Fitness doesn’t have to be expensive! Check out part 1 of my tips for making fitness more affordable so you can stay in shape no matter your budget
One of my guilty pleasures is watching reality TV. Not the Housewives of Lala-Land stuff, the look-at-my-weird-clutter stuff, the eccentric junk-collector and penny-pincher stuff. Mostly no drama here, just people-watching on TV.
Extreme Cheapskates is one of those shows we have been watching lately. It is downright crazy what people do to save a few pennies!! Some of them eat road kill and serve dinner guests dumpster cake (for real)…Yikes! FYI, these people aren’t poverty stricken, just miserly.
Extreme penny-pinching aside, even average people want to save a few bucks on essentials, and healthy living is no exception. It is a common myth that fitness is expensive, but it really doesn’t have to cost a small fortune. Here are 6 ways (in 2 parts) for making fitness a part of your life and still stick to a budget. And don’t worry, dumpster diving isn’t on the list.
As a complimentary piece, don’t forget to check out my tips for eating healthy on a budget, parts 1 and 2.
Tips for making fitness affordable
Work in exchange for a gym membership
Gym memberships are undoubtedly a huge expense, but if you have some spare time, you can save money by exchanging services for a membership. This is actually how I paid for one of my gym memberships for 6 years – I cleaned treadmills 3 days a week in exchange for a membership for me and a discounted membership for my husband.
It only took 20 minutes a day to clean treadmills, and I would do it before or after my workouts. This worked really well for me then since I had some extra time and I was a gym rat. I am really not a home workout person, so getting out of my house is what I really needed.
I don’t clean treadmills these days, but I am a group fitness instructor and a part-time personal trainer, so I still get my membership provided in addition to a modest paycheck. I love going to the gym to do classes and lift weights, and I haven’t paid for a membership in probably 10+ years.
In this time, we have saved at an estimated $4000+ just in gym fees. With many gyms you can negotiate a variety of services in exchange for membership, like social media work, writing articles, creating recipes for newsletters, cleaning, helping in the day care, etc. Take your talents and find what will work best for you.
Take it Outside
Some of the best workouts can be done outside! You can use a junior high or high school track (and bleachers), hit the playground for monkey bars, pull-ups, suspension trainers (aka swing sets), and lots of other activities like bike riding and walking.
It costs nothing (aside from shoes) to run and hike, and some cities even have free outdoor fitness areas that are great for bodyweight exercises. If you are new to running or hiking, get friends to join you or join a running club to stay motivated.
Another way to get outside and try new activities for free is through organizations like Get Outdoors Colorado. They encourage families to get active outdoors by hosting activities like kayaking – and it costs nothing for participants. Get Outdoors Colorado is working to expand to other states (Kansas is coming soon!) so keep your eyes open or contact them to come to your area.
Subscribe to a streaming workout Website
If you want more variety but don’t have NetFlix or a fitness channel on your cable, you can opt for an affordable website that offers on-demand workout videos. There are a range of prices for websites out there, but they are usually pretty affordable and there are websites catering to just about every style of workout you like!
Buy used fitness equipment
…but only if it’s in good shape.
Check out sale items on Facebook or Craiglist. Some good pieces of workout equipment to buy second hand are dumbbells and weight plates, machines (like treadmills) in top condition, and jump ropes.
Avoid buying things like elastic bands second hand (they can be brittle and in bad shape, and snap easily). And make sure you clean off used equipment after you buy it so you’re not sharing bacteria with everyone who used it before.
What are your favorite ways to make fitness more affordable?
Sarah Jane Parker is the founder, recipe creator, and photographer behind The Fit Cookie. She’s a food allergy mom and healthy living blogger based in Wyoming. Sarah is also an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Certified Health Coach, Revolution Running certified running coach, and an ACE Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist
7 thoughts on “Making Fitness Affordable Anywhere, Part 1”
Great article. Thank you for sharing these tips and for spreading the word that fitness isn’t necessarily something that you can do only in a gym. There are soo many people who don’t have the time or can’t afford a gym membership and, as a result , they won’t take action. Keep up the positive message 🙂
I like the idea to work in exchange for a gym membership. I think most people don’t have memberships because they don’t want to be locked into a contract. If they made a deal as your suggesting, though, a contract would not be too burdensome.
I have a friend who cleans a yoga studio in exchange for classes–brilliant idea. Thanks for the tips. Can’t wait to see part two.
Great tips. I also find that getting samples from different brands you like makes fit GEAR more affordable for sure.
Also doing things slightly off season makes them more affordable too. For instance, our golf courses are open all year here, but cost less in the Winter Seasons.
We also play tennis for free at city courts instead of joining a tennis club.
Great tips, Elle, thank you for sharing! Buying things out of season is a HUGE money saver, I do this with kids clothes, too, and it makes a difference