Frugally fit: how to get fit on a budget
It’s the summer holidays, and we get it, you’ve probably already run out of money. The kids want to do this and that and this again and you’re skint. Maybe you’ve thought about freezing your gym membership for a little while to claw back some spending money but you’re hesitant because you don’t want to give up on your fitness goals. But maybe that’s not a bad idea – we’ve got some frugal, budget-friendly ways to keep working out, and hey, it might even entertain the little blighters at the same time. Here’s how to get fit on a budget.
How to get fit on a budget
Go to the library
No, we don’t mean training up to flex your mental muscle (although that’s a welcomed by-product of going to the library, of course) but to borrow the wealth of resources on offer. Fitness/recipe books can be borrowed free of charge, and DVDs are either free or available for a very small fee, so long as you remember to take them back on time!
Lots of libraries also loan out video games, so if you’ve got a console knocking about, you may even be able to borrow one of those fitness games for real-time feedback. #throwback to your poor Wii Fit board collecting dust.
App the time of your life
There is an abundance of fitness apps on the market. One great thing about the Internet and smartphones is that there’s a wealth of free stuff, woohoo! But it can be overwhelming and difficult to choose just one or even one at all.
There are three main apps that I use that are all free of charge and all of which help me with my fitness goals;
- The Marmite of the MVF forums, MyFitnessPal
- Couch to 5k (NHS One You version, though others are available)
I like MyFitnessPal to work out my portion sizes but also for their workout and food ideas. It’s also a great platform for me to keep up with my friends and fellow gym-goers who have the shared goal of getting fitter.
Although Fitbit helps keep me accountable and I genuinely feel sad if I ever forget to wear mine (did you even walk if it wasn’t logged on your account?!) but it turns out, I don’t need it. I’ve recently found out that Fitbit’s Mobile Track can track your steps without having to use one of their trackers. I love that the Fitbit app keeps my goals easy to access and understand so I can always interpret my progress. If you’ve already got a Fitbit – great, make the most of that app! And if not, it’s good to know that you can still use their tools.
One You’s Couch to 5k is getting my bum off of the sofa with audio coaching from some well-known people including American sprinter Michael Johnson and comedy queen Sarah Millican.
Not convinced by these? Google it and see what you fancy, or check out our other recommendations here.
Jump rope, water fights, playing tag, kickabouts (we all know about that one), hopscotch. Go and play. Run until your inner child is fully content.
Once you’ve finished all that running and jumping about, get lifting. Step away from the weights, man. Build a den, walk around or squat with the kids on your back. Use these summer days to your advantage and get outdoors.
Speaking of getting outdoors, have you been to your local park recently? Several parks all over the UK now have free outdoor gyms (HuffPost has a great guide on how to make the most of them, and also how to locate them). Oh and don’t forget about tennis and basketball courts – get out there! You can easily grab some cheap and fun balls and bats from your local big supermarket or discount sports store.
If all this heat has got you shying away from daylight (I feel ya, had enough vitamin D for a few years), you can easily work out for free without leaving the comfort of your own home.
Most of you will have all the equipment you would ever need already at home, just waiting to help you get sweaty. I hadn’t considered a mop but after having just typed that I would probably add it to the list, no slip hazards here.
Big bottles of water or screen wash? Look like dumbbells to me. Stepladder? I’m going Davina McCall on that bad boy. If I’m sat relaxing in my pants, and my Fitbit is buzzing at me to get moving, I’m not even getting dressed… I’m going to strut what my momma gave me around the house, maybe even jog up and down the stairs a couple of times. Your house is full of workout equipment, just use your imagination.
Cut out junk food
This one is pretty much a given, especially to you guys already changing your eating habits and lifestyles for the better. Probably one of the most effective and easiest frugal fitness tips is to cut out the junk and fast food. That way you’ll be spending less £ and gaining fewer lbs – win-win!
This’ll also give you the opportunity to have a bit of fun and get in the kitchen. Why not recreate some of your favourite junk foods (Big Mac in a Bowl anyone?). Plus if the kids are whining that they’re bored, stick an apron on them and let them help out. What a great way to introduce them to new and healthy foods.
So whether you’re tightening the purse strings or just a savvy saver, hopefully these tips will keep you moving and make you less sluggish to enjoy the rest of the summer.