The thrifty girl’s guide to working out on the cheap

Using your own body weight in workouts can cut out the need for expensive equipment.

Using your own body weight in workouts can cut out the need for expensive equipment.

Between gym fees, workout equipment, exercise clothes and other necessities, working out can be an expensive process! But it really doesn’t have to be.

Don’t let finances stand between you and your fitness goals. Use these tips to cut costs so you have one less reason not to work out during the week. Your health is worth the extra effort!

Take advantage of free resources
If you don’t know much about working out, expensive classes and trainers aren’t the only way to go. Use YouTube to find a wide variety of workout videos online. Just be sure to do your research to ensure that the person leading the exercises is a professional with a good reputation.

Workout DVDs are also a great option. While they may not be free initially, once you buy DVDs for your favorite workout programs, you can use them as often as you like without paying anything additional. On top of being a great tool for at-home workouts, packing a couple when you travel is also an effective strategy for staying fit while on the road.

That being said, working out with incorrect form is an easy way to injure yourself. If you’re interested in trying out a new form of exercise – like yoga or Pilates, for example – consider signing up for a few classes so that a professional can help you learn the basics before you set out on your own.

Use the right equipment
Passing on the gym membership and exercising at home is a good way to cut costs. No equipment? No problem. Buying a bunch of workout equipment isn’t necessary for working on your fitness at home. Instead, use your bodyweight to exercise. Bodyweight exercises like pushups and sit-ups can help you build muscle and strength without paying a penny. Muscle and Fitness magazine recommended adding in squats, pull-ups and ab roll-outs as well for a free workout that will get results. Just set your favorite BABY-G digital watch with an alarm for a minute or two per exercise and get moving.

When investing in a few basics like a yoga mat and a pair of dumbbells, skip the sports store and check out off-price retail stores. Often they’ll have a small selection of basic workout gear for discounted prices. But just because the price is lower doesn’t mean that you need to stock up. You can get away with buying a single set of light weights and using them throughout your workout. If a certain exercise is too easy with the lower weight, hold both weights in the same hand and alternate sides between sets.

Look for packages
Love the gym too much to give up your membership? You can still save money by shopping around before committing to a facility. U.S. News & World Report recommended visiting a number of gyms and then asking your favorite if it will beat or meet the fee of its competitors. The strategy is more effective when done in person, so don’t wimp out and try to negotiate over the phone.

When looking at gyms, make sure to take classes into consideration. If you’re a person who loves exercise classes, try to find a place that includes spin, yoga or whatever programs you prefer in the package. Otherwise you might end up paying the additional costs of any classes that you want to take on top of a gym membership.

If you do choose to join a gym, be sure that you actually go regularly. Even the best deal is a waste of money if you aren’t consistently taking advantage of it when you work out.


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