The following is a guest post by Kris Bickell of Weekend Warrior Zone.
When I first started working out, I began with a cheap set of weights that I bought at Caldor’s (for those of you a lot younger than me, it was like a Walmart many years ago). They were plastic and were filled with some type of plaster. Basically, they were junk.
But I was on a very limited budget … and they were cheap … but they worked!
These days, I’m not really all that different. I still don’t want to spend a fortune on fancy workout equipment, gadgets, or clothing. And I definitely don’t want to spend a fortune hiring a personal trainer! So I’m constantly looking for low cost ways to get in a good workout.
Hey, if you have the money, and it makes you feel good to spend it on fitness stuff, go for it!
But keep in mind that you DON’T need an expensive workout outfit, you DON’T need the trendy fitness gadgets, and you DON’T even need to hire a professional to get yourself into good shape.You DON'T need an expensive outfit, trendy gadgets, or a hired professional to get into shape. @WWZone1 Click To Tweet
All you need is a little creativity – and you can develop your own awesome workout program that fits your needs AND fits your budget!
Need some help figuring out ways to exercise without joining a gym? Here are 10 tips for getting into shape on a shoestring budget:
1) Running (under $100)
Running is a great way to get fit, have fun, and do it without spending much money. If you’re just going to run once in a while, any comfortable sneakers will work. If you love running and decide to run regularly, then you should get yourself a good pair of sneakers. But don’t think you need to spend $125 on the newest models. You can find discounts on older models on most of the popular shoe websites, or in your local sporting good store – and you should be able to find a good pair for about $50-$70. Other than that, all you need is a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, and a safe road, trail, or track. And you can get a great cardio workout in less than 30 minutes.
2) Bodyweight workout (free)
When most people think of bodyweight exercises they think of basic pushups and “air” squats. Sorry, but that’s old school. And it gets boring quickly. There are plenty of fun (but challenging) bodyweight exercises that are much more enjoyable, and will make exercise a lot more exciting. Here are just a few examples:
- divebomber pushups
- hindu squats
- dragon walk
- lunge pulses
- pike pushups
- bear squats
And if you ever need a little extra challenge, you can add a weighted vest. You can find these at most sporting goods stores, and on Amazon.com, for less than $50. start by picking 4 or 5 bodyweight exercises, and do 3 sets of each. Don’t be surprised if you end up feeling sore the next day, as you’ll be working a lot of little muscles you don’t often use!
3) Hiking (free)Taking a hike is a great workout for your body and also provides a great boost to your spirit! @WWZone1 Click To Tweet
Most states have public parks with hiking trails, that are good for all ability levels. If you’re really adventurous, you can try more “technical” trails, which require some knowledge of the proper techniques (so don’t try these until you’re more experienced). But for most people, hiking is a great workout that’s both free and empowering!
4) Playground workout (free)
If you have kids, you know that today’s playgrounds are a lot more hi-tech than when most of us adults were kids. Remember how much fun it was to run around the playground as a kid? Well, it’s just as much fun (if not more fun) as an adult! Just make sure you go at a time when there are not many kids. They probably won’t appreciate the “big kid” (I mean you!) taking over their turf. And be careful not to use any equipment clearly designed for small children, so you don’t get hurt or break the equipment. Playgrounds are great for making up your own obstacle course workout. Climbing & jumping are excellent ways of building muscle, improving endurance, and increasing agility. You can even add in some jumping jacks, burpees, or running in place for a little extra challenge!
5) Drop & give me 20 (free)
If time is an issue, you can do what I call the “drop and give me 20 pushups” workout. It’s real simple – a few times a day, stop whatever you are doing and perform a set of 20 pushups (or 5 or 10 or 50, whatever number you are capable of doing in one set). You can even do this while you’re at work, if you can find a quiet spot (if not, ask your co-workers to join in the fun!) You can do this with any exercise, so don’t just limit yourself to pushups.
6) Resistance bands (under $20)
Here’s another simple way to do resistance training without having to join a gym. You can usually get a resistance band from one of the big box stores (like Sports Authority, Dicks Sporting Goods, or Walmart) or online, for around $8 to $10 each. They’re typically color-coded, with each color offering a different amount of resistance. Get a few bands and you can work your entire body. And you can even do a workout while watching your favorite TV show!
7) Take a fitness class (under $25)
Most gyms let you take a single class for $10-$20 a session, even without a membership. You can do a variety of fun classes like spinning, yoga, pilates, bootcamps – and you can just drop in whenever you want. Of course, if you end up really liking the classes, you may need to join for them to be cost-effective. But for just once or twice a month, they can be a great bargain. And, you might find the same type of courses offered by your local parks & recreation or adult education departments, for less.
8) Running a race (under $50)
Nearly every town offers some type of race at various time throughout the year. These races can be as short as one mile or 5K (3.1 miles), or as long as a half-marathon or marathon. Obstacle races & fun runs are also very popular these days (and a blast to do with friends!) Most of the local races cost well under $50 (many under $25), and the fees usually go to a good local charity. Some are even free if you raise enough money for the charity. Not only is a race a great workout, but it’s also a terrific social event with post-race food & bling, free t-shirts, and some even have bands playing music while you run!
9) Craigslist (varies, but usually under $100)
I’ve built a complete home gym in my basement using Craigslist to buy used exercise equipment. Sadly, many people buy expensive equipment, only use it for a short time period, then want to get rid of it so they can have the space back. The good news for you is that they usually sell it for WAY less than the original price. I’ve found a mountain bike, weight set, workout bench, squat rack – all for dirt cheap!
10) Workout videos (free)
Another great way to add variety to your workout routine is to use workout videos, which you can find for free on YouTube or at your local library. You can develop your own workout routine by searching around YouTube. Or you can get a complete workout video from your library. Either way, you can get some great workout ideas without spending a penny!
Let’s face it – we can all think of plenty of excuses for not working out – work, kids, family, time, motivation. I know, because I’ve used them all at one time or another.Money definitely doesn't have to be the excuse that holds you back from getting into shape! @WWZone1 Click To Tweet
Each of the tips on the list above can be a workout in itself. Or you can pick & choose a few of them to make a complete workout plan! The only limit is your imagination, so think outside the box for new ways to exercise!
Now, here’s an action item: grab a pen and paper and set up a schedule to work out at least a few times a week. Select a time that works for you. Pick the exercises you like best. And get started today! You don’t need to be rich to get into shape. And you definitely don’t have to spend a lot of money to have fun doing it!
Do you have any low-cost fitness tips of your own? Let me know about them in the comments below.
Kris Bickell created WeekendWarriorZone.com to share his love for fitness. You’ll find fun workout tips for “weekend warriors” of all ages. All you need to join in the fun is a desire to work hard & play hard! For a complete bodyweight workout sign up for Kris’ free report: 21 Fun Bodyweight Exercises That Will Get You Into Awesome Shape (That You Can Do Anytime & Anywhere)