Trying to get fit but don’t have the budget for gym membership or fancy expensive exercise equipment?
Getting healthier and losing weight are great New Year’s resolutions but unfortunately, many people feel that it’s financially difficult to do.
According to CNBC, the average gym membership costs between $40 and $50 a month, and when you add on all the extra fees gyms slip on, you can end up spending $800 a year.
You don’t need an expensive gym membership or overpriced protein bars to get fit. The key is simply to establish good habits and invest your time in the right exercise techniques. In this article, we will be showing you all the ways you can cheaply start your path to being healthy.
Exercise and Life Tips for Getting & Staying Fit
The following are tips for exercising cheaply. You don’t have to follow every single one of these if you don’t want too. Just pick and few and try them out until you find a nice routine you are comfortable with.
1. Establish a goal for either weight loss or muscle building
People often don’t realize that different exercise routines create different results. Before picking random workout routines from the internet, you want to make sure you are exercising to fit your goals!
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2. Get a partner to keep you accountable
Find someone who is willing to keep you accountable. This works even better if you both are working toward the same goal!
3. Set goals that are realistic
One of the reasons that people fail their weight loss goals is because they are unrealistic. Remember that this takes a long time just to get started. Try a small first before a larger one that will take too long.
4. Track your progress
When you start losing weight, keep a notepad or word document with your progress. That way, when you feel down about yourself you can see how far you’ve come!
5. Treat this as a permanent habit
Working out shouldn’t be something you do hardcore for two months and then quit once you hit a goal. You’re more likely to gain the weight back that way. Instead, treat this as a habit you’re going to maintain for a long time.
6. Treat yourself
Don’t over-stress yourself through this process. Make sure to give yourself a few little rewards every now and then so you don’t burn out.
7. Stay positive
Try to take on a positive mindset. Don’t tear yourself down with negative thoughts.
8. Keep cheat days as just days
It’s okay to make mistakes. You’re only human. Everyone has cheat days now and then. The key is to keep it as just a day. The next morning, get back on track and keep doing your thing!
9. Get a water bottle
Preferably a reusable one. You want something you can refill so it doesn’t cost money every time you drink. Drinking plenty of water helps your body stay hydrated even after all your working out. If you can’t stand the taste of water, try infusing it with fruit or drinking non-caffeinated fruity teas.
10. Jump rope
Jumping rope is actually a fun way to burn calories without going out for a run. You can burn about 20 calories a minute by doing it! Check out this jump rope calorie calculator to help keep track!
11. Buy a scale…
It’s obviously important to weigh yourself when you want to lose weight. You don’t need a super expensive one though. Just go to Walmart and get yourself a $15 one.
12. …but don’t keep it in the bathroom!
The last place you want to keep a scale is in the bathroom, because then you’ll be tempted to check your weight too often. People generally check daily and then get disappointed when they don’t see a lot of change. Instead, put it in a room you aren’t in constantly and weight yourself only once a week.
13. Reward yourself with something other than food
Find something else to treat yourself, such as an item you always wanted or a day trip to a place you want to go too.
14. Take a Pilates or Yoga class
You might be wondering how paying for a class would save you money. The great thing about these two types of exercises is that once you learn them, you can start doing them at home without needing to buy a bunch of extra equipment!
15. Get simple exercise equipment for home
You don’t need a lot of expensive machines for your at-home gym.
- Free weights
- Yoga mats
- Tension bands
- Jump rope
- Exercise ball
- Elliptical machine
- Stationary bike
- Bosu trainer
- Ab roller
16. Buy equipment second-hand
Before buying stuff off Amazon, check out your local thrift stores, eBay, or craigslist. The equipment will be cheaper and chances are you won’t have to deal with shipping!
17. Fitness videos
Instead of spending money on trainers, try using fitness videos instead. They can walk you through the routine plus you can replay them when needed.
Here are some popular ones we recommend:
- Total Body Workout + Weight Loss Tips! Fat Burning Fitness Routine for Beginner
- 10 Minute Beginners Workout
- Cardio Workout For Weight Loss, At Home Fat Burning Dance Exercises
- Abs of Fire Challenge Workout – Intense At Home Six Pack Exercise Routine
18. Play a game instead of working out
There are lots of sports out there that offer plenty of exercises while being fun. Consider joining a local sports team, setting up your own softball team with your coworkers, or play something like tennis with friends.
19. Take walks
Walking is an easy way to start moving if you aren’t used to it. Plus, it’s free and doesn’t require any special gear.
20. Take hikes
Hiking requires some sturdy clothes and shoes, but other than that it’s a cheap exercise. Most public trails don’t cost any money to go through.
21. Go cycling
This requires a bicycle but honestly? That might be a great investment anyway, considering how expensive gas is. Cycling is great exercise and really tones your leg muscles.
22. Go for a run
You don’t need a treadmill to exercise. Get some comfortable clothing, head to your nearest park, and run a few laps around it. There are apps you can use that will help you track your distance.
23. Don’t skimp out on running shoes
Saving money is important but don’t be afraid to invest in a decent pair of shoes. Why? Because if you’re going to be doing lots of exercises, you’ll want a pair that can handle the vigorous activity. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck spending more money buying cheap replacements all the time.
24. Look for class coupons
Want to take an exercise class but don’t want to pay full price? Try finding a coupon for it.
Check places like:
25. Dog Walking
You don’t even need to own a dog to do this one. Sign up for a site like Rover and you can get paid to exercise!
26. Skip paying extra on clothes
Exercise clothes are often over priced, especially during spring and summer. You don’t need to buy a whole wardrobe of stuff to work out in. Wait until the offseason to get clothes at a discount or find some loose pants and shirts at a thrift store.
27. January gym memberships
Gyms are well aware that people want to start losing weight around the start of the year so they often do sales or special offers. Call up your local gyms around this time and see if they have any deals that can help you save on a membership.
28. Library videos
Want to find some exercise videos that aren’t just online? You can easily find some at your local library. Just be prepared, they are likely to be from the 80s or 90s.
29. Keep yourself rested
When people are tired and force themselves to exercise, it’s a recipe for disaster. Some of the side effects of not sleeping enough and working out are:
- Getting injured more easily
- Getting exhausted faster
- Exercising less effectively
In the case of injury, that can actually end up costing you money in the long run. Get enough sleep and avoid the headache!
Food Tips: Eating Healthier on a Budget
Working out is important but it’s not the only thing that goes into getting fit. You’ll never reach your goals if you don’t eat right too. However, trying to eat healthily can cost a lot of money if you don’t do it efficiently.
In general, you can save more money by cooking and eating at home.
Here are some tips to help you out!
30. Don’t skip meals
Lots of people think that fasting helps you lose weight. In reality, this might not actually be a good way to do it. When you go for longer than 18 hours without eating, your body’s metabolism slows down to conserve calories, according to Aurora Healthcare. This means you’ll actually risk gaining weight instead of losing it.
31. Make meal plans
This is generally a good idea anyway, as planning your meals can help you not over-spend on the food you don’t need. In terms of getting fit, however, it’s very important because you need to supply your body with protein and other nutrients after all that working out.
32. Eat fiber
Fiber helps you stay full for longer, which prevents snacking. According to Harvard, if you increase your daily intake of fiber you are much more likely to lose weight.
33. Say no to soda
This one is hard but I swear it’s worth it. The last thing you want to do is drink away all your calories, especially when it’s going to something that has no nutrition. Switch to water or tea with very little sugar.
34. Avoid alcohol
Alcohol is definitely bad for weight loss, according to The Recovery Village. There are many reasons this is the case, such as:
- Alcohol is high in calories with no nutritional value
- Getting hangovers prevents people from feeling well enough to work out
- Alcohol changes the way your body burns fat and slows down the process
- Alcohol lowers testosterone levels, which is what helps people build muscles
- Alcohol increases your appetite
Plus, it’s super expensive! You can save so much money by simply switching to water or even tea.
35. Avoid sugar
Sugar spikes your blood sugar, which pushes a flood of insulin through your body. Over time encourages fat to accumulate around your middle, according to Health. You’ll save more money snacking on something cheaper like baby carrots anyway.
36. Eat protein
There are two main reasons you want to eat protein. First, it helps you gain muscles. Second, it keeps you feeling full longer.
37. Reduce your carbohydrate intake
Carbs are one of the first things your body will burn to use for energy. This is bad if you want to lose weight because you want your body to instead burn your fat cells.
38. Don’t stress eat
Stress eating is a natural reaction when you feel pressure but it’s not only bad for your weight but also your budget. Clear your head by taking a walk or going cycling, which is healthier for you and free!
39. Eat foods that burn fat
This may sound too good to be true. There are foods out there that burn fat?? According to Healthline, that’s actually a thing! Best of all, its food that actually tastes good.
Try eating or cooking with:
- Coconut oil
- Green tea
- Brown rice
- Whey protein
- Apple cider vinegar
- Chili peppers
- Full-fat Greek Yogurt
Free Apps to Help You Get Fit
Technology makes a great tool to help you during your process of getting healthier. Here are some apps we recommend!
40. FitOn: Fitness Workout Plans
This is a completely free app that lets you access plans that will work perfectly for whatever you need. You can customize workout plan to reach your goals.
This app has a free plan that lets you use work out plans and track a few basic things, which is honestly all you need when you’re first getting started.
42. Fitbod Weight Lifting Workout
- Available on: iOS
This app has an interesting training algorithm that personalizes your workout plan for you. Plus it has guides to help teach you how to do it correctly.
This popular app is extremely useful for monitoring what you eat. Even with a free account, you can track enough to help you successfully lose weight.
44. Sweat Coin
Get paid for working out. The more steps you take, the more digital currency you make. When you get enough, you can redeem nice rewards.
45. Planet Fitness
If you have a Planet Fitness gym near you, consider getting this app. You can get access to free training sessions with trainers and more!
46. Workout for Women Fitness App
Obviously, this app is meant for women. You can get specifically designed workouts for your body type. Some routines only take seven minutes!
47. Nike Run Club
This completely free app is owned by Nike and lets you do lots of stuff. Features include:
- Apple Watch support
- The ability to track and store your runs
- Audio guided runs by coaches and famous athletes
- Customized and global challenges for users with a competitive spirit
- Personalized coaching plans
- A social system for you and your friends
48. Lose it Calorie Counter
This app has both a free setting and a premium setting. The free features of the app are:
- A barcode scanner to quickly add food you have eaten
- Ability to add food to your tracker just by snapping a picture of it
- Nutrient tracker
- Ability to sync with most popular fitness apps
- A searchable food library
- Challenges to keep you focused on a goal
- Mean planning
- A pattern detector to give you insight into your habits
- Recipe section
- Customizable themes
- Workout guides
49. Pacer Pedometer
Pacer is a walking buddy and health coach all in one app. You can track your activities, get support from the fitness community, read personalized data, explore fitness plans, and so much more!
50. Video Guides
Are you more of a visual and auditory learner? Sometimes it helps when you can actually see how people in real life follow through with getting fit.
Here are some extra guides made by people who are basically experts at working out while adhering to a budget!
- Get Healthy And Fit On A Budget | $50 Bodybuilding Grocery Haul
- Healthy & Easy Meal Prep on a Budget **under £20 total**
- Protein on a Budget: Get Fit for Cheap
- Get Fit for the Girl on a Budget! 4 Free Ways to Workout
51. Make a Little Cash While Getting Fit
There are actually a few apps that pay you for working out and getting heather in general.
We covered many here at MoneyPantry. Check them out:
Getting healthy doesn’t have to cost a ton of money. You deserve to have a healthy body as much as anyone else. All you need is a budget and these tips to get you started! If you have any extra ideas, we and our readers would love to hear them in the comments below!