield, Xercise4Less, and a free class with British Military Fitness.

4. Run with your doggy

Lots of people already do this, and all it does it eliminate the need to exercise your dog after you’re already worn out from exercising yourself. I know so many young professionals who hit the gym immediately after work, and then go home and have to walk their dog late in the evening. I would never turn down a free gym membership at work, don’t get me wrong, but a few evenings a week, skip the run on the treadmill or your 20 minutes on the cross trainer and take your cardio outside – with your puppy.

5. The Great Yorkshire Countryside


It is so easy to find a beautiful, open space with plenty of fresh air in Yorkshire. And as long as you’ve got the space, all you need is the work-out plan. Skip the personal trainer’s fees and save it for when you really want to get educated on your nutrition and workout routine. On your journey to getting fit you can find hundreds of free resources, with no equipment needed – except the great outdoors.

The National Trust partnered with exercise specialists Eco Fitness to create a free outdoor fitness programme. It’s a 31 day programme that eases you slowly into an exercise regime that is fun and beneficial. You can find the programme here.


6. Leeds Let’s Get Active (LLGA)


Leeds Let’s Get Active is a fab programme to get those who aren’t accustomed to physical activity to do at least 30 minutes of activity once a week. They achieve this by providing free access to leisure centre and community sports/activity citywide. This basically means free use of all Leeds City Council leisure centres during specific activity sessions every day. It typically involves one free hour every day during off-peak times.

At the following 4 leisure centres you can get an additional hour per day: John Charles Centre for Sport, Armley, Fearnville and Middleton leisure centres.

This system can provide you with the opportunity to go to the gym and swim for free, plus at Middleton leisure centre, a fitness programme has been developed (with classes and variety of racket sports!) specifically for Leeds Let’s Get Active.

LLGA is funded to continue until November 2016 (at least) so give it a quick Google and then go get active!

I hope this helps if you’re looking for some fun or free ways to keep fit during the summer months in Leeds or all year round! I’d love to hear from you if you’ve tried any of these!
How do you keep fit in Leeds? Do you know any ways to keep fit for free? As always, I love to chat! You can find me on instagram and twitter @wanderwomanco 🙂
Love, Chloe xx
p.s. I don’t have any photos from Leeds so I thought I’d include a couple from my recent graduation at Uni of Leeds! A teaser for a university-themed post coming soon!


  1. October 4, 2016 / 4:40 pm

    Thanks for the tips! I go to Leeds and walk everywhere! So much for free gym membership with accommodation!

    • October 4, 2016 / 7:46 pm

      Ah I just graduated from Leeds this year, miss the city so much already! Which halls are you in? I got a gym membership included in my rent a couple years ago!

        • October 5, 2016 / 10:43 am

          Yeah it’s super useful in first year when you’re getting used to living by yourself! It kept me at least a little in shape alongside all the chicken nuggets haha!

          • October 5, 2016 / 10:52 am

            Haha I now what you mean I keep buying curly fries for the freezer!

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