After a long summer of trips with friends, late nights out, and buying one too many new bathing suits, the bank account is holding a lot less cash than it usually does.
As a fitness professional, I’m here to remind you that this temporary budget decrease doesn’t need to stop you from staying fit and healthy. Thanks to technology and a little creativity, you can try new workouts, do the fitness you love and more, all with little to no budget to work with. Here’s how.
Switch to Running
Fall is a beautiful time of year in many places, and the weather is perfect for running. To gear up for fall fitness on a budget, ditch your gym membership for an outdoor running hobby.
Not only can you wear the same clothes that you normally would at the gym, but one pair of running shoes can last you the entire season—and then some. In fact, running shoes should be replaced every 300 to 500 miles, which is about every 6 months for those who run three, 5-mile runs each week, according to Running for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know. If you run less, you can have your kicks for up to 8 months without replacing them.
To get even more mileage out of your new running shoes, and stick to your budget, alternate between running and online workouts (see below) at home—both of which can be done without an expensive membership.
Bookmark Free Online Workouts
Instead of investing in an expensive gym membership, use the best resource at your fingertips: the Internet, where you can find hundreds of online workouts that can be done in your living room, backyard or favorite local park—all for free. Check out some of my favorite free workout resources below:
Save Money on Tech
Fitness is becoming increasingly tech-focused. We now have a seemingly unlimited amount of high-performance clothing options and fitness trackers to choose from, making technology—in all of its fitness forms—a necessary accessory for athletes and fitness lovers of all levels. Check out these different ways to literally “gear up” on a small budget:
- Fitness trackers: With so many brands to choose from, your options are seemingly endless if you want to invest in a fitness tracker. To stay within your budget, check out this 2016 Wearables Pricing Analysis, which found that you can now get a fitness tracker for as low as $45. If you don’t want to invest in a tracker, use the Lifesum app, which connects with your other favorite health apps, like RunKeeper and FitBit, to track food and exercise. Versions include free and premium.
- High-Performance Clothing: Many retailers run annual sales to get rid of last-years stock and introduce new inventory. For example, check out REI’s garage sales (which happen a few times each year), where you can find athletic gear at steep discounts you won’t find anywhere else. REI sells yoga and cycling gear, in addition to various accessories like headbands, hats and more. You can also sign up for a program like Stitch-Fix, which sends athletic clothing and accessories each month—but you only pay for the items you want.
Do The Boutique Rounds
It seems like there’s a new fitness trend each year. As such, boutique studios are popping up and offering unique fitness experiences that challenge your mind and body. Unfortunately, these memberships tend to be expensive, some of which cost more than $10K annually. While that number accounts for studios on the higher end of the spectrum, even a $100/month membership can be a stretch for those on a budget.
Avoid these high prices by doing the rounds at all the studios in your area. Most boutiques offer the first seven days free, which you can take advantage of for a month or two until you run out. If you find one you love, inquire about budget-friendly membership options. Most gyms offer at least one of the following:
- New member discount for the 1st month
- Waived initiation fee
- Discounted fee if you choose auto-debit payments
- Time-based memberships that are discounted. I.E. Membership for M-F, 7am to 4pm
Get ready for fall fitness, even if your budget says otherwise, with these ideas. Get the gear you need, bookmark your favorite online workout websites, and start perusing the boutique gym options near you to stay fit and health as fall sets in on us.
BIO: Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than ten years and is currently a full-time writer, ACE Certified Personal Trainer and NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition specialist. She’s also the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Honest Body Fitness, an online health magazine for women who are fed up with being told how to look and how to get there, yet still don’t feel like enough. She’s written for Shape, Reader’s Digest, AARP, Snap Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness and more. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for health articles, workouts tips and more.