The Real Cost of Keeping Fit

You don't need major cash flow to tailor a fitness program that will help you get a handle on your behind. Says Jim Martin at Modell's (86th Street and Third Avenue), "The skip-rope is fun and good for indoors." By varying jumping styles every day, you could be ready to run in a month. At $4.99, it's the most economical and immediate way to get on the fitness track.

If you need more motivation, join a gym. Many offer great classes, one free personal training session with each new membership, group rates, and a referral reward. Gyms have moved a long way beyond aerobics and step classes, offering some form of yoga or Pilates (even "yogilates"), as well as kickboxing, spinning, boxing, prenatal, circus, ballet, jazz, modern, or funk-flavored workouts. You can also find (at additional cost) a personal trainer, spa treatments, rock-climbing adventures, healthy snacks, paraphernalia, saunas, and massage.

If you long to look like that temp who moonlights as a dancer, go right to the source—one of the many studios that offer holistic yoga and Pilates fitness, like Movement Salon (190 Third Avenue) or Tribeca Bodyworks (177 Duane Street). Dance studios like Broadway Dance Center and Steps offer a range of classes, allowing you to reach optimum body awareness by balancing dance technique with floor-barre, TaeBox, yoga, Pilates mat, belly dancing, or dance exercise.

The Bare Minimum

The Means
jogging, sit-ups, push-ups = $0
Everlast jump rope = $4.99

The Gear
your old sweats, shorts, T-shirts = $0
new sneakers at Payless = $14.99

The Extras

The Damage
about $20

Stay-at-Home Basics

The Means
Taebo tapes = $29
the AB-slide (as seen on TV) = $39.99
Orbitrek cross-training machine (optional) = $199.99

The Gear
Russell Athletic T-shirt = $11.99
Adidas wind pants = $29.99

The Extras

The Damage
$110.97 or $310.96 (with Orbitrek)

Modestly Mainstream

The Means
initiation + six months' fees at a chain gym:
A. New York Sports Club (212-860-8630) = $709
B. Crunch (212-420-0507) = $827
C. Equinox (212-439-8500) = $1275

The Gear
Freeplay pants = $19.99
matching tank top with built-in bra = $12.99
new Saucony sneakers = $40

The Extras
10-pack of personal training sessions:
A. $590 (NYSC)
B. $740 (Crunch)
C. $720 (Equinox)

The Damage
A. $781.98 or $1371.98 (with 10-pack)
B. $899.98 or $1639.98 (with 10-pack)
C. $1347.98 or $2067.98 (with 10-pack).
Be sure to check for specials, promos, and group rates. Fees may vary by location.

The Chic Alternative

The Means
yoga, Pilates, gyrotonics, or floor-barre, 10-class card:
A. Movement Salon (212-420-7242) = $80
B. Steps (212-874-2410) = $110
C. Broadway Dance Center (212-582-9304) = $115

The Gear
Danskin sweatpants = $24.99
Champion sports bra = $22
Pilates "sticky" mat = $30

The Extras
Movement Salon intro package (includes three classes, 1/2-hour massage, 1/2-hour private Pilates session) = $50
10 private Pilates sessions = $450

The Damage
A. $126.99 or $156.99 (with intro package) or $626.99 (intro package + 10 private sessions)
B. $186.99
C. $191.99

High Maintenance

The Means
where the beautiful people go to stay beautiful:
initiation + six months' fees at Reebok Sports Club NY (212-362-6800) = $2328

The Gear
Nike running shoes = $149
DKNY activewear pants = $59
DKNY activewear tank = $36

The Extras
10-pack of personal training sessions = $730

The Damage
$2572 or $3302 (with 10-pack)

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