You Can Get Fit—Even on a Budget!
Yes, there are ways to watch your waistline while watching your budget. Think you need an expensive gym membership, a personal nutritionist or lots of pricey weights and equipment to get in shape? Think again. The key is to make the right workout, lifestyle and nutrition choices. Here’s a list of affordable tips and habits you can use to shape up without going broke.
Skip the gym and head outside
Think about typical gym equipment, like treadmills, stationary bikes and stair climbers. All of these exercises can be done for free, on your own. All you need is a decent pair of shoes. Plus, you’ll get the added bonus of fresh air and sunshine (just don’t forget the sunscreen), and you’ll never have to sit down on someone’s leftover sweat mark again!
Try home video and DVD workouts
Invest in an “on-screen” trainer and save the money you’d be paying to take classes as your local gym. At about $15-25 per video or DVD, one program can cost less than a month’s membership and you can use it over and over. It’s also perfect for maintaining your workout during inclement weather.
Don’t buy “workout” food
Sports drinks and protein bars can’t give you anything you couldn’t already find in your pantry. Instead of these expensive goodies, try peanut butter on whole-wheat crackers, bananas, or low-fat granola. Drink water or fruit juice cut with club soda if you’re thirsty.
Make your own weights
Create your own weights with ordinary household items instead of purchasing expensive equipment. Fill empty milk, water or dish soap bottles with water or sand then secure the top with heavy-duty tape to create an inexpensive set of adjustable weights. Just add more water or sand to the jugs to adjust them as your fitness level changes. Or try lifting food. Use canned soups or veggies, sacks of potatoes, or pet food—the possibilities are endless.
Buy canned fruits and vegetables
Not only will they double as free weights, but studies show they are as nutritious as their fresh counterparts, but usually cost much less. Plus, if your pantry is stocked with canned fruits and veggies, you’ll be more likely to use them regularly in your meals making them a healthy habit.
Play with kids
If you have children, you already have enthusiastic exercise partners. Instead of just watching them play, join in. Don’t drive to the park—walk instead. Not only is it great exercise for you, but it’s good for them too. If you don’t have kids, try babysitting, and make sure you play with the kids!
Do it yourself
Mow your own yard instead of paying someone or having someone do it for you. Shovel snow yourself. Want to spruce up your house inside? Paint the walls—the lifting, stretching and bending make it a great workout. Even cleaning can burn lots of extra calories.
Learn to bargain
If you really want to join a gym or a health club, make a deal with them. Many gyms and clubs have New Year’s specials, so take advantage of them. And the rest of the year, know that because business competition is so strong, you can often get a better deal than the advertised price—if you do some haggling. Let them know you’ve been shopping around and ask them to match other rates you’ve gotten, or ask if you can get a “group discount” if you bring family or friends to join with you.
Don’t pay more than you need to just to stay in shape—there are ways to get fit that fit your budget!