Stay Active With Austin’s Free and Donation-Based Workouts

By Julia Salas – August 19, 2022

Staying active and healthy at an affordable price may not always be the easiest thing. With rising fitness class prices and costly gym studio memberships, it can be hard to find an affordable and fun workout session. 

Many of Austin’s popular gym studio memberships range anywhere from $40 to $100 per month. Additionally, everyday classes at fitness studios can be quite expensive for many people.

Luckily, for those who don’t have a lot of expendable income, there’s no need to worry. Several local, Austin fitness studios and shops provide donation-based or free workouts. Whether you’re tight on a budget or just want to try something new, Austin has plenty of other fun and affordable options.

Black Swan Yoga

Cost: $10 minimum donation

Black Swan Yoga is a community-centered fitness studio that encourages people of all ages and fitness levels to participate. They believe in accessible and affordable yoga for everyone, which is why they offer classes by donation. Black Swan has five studios located all over Austin and is a great way to be active. Whether you’re completely new to yoga or have been doing it for years, this 90-degree heated yoga class is sure to get you sweating and feeling good. 

Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop

Cost: Free

Located off of Nueces Street in the heart of downtown Austin, Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop offers weekly rides led by knowledgeable volunteers. Their mission is to help people realize the joy of riding a bike, which is why they offer free rides at their shop. Whether you’re looking for a casual spin or an advanced ride, there’s a workout for every skill level. For new riders or those looking for a more casual spin, try the Scout-a-Route ride every Saturday at 9 a.m. For those looking for more intermediate or advanced routes, Mellow Johnny’s offers numerous weekly rides of varying difficulty. 

Practice Yoga Austin

Cost: $15-25 recommended donation

Practice Yoga Austin, which is located off of East 6th Street, is a donation-based class that values making yoga accessible to all. They value all kinds of yogic practices and offer a wide variety of classes such as vinyasa, mindfulness, align and sound bath meditation. Their recommended donation of $15 to $25 is given to the instructor for their hard work and willingness to teach yoga classes. However, because they value making yoga accessible, they encourage people to donate what works best with their budget. So if you don’t have a lot of expendable income or are just looking to try something new before putting a lot of money into it, this is a great way to start.

People doing yoga.

Austin Runners Club

Cost: Annual $30 fee

Austin Runners Club started in 1974 as a way to connect those who share a love for running. As a club, its goal is to transform people’s lives through running to build a healthier and more active lifestyle. They bring the communities of Austin together by organizing running clubs, giving back to the community and directing local races. The best part is you can have access to all of their activities with only one $30 fee every year. If you’re just looking for motivation to be active or training for a marathon, Austin Runners Club encourages and motivates people of all ages and abilities to join.

Zilker Park Yoga

Cost: Free or donation

All levels of yoga are accepted and welcome to join the weekly Saturday morning sessions at Austin’s famous Zilker Park. Whether you have an interest in being outdoors or meeting new people, this yoga session has something for everyone. Hosted by Adam Horn, a certified yoga instructor, these sessions are sure to give you all the right skills you need to practice yoga and improve your technique. Each class is taught in a way that is accessible to all levels of expertise. After each session, all attendees are encouraged to stay to chat, hang out and meet new people.

Rowing Dock Yappy Hour

Cost: Second hour free

For those looking to stay cool in the Texas heat, the Rowing Dock is a great way to stay active. Every Tuesday, they offer your second hour of kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding at no cost if you bring a pet. So grab your dog and a couple of friends, and use this time to paddle around Town Lake to look at the city’s beautiful scenery. This is a great way to get moving and have fun with others without doing an intense full-body workout. 

Phenom Cycling

Cost: Free

Phenom Cycling is a club whose goal is to offer a friendly, safe and encouraging environment for cyclists. Although they do not consider themselves to be a club for beginners, they encourage anyone who has an interest in cycling to ride with them. All group rides start from Cycleast in Austin, and there is no membership required to join. These rides are long and challenging, but definitely worth it.

These are just a few of the free or donation-based workouts that can be found in the city. So if you’re tight on a budget or looking for a new workout in Austin, these classes are sure to keep you active while having fun with others.

Someone cycling.


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