7 Ways to Get Fit on a Budget

Contrary to what you might read in fashion magazines, getting fit doesn’t require following a trendy and expensive diet. It doesn’t even require paying $100 a month to pump iron at a gym every night. Believe it or not, you can even get fit without listening to that annoying regular gym-goer that gives you unsolicited advice about your “sloppy” form (as he simultaneously pitches his expensive personal training service).

Want to lose the expensive gimmicks and a few pounds at the same time? Here’s how to get fit on a budget.

Ditch the gym, mostly

According to Statistic Brain, the average cost of a monthly gym membership is $55. That adds up to $660 a year! You can eliminate this expense altogether by jogging or riding a bicycle instead of using gym equipment. The former is free and the latter requires a one-time cost that is typically far less than one year in a gym.

If you’re still not convinced you can get fit without a gym, consider that 67% of members never use their membership. To spare yourself hundreds in unused membership costs, pay on a monthly basis instead of buying an annual membership, if possible.

Cut your gym expenses

However, if you’re a true gym loyal, the next tip has you covered. If you’re a serious weightlifter or otherwise need access to a load of fitness equipment, you can cut your expenses by:

·         Asking your employer or health insurer if it offers gym discounts or reimbursements

·         Negotiating a lower membership fee

·         Negotiating discounted or free access to your apartment’s gym (or finding a community that offers gym membership as a perk to all residents)

·         Trying no-commitment passes to find the most cost-effective gym while getting a few free weeks of exercise

Cut class

If you need a little instruction or motivation but don’t have the money to take a class, workout videos can be very cost-effective to get guidance or be inspired. Videos exist at very affordable prices for just about every exercise and intensity level. For instance, some of Amazon’s popular workout DVDs can be purchased for around $50 or less.

If you’re looking for free videos, your local library might have a few in stock. Meanwhile, YouTube offers millions of fitness videos, so you can easily find one that fits your preferences.


Change the channel

If workout videos are beyond your budget, note that television providers often include fitness programs in their packages. For example, Time Warner offers several programs on its Exercise Sportskool on-demand channel. Comcast offers a range of Fitness Workouts™ programs on its XFINITY on Demand service, as well.

Get bargain fitness tools

You don’t need to buy a machine some celebrity promoted to get in shape. As an alternative, a simple elastic workout band can be used for a variety of upper and lower body workouts. Another option is to purchase used machines or weights. Check Craigslist, eBay and even garage sales for great deals.

Pick up a chore or two

If you pick up any chore you currently pay someone else to do, such as walking the dog or cleaning the pool, you’ll improve both your finances and health at once. For example, mowing your own grass will both save money and improve your fitness. After all, you need to use quite a few muscles to push a mower around. Doing your own gardening is another great way to work out and save money at the same time.

Mix up your commute

Driving increases your fuel and auto maintenance expenses, and it isn’t very healthy since it extremely limits your movement. Instead, limit the negative impact of driving by riding your bicycle or walking to work if it is within a few miles of your home. If your office is far away, consider biking or walking to a nearby bus or train station and taking mass transit. Another option is to drive part of the way, but park far enough to get a good walk or jog in on your way to work. Consider using this tip when you travel to other destinations as well.

Final word

Getting fit on a budget can be as easy as doing your own chores or parking a little farther from work than usual. If you’re not the outdoorsy type, you can even get a good workout in front of your TV with a workout video. Even if you need machines or weights, you can purchase used equipment inexpensively and eliminate the need to head to a gym. That is, unless you’re trying to win a weightlifting competition. At the end of the day, it’s a matter of picking the workout that suits your budget and your lifestyle.

Damaris Olaechea, NerdWallet


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