5 Ways To Stay Fit On A Budget

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Let’s face it: staying active and fit while rocking that entry-level salary can seem daunting. Our Instagram feeds are filled with wellness gurus wearing the latest athleisure trend as they skip off to hot yoga and barre classes while sipping on a perfectly crafted green juice. Raise your hand if you have ever felt personally victimized by your Instagram feed. Yup, I thought so.

In college, staying active was easy: most colleges have gyms right on campus and not only do they have the latest in cardio equipment (TV screens and phone chargers on the treadmill, anyone?), and ultra-comfy mats for ab exercises and weightlifting, but many college fitness centers offer classes such as yoga, spin, barre, and boot camp....for free. No matter what kind of schedule you have, you can pop into the gym whenever you want and get a workout in, included in your tuition. In the working world, however, this isn’t really the case. Now that we’re juggling rent, student loans, insurance, groceries, and everything else we new professionals have to shell out our paycheck for, spending $23 on a boutique fitness class just doesn’t seem feasible. Staying active, however, is critical for your mental, physical, and spiritual health, so here are just a few ways you can get a healthy dose of endorphins without feeling like you’re breaking the bank:

Assess Your Priorities

Everyone has different approaches to their fitness, and there is no right or wrong way to stay active. Personally, I need a daily workout of some kind to keep myself sane. Other people are totally fine with working out 3 days out of the week. Some people need to work out in the morning, others would rather exercise after work. Some people love to run, others need a daily downward dog. Take some time and assess what you need to do in order to take care of your body: how often you ideally want to work out, what time of day, what type, etc. After you’ve done this, take a look at your monthly budget and determine how much (if any) you are willing to spend on fitness. If a high-end gym and weekly hot yoga classes will keep you on track, make it happen! If you are trying to keep costs low, but still get your blood pumping, include that in your plan and do the research to make that happen too. There is a workout for every budget, so never fear! As long as you do your research, you can craft the fitness plan for your body and your budget.

Gyms

One of the simplest ways to stay active is to join a gym. Each gym is different, however, in terms of what they offer and how much the monthly fee is. Places like Equinox can cost over $100 a month, but their amenities and classes are top-notch. Gyms such as Planet Fitness are more budget-friendly, but have less services. Check your neighborhood and see what the gyms around you have to offer and how this fits into your budget and fitness plan. I live within 5 minutes of a YMCA, for example, that offers a huge cardio center, indoor and outdoor pools, and fitness classes for only $32 a month — I can get on the elliptical in the morning, go swimming on weekends, work on free weights, and take a spin class all for this fee, and I couldn’t be happier.

Videos

If joining a gym isn’t in the cards for you, try looking into workout videos online. YouTube has an enormous repository of free workout videos from yoga, to pilates, to barre, and cardio and strength training. Some of my favorites include Blogilates, SaraBeth Yoga, and Tone It Up, but you can find whatever fits your interest with a little research. Another incredible source of videos is YogaGlo.com which is a subscription website that gives you access to thousands of online yoga classes that range in duration, level, instructor, focus, and type of yoga. Classes are streamed from a studio in L.A. (where you can take classes for free!) and you can access the classes anytime, anywhere. If you are a yogi on a budget, I highly recommend YogaGlo. Finally, you could also consider investing in workout DVDs such as Jillian Michaels, P90X, or Insanity. After one purchase, you have over a dozen workouts that include strength training, intense cardio, and restorative classes, and some even come with a schedule for these workouts so you can be sure you are getting the most out of each workout. While you aren’t getting the one-on-one instructor attention that you would get in a traditional fitness class, if you are independently motivated (and have a big enough space for you to be jumping around and stretching), this could be an excellent option for you!

Walking and Running

One of my favorite parts about running and walking is that, as long as you have a pair of sneakers, you are good to go. Running and walking cost nothing (besides the occasional sneaker purchase) and you get the added benefit of fresh air and Vitamin D. I live near a rail trail that runs the length of my city and I find that sometimes, a walk, no matter how long or short, is exactly the exercise I need to clear my head and get my blood pumping, Research your neighborhood to see what it has to offer in terms of trails or paths, or try using an app such as MapMyRun to map out your ideal walking or running path for your area. Additionally, look up nearby municipal or state parks for even more walking and running options. Many of these parks have low admission fees, and some offices even pool resources for an annual pass (my office does this and I love checking out the pass for a weekend hike!) so a change of scenery is definitely in your budget.

Working out and staying fit can seem like a daunting and expensive task (remember that Instagram feed?) but you don’t have to be a celebrity or CEO to be able to afford taking care of your body. There is a workout and fitness plan for every body and budget, so make a plan, do your research, and work out with ease.

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