Tips for Getting Fit on a Budget

If you’ve been making excuses about not getting in shape, it’s time to snap out of it! Valuable time is passing you by. Even if you are on a very limited budget, you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to get moving.  Here are some tips for getting fit that don’t require a lot of cash:

1. Check Out Fitness Club Specials + Local Alternatives

Fitness club memberships can be pricey. But, clubs periodically run special promotions that can make joining much more affordable. Keep your eyes peeled for signs announcing that a new club is being built in your area: Clubs that haven’t opened yet sometimes offer special membership discounts to new customers. If the club is part of a chain, you may even be able to get to use other affiliated clubs while your new club is under construction.

Many people also don’t realize that you can often negotiate so-called “initiation fees.” If a salesperson tries to sell you a membership that includes a fee, tell them that you aren’t interested in paying that much. Indicate that you are going to leave. In many cases, the salesperson will either waive the fee entirely or offer you a deep discount.

Check your health insurance plan or employee benefits package to see if you are entitled to health club discounts. Many insurance plans incorporate “wellness programs” that offer incentives for joining a club and working out.

Finally, look into programs offered by your local YMCA or park district. Their facilities may not be glamorous. But, classes and gym access are typically very affordable.

2. Find Local Paths and Trails

Walking, jogging and running are popular exercises for good reason: They’re free! The trick here is to find trails and sidewalks where it is safe to exercise. Check out for information on walkable areas in your town or city.

3. Check Out You-Tube Videos

Can’t afford to purchase exercise videos? Check out the many offerings on YouTube. Fitness pros often post exercise videos in hopes of attracting new clients. Take advantage of them!

4. Focus on Portion Size and Balanced Diet

Many people try to eat healthy. Oftentimes, they underestimate the amount of calories they consume. Learn how to “eyeball” food portions to understand how many calories you’ll be consuming. Another option is to purchase an affordable digital kitchen scale (such as this one). This will ensure that you aren’t eating more than you should.

5. Take Advantage of Free Health Screenings

Want to know how your fitness efforts benefit your overall health? Take advantage of free health screenings offered at employer health fairs, community events, drug stores and warehouse membership clubs. Screenings often include blood pressure checks, body fat calculations and cholesterol measurements.

6. Stay Accountable

Some weight loss programs require weekly check-ins and counseling. This can be useful but costly. Use free calorie counting apps to record your food intake. Then just exercise and skip the cost of these meetings. A little bit of personal accountability in your lifestyle could save you big money.