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Best Budget Fitness Classes In The Bay Area

Sports Basement (credit: Randy Yagi)

It's a brand new year, and what better way to start it right than by getting in better shape! While there are tons of fitness classes throughout the Bay Area, most require a club membership or high fees for non-members. But for people on a budget, there are still plenty of fitness classes that are low cost or better yet, absolutely free. Here are five of the best budget fitness classes to check out in the Bay Area.

Free Fitness Classes
Sports Basement Sunnyvale
1177 Kern Ave.
Sunnyvale, CA  94085
(408) 732-0300

With locations throughout the Bay Area, the Sports Basement offers a number of ongoing free or low cost fitness classes. For example, the Sunnyvale store features classes like core and fitness, yoga and Zumba, in addition to group bike rides, fun runs and paid classes such as baby boot camps and Karna Camp. Other local Sports Basement stores offering fitness classes include Campbell, Walnut Creek, Berkeley and the Bryant Street and Presidio stores in San Francisco. People interested in finding out more about upcoming classes can visit the Sports Basement's Community link for classes and store events.

Marin Headlands Visitor Center, Fort Barry (credit: Randy Yagi)

Healthy & Free First Saturdays
Point Bonita YMCA
981 Fort Barry
Sausalito, CA  94965
(415) 331-9622

With sweeping views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline, the Point Bonita YMCA offers healthy and free classes on the first Saturday of the month. All monthly classes are open to guests of all ages, and online RSVPs and payment for an optional lunch after the class can be made through EventBrite. Upcoming classes include Two-Become-One Partner Yoga on Saturday, February 6 and the History of the Headlands Hike on Saturday, March 5. Located less than a mile from the Marin Headlands Visitor Center at Fort Barry, Point Bonita YMCA also offers a handful of environmental education programs, such as Coast Trek Day Trips and a Gardening for Health.

JCC East Bay
1414 Walnut St.
Berkeley, CA  94709
(510) 848-0237

The Berkeley branch of the JCC East Bay offers several low cost fitness classes, including BodyPUMP and Fun, Fitness and Dance. All classes are open to the public and JCC East Bay members, but only the BodyPUMP classes are available on a per class basis. The class is open to all ages, and the fee is $12 and $10 for JCC East Bay members, but the first class is free. Other classes, such as Moving Qi and Fun, Fitness and Dance, are open to adults 55 and over and the cost is $35 per semester. The Berkeley branch is located on Walnut Street, one mile north of the UC Berkeley campus and just a short walk from the world famous Chez Panisse restaurant.

Laughter Yoga Classes
UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine
1545 Divisadero St., 5th Floor
San Francisco, CA  94115
(415) 353-7718

Easily one of the most fun classes to take in the Bay Area is Laughing Yoga at UCSF's Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. Led by instructor Teresa Corrigan, the classes are absolutely free and are held two Wednesdays per month, with no advance registration required. However, online registration can be made through EventBrite for upcoming Laughing Yoga classes. As the name suggests, Laughing Yoga is a method founded during the mid-90s by Dr. Madan Kataria which incorporates traditional yoga exercises such as deep breathing and stretching with laughter exercises. The UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine is located next to the UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion, near the intersection of Divisadero and Post Streets.

Dolores Park (credit: Randy Yagi)

Sweating To The 80s!
Dolores Park
19th and Dolores Sts.
San Francisco, CA  94114

Sweatin' to the 80s is a community class hosted by fitness professional Tif of Tif Fit Adventures. Classes are generally held the first Saturday of the month at popular San Francisco spots like Golden Gate Park and Dolores Park. The fee is donation based but an RSVP is required and only open to those 18 years or older. Participants are encouraged to dress up in '80s-style attire such as leotards, leg warmers and sweat bands, especially when exercising popular hits from the '80s. Participants must also bring their own mat, and a set of hand weights is recommended. By registering online, participants can also be notified in advance if a class had to be canceled.

Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he received a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on


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