A common New Year’s resolution is to attempt to get fit for the year. Last year after having years of stops and starts when it came to adding “getting moving” to my daily routine I started running. For some reason, unlike a lot of other programs this was the first workout that I started that I actually kept going for more than just a few months. When thinking about why this type of working out actually stuck it boiled down to two reasons, it was cost effective and I had a wonderful support group. For me I had found fitness on a budget, and I had found fitness through a great support network.
When thinking about adding a get fit type of resolution to your own life whether it be running or another form of exercise it is important to remember that you don’t have to break the bank to reach your goals and sometimes some of the best motivation you can find costs nothing more than taking the time to find like minded people to help you reach your goals.
Look for Support Groups
When I started running I started by calling and researching the websites of the local running stores in my area. Also, because I’m active in the local social media world I had access to people who were active runners in my home town. I asked them questions about running, I found which would be the best training programs for me, and I got started.
Finding local groups to workout with is not limited to running. In my neck of the woods I am aware of groups of tennis players, swimmers, walkers, strength trainers, and ladies who get together in my neighborhood to do a boot camp styled workout in each other garages. And if you can’t find a group? Start one of your own. My local friends and I started our own on Facebook. When you find these groups they can create a positive peer pressure that keeps you going even on the days you would rather just stay in bed. And another positive bonus? They cost you nothing more than a little time.
Joining the Right Gym Doesn’t Have to be Pricey
There are two ideal times to join a gym. They are December into January and June. During these months you can find discounts that include discounted fees, free sign-ups, etc. Also you should be aware that all gyms are made differently. Beware of additional fees for things like special classes, spa treatments, child-care, etc. If you find a gym that has the things that you want know that most gyms have room to negotiate their fees. Be prepared to purchase a new gym membership the same way you would purchase a new home or car. Haggle, be prepared to walk away until you get exactly what you want, and watch out for the hard sale. This is usually a sign of poor business practices, and you may want to check with your local Better Business Bureau for ratings.
I personally ended up joining my local YMCA. It had a wonderfully cheap family rate, it has a pool for my daughter who is a swimmer, a basketball court for my son who is a basketball player, and it has all of the traditional workout equipment that you can find any typical gym. On top of that if you have a membership your kids can join many of the YMCA programs for free or at a deeply discounted rate. Overall it was a perfect fit for my family.
Exercise Equipment Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive
Most fitness experts will tell you that all you really need to get fit is your own body. Though I have found that eventually you will need a few other things. For example with running you need good shoes, with swimming you need a suit, cap and goggles, and although with strength training you can get a lot done with only your body it doesn’t hurt to have a set of hand weights, a ball, or exercise bands. Researching what you are interested in doing and talking to the experts can really help you narrow down what it is you exactly will need. Also talking to locals from your support group can help you find bargains on the equipment you will need.
Use the Internet to Find Free Resources
Lastly another option to help you find the support you need to reach your goals while staying within your budget is to use the Internet. Here are a few sites that I enjoy using for free workouts, fitness tips, or nutrition tips.
SparkPeople.com – Offers nutrition and diet advice for free.
DailyMile.com – It’s like Facebook for active people. A lot of runners use this site, and it is a great place to find like minded locals to work out with.
Workouts.Self.com – When I was strength training a lot more, I used to have a subscription to SELF magazine. It had amazing fitness tips and exercises, and this website allows you to customize your own workouts for free!
YouTube – There are a whole host of work out videos on YouTube for you to try for free.
Hundred Pushups.com – It’s name explains it all, but this site also offers programs for sit ups, squats, dips, pull-ups, etc.
Hal Higdon.com – Hal is the author of a classic marathon training book, Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide, but he also offers free training programs for all levels and distances on his site.
Free Trainers.com – There are lot of sites offering workouts and advice out there (A LOT), but Free Trainer offers them for free. It’s another great place to find support from their internet community.
Do you have any tips for getting fit on a budget?