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Did you know that it is free to run outside? It doesn’t cost a penny to do a push-up? It can be so easy to fall into the trap of expensive gym memberships or workout gear. I am guilty of this, for real! “I can’t start this new workout routine until I get new yoga pants and a new sports bra. And a new top, for good measure!” But getting healthy by moving your body doesn’t have to cost a fortune – here are our frugal fitness tips to help you reach your health goals AND your money goals!
Skip the gym membership
Step one. Cancel that gym membership! I’ve been guilty of spending $40 a month for years and never stepping foot inside the brightly lit door. If you use it, and it’s built into your budget, then great job rocking your priorities!
Last year, we used money from Dan’s Personal Spending account to pay for a full year of the gym for us both. And we used it, for a time. Last winter, I’d say I was pretty good at hitting the treadmill a few times a week, and for a few months, so did Dan. But then spring rolled around, and I started running outside in the fresh air, and our schedules got busier and busier – which meant neither of us was making use of the membership. Plus, our benefits have changed this year, and there isn’t money to pay the annual fees.
We decided to cancel it for the year ahead. We were not using the service, and it is not a priority for us in our budget right now. There are a ton of great ways to stay fit for free (or for cheap) at home. Keep reading to find some inspiration!
Find a cheaper alternative
With all that said about quitting the gym, there is potential for a more affordable gym membership in your community. There is a gym nearby that is only $10 a month. They offer most of the same amenities as my former location, and that would save me at least $30 each month! Now that the snow has arrived in Alberta, running outside is less of an option. But $10/month to get a weekly treadmill run in sounds like the perfect frugal fitness option for me!
I LOVE Pinterest for frugal fitness tips! You generally don’t need more than weights or a ball as far as equipment goes. Quick circuits, targeted exercises, and clear, one-page graphics – what more could you need? Looking to boost your booty? Tone your waist? Build your biceps? Anything you search is on there, ready for you to grab your weights and get started!
If staying home is more your style, YouTube is an excellent alternative to those group fitness classes! We live in a magical time where a couple of quick clicks can open up a whole world of fitness.
My personal favourite is Yoga with Adrienne – whatever your fitness needs or skill level, she is a down to earth instructor who brings her humour and peaceful energy to the mat.
A quick search opens up a whole world of 10, 20, 30-minute videos, teaching cardio and strength, targeting any part of the body you want!
You do not need a fancy garage gym or a matched set of free-weights to rock your frugal fitness at home. Some days I want to use this as an excuse to sit on my bum. But let’s get honest – you have the weight of your body with you at all times, which means you can work out literally anywhere! Push-ups, planks, squats, jumping jacks – none of those cost a penny! Again, YouTube & Pinterest are your friends for these routines – searching bodyweight workout, or no equipment workout will help you find a plan that works for you!
Find a friend
Accountability. This is the key to success in so many areas! Find a friend (or a stranger!) who has the same goal as you. Plan to walk together twice a week, or text each other when the alarm goes off at 5 am (ouch!) – when you know you are not alone, you are more likely to keep going!
Something that is often missing in our world is the time for connection. So plan a walk with a friend or your family. Rather than meeting for a coffee (that usually means a sweet treat, too), catch up over a walk outside. Walking comes with all sorts of health benefits: weight loss, increased bone strength, improved mental health, prevention and management of certain illnesses such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. It’s easy on your joints; it doesn’t take any training or skill, and best of all? It’s free!
Worried about the weather? If I used the snow as an excuse, I wouldn’t leave my house for months at a time. A brisk winter snow walk is a beautiful way to spend an afternoon – and you burn more calories from the weight of your snow boots and the extra effort required!
Use free outdoor gyms
Something I noticed this summer while we explored every park in our city on our bikes, outdoor gyms are everywhere. This trend is spreading across the country, and I’d be surprised if you didn’t have an outdoor gym nearby. This equipment generally offers strength training and cardio, is free to use, and comes with the amazing benefit of being outside in the fresh air! Do some research and see if this frugal fitness hack is right for you!
Do you Fitbit? And, if you do, have you connected with your friends for step challenges to keep you motivated? I am ALL for a little friendly competition to keep the motivation high.
There are countless fitness apps out there – I don’t even know where to begin. Personally, I started with a Couch to 5K app when I first started running, and that helped me to do the walk/run intervals in a way that pushed me and built my stamina over the eight weeks. Now that I don’t need that coaching, I use RunKeeper to track my runs. Free, easy to use, awesome.
Though I haven’t tried it yet, I have heard great things about the Nike App – it is free to use, and it creates customized workouts for you.
And, if you are paying for your gym membership for the group fitness classes, you can bring those right to your living room! LesMills has an awesome streaming program – it is cheaper than a gym membership and you can do the workouts anytime, anywhere! Check it out here with this promo code – positivedecision91 – to get a 30-day free trial!!
There are a lot of options available for you to meet your fitness needs, without sacrificing your budget!
There is still something to be said for having what you need to reach your goals. If you want to be able to squeeze in a treadmill run at home while the baby naps or you know you would rock through 30 minutes of elliptical-ing before work each day – I get you! It wouldn’t be a very good frugal fitness tip if I told you to go on ahead and buy that treadmill! BUT…
We are all about intention. So, if you are planning on buying, my biggest advice is to do your research and buy used if you can. There are a million people who use their treadmills as secondary closets who would happily sell them for a quarter of the price they paid. It seems like a great way to score some at-home fitness at a reduced price.
The other key is to build it into your budget. If you don’t have $600, then please save up for a few months until you do. Simple as that. Decide what your priorities are, and make sure you can pay cash for whatever you decide to buy.
Our final tip comes from experience and the happiest family memories imaginable. This past spring, when Dan suggested we save and buy bikes, I laughed right out loud. Why would we waste money to buy me a bike? I most certainly wasn’t going to use it.
But, yah, okay. Family time is important, and now that the training wheels are a thing of the past, I guess I need to be able to keep up.
The day of our first bike ride as a family is one of my happiest memories ever. I was grinning from ear to ear, wind whipping past my face, and every single person we passed, I announced proudly that we were on a family bike ride.
My neighbours probably thought I was a lunatic. But that’s fine. We spent the entire spring and summer exploring our city – we put hundreds of kilometers on our bikes, finding new parks and new paths, hidden corners that we would never have known about otherwise.
If you have bikes collecting dust in the back of your garage, I cannot encourage you enough: dust them off, tune them up, and get out and explore!
No bikes? No problem. You can explore on foot, too! Search up local parks and hiking trails – there are probably beautiful places in your backyard. Now that the weather has turned colder, we have tucked our bikes away and make a point of bundling up for as many winter walks as we can. Beautiful scenery, fresh air, family time, connecting to nature. The. Best.
I hope you found some inspiration to move your body while still being mindful of your money. Whether you are cutting costs on your current fitness routine, or looking to start healthier habits on the cheap, we’ve got you covered!
Finally, make sure you save these frugal fitness tips to refer back to, and spread the love on social too!