Frugal ways to get fit

Ideally, we all know that everyone would like to be in shape, but with the average gym membership costing what feels like, an arm and a leg, many of us feel we might be better off just throwing in the towel. But with summer being only three months away, now is the time where fitness goals come alive. Getting fit for summer doesn’t mean you have to blow your budget and we’ve got 9 tips to prove it. 

1. Get outside.

The great outdoors is your best ally when it comes to getting fit at no cost, with your basics including running, walking and cycling - invest in a second-hand bike to save some extra cash! Plus, getting outdoors is a great way to explore new parts of your city, websites like or have some great ideas for getting out and about. Bare in mind though, if you’re doing your workout at night or in an unlit area, make sure you wear brightly coloured workout gear. 

2. Be your own personal trainer.

If you want to follow a workout routine that targets specific areas, like tightening your core or legs, be your own personal trainer and design your own workout! Spend time online and research as much as you can about cardio, interval or circuit training. Pretty soon, you’ll notice a pattern or common moves experts like to do, which you can then work into your own routine. 

Side Tip: If HIIT or circuit training is something you want to get into, fitness apps like Seconds are a great tool to use. They allow you to list and order your workout by move as well as the put in the time you’d like to designate for each move, just like a personal trainer would. 

3. Go online for inspiration.

Thanks to Youtube, you no longer have to fork out hundreds on a one-on-one training session and can instead follow full-length workouts in any category, like yoga, cardio or Pilates for free. Many of these workouts are designed and conducted by qualified personal trainers, some to check out include Blogilates and Tone It Up. Fitness bloggers are another great source, as they’ll give you thorough instructions on using the correct form while training. 

But if you find conventional workouts boring, there are apps that’ll get you moving in unusual ways. For instance, Zombies Run! is a free app that’s designed to simulate a zombie apocalypse through your headphones, where at various intervals you’ll be ‘chased’ by zombies and forced to run!  

Side Tip: Websites like Pinterest often have ‘challenges’ floating around, which you can include in your workout routine. They typically go for a month, but who’s to say you have to stop your squats after 30 days! 

4. Make your own equipment.

Our next tip involves using everything you’ve got to complete a workout, literally. If you’re extremely strapped for cash but want to improve your strength, fill large plastic bottles with either dirt or sand. Paper plates make excellent sliding and stability tools for circuit training, while benches or chairs can be used for any resistance training, like tricep dips or step ups. 

5. Meal prep.

Exercise is only one side of the equation when it comes to staying in shape and saving money. You’ll also need to have a clean diet. Delegate 2 days out of the week to meal prep all of your meals and snacks for the week. This way, you’ll save money and know what you’re eating is good for you. 

6. Workout DVDs.

Granted DVDS are old-school but they can still deliver the results you want cheaper than the gym. Workout DVDs come in different types, ranging from HIIT to resistance training and even yoga, if a fast-paced workout isn’t really your thing. Typically, workout DVDs can have more than one recorded routine you can do for a number of weeks plus the option to stretch afterwards with a ‘cool down session’.

The best thing about workout DVDs is that eventually you’ll be able to remember the routine by heart and get better each time. But it’s natural to get bored doing the same thing everyday, so it’s a good idea to swap with friends who also use workout DVDs or rent them from your local library. 

7. Use your lunch break to move.

It’s incredibly easy to waste your lunch break by sitting around, scrolling through your phone. If your schedule at home is too demanding to squeeze in even the smallest workout, use the time you do have on your lunch break and go for a walk. This is also a great idea for those who usually need an afternoon coffee to get through the rest of the day, as walking can boost your energy levels. 

8. Ditch the supplements.  

This is a fitness trap even I’ve fallen for. We all like to think we’re looking after our body by taking supplements in the form of vitamins or post-workout supplements, but vitamins more than often come at a high cost, even though there’s little evidence that prove they actually work. Put simply, if you don’t have a proven deficiency or recommendation from your doctor, you don’t need the $50-a-month supplements. 

9. Get a skipping rope.

For our final tip, you’ll need a quick trip to Target and nothing more. Skipping is a great way to get fit because you use more energy than walking, meaning you’ll burn more calories. Not only is it beneficial for your cardiovascular health, you actually don’t need to do it for very long to work up a sweat. If you manage to get in 70 jumps per minute, you’ll burn 14 calories. While that may not seem like much, in 20 minutes, you’ll have burnt 280 calories, that’s as much as an hour long walk! 

Now that you’ve got your fitness plan in check, check out our Life & Money hub for more ways to save!