Workouts are required if you want to be fit, but they can be expensive. Between gym memberships, shifting workout trends, and purchasing equipment for the home, price tags add up quickly. It’s especially painful if you do all that investing and don’t stick with it.
Whether you’re on a budget or simply want to make sure “the proof is in the workout pudding” before sinking a bunch of money into it, we recommend finding less expensive ways to get your cardio up and tone those muscles. If you end up falling in love with something, you’ll know a larger investment – like a full gym membership or those discounted, pay-ahead yoga/Pilates cards – will be worth it.
- Always buy used workout DVDs. If you’re going to invest in a workout CD to use at home, never pay for a new copy. It’s a waste of money when there are used versions available, often for pennies on the dollar. Check the seller’s rating and then enjoy the same workout for a fraction of the price.
- DIY spinning classes. Spinning classes combine all the features available on your own: stationary cycle (which can be purchased for a song on eBay and Craigslist), along with upbeat music and instruction. Get the bike, if you don’t have one already, upload the right music on your phone, and then read this article on How to Recreate a Killer SoulCycle Class at Home.
- Be Your Own Stair Master. Work downtown? Head to the tallest public building available after work and start climbing the stairs. Move your arms to get your heart pumping faster. The stairs at the high school football stadium work well, too.
- Mobile running apps. Group runs are all the rage, but why pay when you can run for free? True, group energy can get you going, but mobile running apps have bona fide training modules that can serve as your inspiration instead.
- Clean your own home. Here’s either a two-fer or three-fer if you currently pay someone to clean your house. You’d be amazed at how many calories you burn while consistently cleaning, resulting in multiple muscle groups being worked in the process. Exercise, save money, and enjoy an über-clean home.
- Re-vamp the yoga playlist. For some, yoga is all about mindfulness and breathing with meditative background music. For others, not so much. If you want to switch your yoga routine around, check out this Buti yoga playlist and kick it up a notch – like uptempo flow yoga.
- Take advantage of your kids’ extracurricular time. Stuck in the car during your kid’s fill-in-the-blank ball practice? Get out of the car and start doing laps – or if that mortifies them, walk, jog, or bike the blocks surrounding the practice neighborhood.
- Use your own body weight. For those who want to tone and aren’t concerned about bulking up, workouts using your own body weight are sufficient. Good ol’ fashioned crunches, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, chin-ups, crab walks, chair dips, etc., will get it done without a single dollar spent. The question is: What to do when you lose all that weight?
- Hot yoga room. You don’t have to attend a hot yoga class to do hot yoga class. A walk-in closet, full-length mirror, outdoor thermometer, and a space heater will suffice. Find a hot yoga sequence you like and sweat away.
- Take a hike. The fresh air, uneven terrain and open nature of hiking provide numerous benefits, such as alternative motion. It’s something you don’t get from the typical walk or run.
Rather than following and spending money on the latest workout trends, explore a wide range of potential for free. Once you find the workouts that resonate with your body, interests and sense of personal enjoyment, you’ll be more secure about any money you choose to spend on your routine in the future.