Break a sweat—not the bank—and make those fitness resolutions this year without sabotaging the financial ones.
Get fit for free:
Getting in shape doesn’t actually have to cost you anything at all.
Get technology in your corner. Follow workout boards on Pinterest, search YouTube for just about any type of exercise video, and follow fitness professionals on Instagram or Snapchat. (For safety’s sake, do a little research and make sure your new favorite trainer is an actual, accredited fitness pro and not just some wannabe influencer.)
Borrow workout DVDs from your local library.
Download fitness apps onto your smart phone. There’s something out there for every fitness level, whether you want to track calories and count steps each day, or calculate your macros and train for a 5k.
Take advantage of free trial memberships and guest passes when you want to try something new at a gym or fitness studio.
Don’t look down on bodyweight exercises—they can be extremely effective. Depending on your level of exercise experience, you can meet your goals with classics like planks, squats and lunges, push-ups, or even plyometric exercises when you get more advanced. (You can find bodyweight exercise examples and instructions here and here.)
Some of the fittest athletes in the world are boxers, and you can mimic their routines with a jump rope and a punching bag — that’s pretty good proof you don’t need hundreds of dollars worth of cumbersome equipment to get into fighting shape.
Have $30-$40?You could buy a set of resistance bands, a speed bag, or a home pull-up bar.
Want to spend $40-$80? You could set up your home gym with a pair of dumbbells and a cardio step (which can also be used for squat and lunge variations, as well as a bench alternative for exercises like dumbbell chest presses.)
Ready to spend up to $100?You could go with several pieces of multi-use workout gear such as a stability ball, resistance bands, and a set of kettlebells. Or you could opt for a set of adjustable dumbbells. (Check discount retailers like TJ Maxx for even better deals.)
Willing to invest at least couple hundred? You could look for used cardio equipment, barbells, and/or a workout bench on eBay and Craigslist or at stores like Play It Again Sports.
Score deals on gyms, studio classes, and training sessions.
Home workouts are great, but some people enjoy the social aspect of working out, or feel more motivated when they’re paying for a gym membership. Luckily, there are often ways you can get a better deal than the advertised rate.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate with gyms on membership costs. Tell them you’re looking into other fitness centers as well, and ask them to offer you their best possible deal. That could mean waiving the initiation fees, discounting your monthly membership cost in exchange for a full upfront payment, or offering a better rate when you sign up with a friend or family member.
Share a personal training session with fit-minded friends. If you can get together a small group of workout buddies to book a shared session with a trainer, you’ll usually pay less than you would for an individual session.
Scour Groupon.com for discounts or promos on fitness classes.
Ask for a student, senior, military, or teacher discount if any of these categories apply to you.
If you’d love to join a gym but your current financial situation is making it tough, consider your local YMCA. YMCAs are not-for-profit and many offer financial aid on memberships to those who need it.