Popular exercise and diet trends are all over the board. Their results are often inconsistent or short in duration.
One thing about them that is consistent, is that they’re expensive.
This doesn’t have to be so. Here are economical ways to get back into and stay in shape.
The biggest misconception about exercise programs is that complex and expensive choices are better. You must join a fancy gym with shiny equipment and super-fit reps wearing high-end lycra clothes. The more hip sounding the program’s name, the better the results.
These things simply aren’t true. Just move!
Walking consistently comes up in studies to be one of the best exercises people can do. If walking isn’t enough insanity for you, jog or run. If you want to work your quads and hamstrings more, walk, jog or run up and down steps. Malls, office buildings, maybe your apartment building, tracks, and fields are great places for these exercises.
If you have a bike, ride it. If you have access to a low-cost pool, swim in it. If these are too boring for you or you don’t have time for these, house chores and gardening are great exercises. Just get off the couch, turn off the Netflix and move.
It’s a tough truth, but what and how we eat affects our physical shape more than how and how much we exercise. Every single calorie counts. If we’re eating more calories than we’re burning, being out of shape is the result.
Despite all our modern conveniences, we’re busier than ever. This often means we can’t find time to cook at home and opt for dining out or getting take out. Even the healthiest options in most restaurants have more calories than anything we’d cook at home.
A cheap way to get back into and to stay in shape is to simply cook at home, and keep what you cook at home simple. Don’t use more than five ingredients per dish, and avoid processed foods and anything wrapped in cardboard or plastic.
Humans are creatures of habit. Schedule your exercise for the same time of day every day and make exercise a habit. The key to getting back into shape and staying in shape, whether you focus on diet, exercise, or both, is being consistent.
It will feel difficult at first, but when your mind and body get into the habit of working out regularly and consistently, you’ll find getting to your workouts easier. When exercising becomes routine and your exercises become easier, increase the intensity of your exercises. That’s when you’ll start to see real results.
If you don’t feel knowledgeable enough to exercise without the guidance of a pro but can’t afford a pro, use YouTube. Search for “exercising” in YouTube. You’ll get 712,000 results. Surely not all 712,000 results are worth your time but you can find good ones and they cost a lot less than any pro.
From yoga to cardio, to Pilates to tai chi, find the exercise programs and the exercise pros that work for you, and watch yourself lose the weight without losing your money.
Don’t pitch it.
Aside from the expensive gym membership to that gym you never go to, one of the biggest costs of becoming a fitness fanatic is the fitness clothing. Truth be told, most of us don’t need a high-performance moisture wicking, organic microfiber.
Do some people need these? Yes, professional athletes. Are you a professional athlete? If you answer no, then don’t waste your money on pro-quality exercise clothes.
Older t-shirts, including undershirts, are perfect for your new exercise program. Unless your gym shorts or pants will get you put in jail and can’t stand on their own, they’re probably good enough. Heck, even brand new, expensive yoga pants could land you in jail. Save yourself the money and the risk.
Don’t pay for it.
What’s the best price? Free. Local community centers, YMCAs, and colleges often offer free exercise classes or training. This can be to market the facility or to help a new exercise facilitator gain more experience before they start charging a fee. Sometimes it’s an exclusive, one-time offer or part of a package. Likewise, exercise studios and gyms offer free classes or a few free days to experience their facilities.
This strategy may not last forever, but it can kickstart your new exercise regimen. This can, also, provide you with enough information to ensure that you get the most from your YouTube exercising from higher above in this list.
If you want to just do it, there’s an app for it. There are tons of apps that can help you with anything from running to lifting weights. So, if you do pay to workout at a gym, you don’t have to pay for a gym trainer. Even if you don’t want to work out at a gym, you can find an app that supports your home-based exercising.
See my list of nine apps to help you live healthier, many of which will also help you live wealthier.
How many friends or family members do you know with exercise equipment collecting dust or doubling as a clothing tree? Help them make space in their home by offering to take their equipment off their hands. You could probably negotiate a serious discount off the original price or even get it for free. My parents had weights, a weight bench, and a treadmill in their basement that they never used, and they just wanted to get rid of it. Some lucky person got a new home gym for free.
If you don’t have friends or family with this problem, you can find “gently used” equipment online or at consignment and resale shops. Just be careful to not fall into the trap of thinking that because everything is cheaper than the original price that you need to buy everything.
As you can see, getting back into and staying in shape doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. In fact, I’d argue that if you can get back into shape with the low-cost and less shiny methods above, you’re more likely to stay in shape.
Do you have any other low-cost tips for getting fit? Let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community.