Tighten Your Belt

Now is as good a time as any to tighten your belt, both financially and physically! You don’t have to spend a ton of money to get fit and healthy. Here are some great ideas for working out on a budget.

Running. This is my favorite form of free exercise. It requires practically no equipment (depending on if you count your running shoes as such), and you get to enjoy being outdoors. When the weather is nice, I always feel like I’m missing out by being stuck in a gym. This is a great way to get the best of both worlds.

Work out at home. You don’t need to be at a gym to get a great workout in. You can do bodyweight exercises, use DVDs or online videos, purchase your own weights, or even your own treadmill (you can usually get a great deal on used equipment online). Only buy equipment that you know you’ll use, and your up-front costs will be worth it in the long run, as opposed to paying for a monthly gym membership.

Employer benefits. A lot of larger companies now offer gym access to their employees for free to promote healthier lifestyles. Check to see if any facilities are available to you, or if your company offers a discount for gym membership somewhere else.

Community classes. The yoga studio near our home offers free classes to members of the community in order for their new instructors to gain more teaching experience. Check with your local health clubs to see if they have similar offers.

If you still feel more comfortable in a gym setting, there are a lot of more affordable options available now. Many of the more commercialized gyms (i.e. Planet Fitness, Crunch Gyms) have monthly memberships for as low as $9 per month, and all of your basic equipment can be found here. Many of the gyms that are more expensive have more amenities – things like pools, saunas, racquetball courts, etc. – but there’s really no reason to pay extra for those things if you don’t plan on using them. Find an option that would work best for you and your fitness goals!

How do you stay fit without breaking the bank?