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7 Ways to Save Money and Stay Motivated While Getting Fit

Guest Post by Samantha from

Do you want personal trainer rewards without the steep price? Do you want gym effects without the pricey membership fee?

Don’t worry! Just because your wallet may be tight, it doesn’t means your abs can’t be either. With today’s trendiest fitness offerings, it’s easy to be deterred from working out altogether because of the dollars and cents.

Here are some fitness tips for the fit Recession-ista on a budget:

1. Climb Your Way to Fitness — For Free!

Look outside. Look down the street. Look everywhere. You will see them. Stairs are everywhere and guess what? They offer the perfect workout.

Start with a warm up with five minutes of stair climbing at an easy pace. Then pick up the pace. Add a set of 5 to 10 pound weights for the ultimate workout. Try to find a set of stairs with at least 16 steps.

Having trouble finding stairs? Often local school facilities have a plethora of steps, just enough for you to climb to your fitness goal.

Also, whenever you have the chance, skip the escalator and elevator and take the stairs instead.

2. Team Up With a Friend

Everyone needs an extra push now and then to strap those sneakers on. Most turn to a personal trainer for inspiration and a reason to hit the gym.

However, if you don’t have hundreds of dollars, just ask a friend. If you know someone else is waiting on you to hit up a fitness class or a jog around the neighborhood, you are more likely to feel inspired.

3. Look for Opportunities in Your Community

If you look closely enough, you’ll find complimentary community workout classes everywhere. For example, Lululemon frequently offers fitness classes on Saturday or Sunday mornings with their brand ambassadors.

Check your local newspaper for fitness happenings in the fitness section. You’ll probably find area businesses that offer a variety of fitness offerings. For instance, there’s a restaurant in my neighborhood that has a running group that gathers to run around a local park and socialize afterward.

4. Find Motivation Through Online Networks

In today’s world of Facebook and Twitter, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t use it to your advantage in the world of fitness. There are various networks, including my favorites and .

These programs allow you to track your workouts and even rate how each workout went, so you can view your progress each week. They also allow you to set a fitness goal and connect with your friends to give each other motivation.

5. Track Your Successes

Just as social media helps, there’s an app for basically anything you can dream of, especially in terms of fitness. is a great resource, since it not only allows for you to track your fitness activity. It allows you to track your caloric intake and progress to reach your ultimate goal.

The best part is it’s a free app. For those who don’t particularly care for their smart phones, try going the route of a journal and pen to track your calorie intake.

6. Take Advantage of Fitness Discounts

With resources like , , Schwaggle.com and more, there’s a great way to try out a variety of fitness classes and gyms at a discounted price.

7. Work Up a Sweat While Whipping Your Home into Shape

Just walking into a gym doesn’t make you fit, it takes work. Hit two birds with one stone. You can get fit just around your house and make it spic and span.

Do you know how many calories you burn while deep cleaning your home? You can burn 73 calories alone while doing laundry! Get rid of those dust bunnies for 80 calories. Mop those floors for 153 calories. Break out the Windex and wash the windows for 105 calories.

These are juts a few of my ideas to save money on fitness. What are you best money-saving ideas?

Samantha Bryant is a freelance publicist at Samantha Bryant PR. In her free time she enjoys blogging at snowboarding, biking, and playing with her St. Bernard, Charlie.

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32 Comments

  • says:

    Loved reading this post, Samantha! Such great tips.

    My recently bought an elliptical machine (I’ve wanted one for years.) I thought having one in my home would for sure mean that I would get a great workout in every day, and instead, I find myself putting it off even more than I did when I had to drive to the gym! Does anybody have advice or encouraging posts out there regarding working out on home equipment and blocking everything else out?

    • Catherine says:

      I have a tv in my home gym so I go down early in the am before everyone else is awake and watch “my” shows that I’ve recorded on the dvr. I only watch those certain shows when working out. It gives me 40-45 minutes (I ff the commercials) to exercise and watch a show I like uninterrupted.

    • Liz says:

      You may want to try and set a time every day to use it. Perhaps during a guilty pleasure tv show if you have a tv set up nearby. You can even work harder during commercials, and lighter during the show, and that way you have built in intervals which burn more calories anyway… Motivation can be hard to muster up but maybe ‘tricking’ yourself in a way, knowing it’ll get easier the more you do it, could work. I use a large water bottle and it helps me get water in… good luck! you could also try and google your question and see what other ideas you come up with 🙂

  • says:

    The Nike Training Club app for iPhone is free, but worth so much more! I downloaded it a few weeks before my wedding, and by using it on a regular basis to exercise, saw definite muscle tone improvement in my wedding photos. The app not only has video demonstrations (because I had seriously never heard of some of those exercises), but you can pick your workout based on fitness level. There are also a variety of workouts based on time–15 minutes, 30 minutes or 45 minutes. The more you work out, the more badges you earn. The app also integrates your own music, and a voice lets you know when you start the next exercise.

  • Sarah says:

    This is a fun workout channel at YouTube. And, it’s CLEAN – in other words, the women have clothes on, so you can exercise with your kids around without sending them the wrong message. 🙂

  • says:

    Another great one is some employers offer gyms at little or no cost. The school district I work for offers its high school weight room to all employees in the district and even has 2 trainers there in the afternoons to do Boot Camp and Circuit Training classes!

  • Denise says:

    My MIL is retiring in December from her job cleaning the inside AND outside of a local tour bus company’s buses. My husband and I are blessed to be able to take over this job from her to not only make some extra money to pay off some debt but it will also help both of us get into better shape! I love how God blesses us with financial AND physical blessings at the same time! thanks for reminding me how many calories window cleaning burns – there area lot of windows on a tour bus!

  • says:

    All of these are great tips. Last year, I lost some weight and wouldn’t have been able to do it without tracking my calories (my app of choice was MyFitnessPal). It also definitely helps to find motivation in a friend. It keeps you accountable and friendly competition never hurts. I never feel like I have worked out when I do it at home, but I guess I do; I have a friend who was a housekeeper for a hotel for awhile and she lost 15 lbs in a matter of months. It’s hard work!

  • Sarah says:

    Two websites: Sparkpeople.com….add me as a friend! Calirpm. 🙂 And dailymile.com is very satisfying if you’re logging miles (running, walking, cycling). Spark has articles galore, some great 10 minute workout videos, and the best food/ fitness tracker around. It helped me lose 50 pounds several years ago before my baby came. 🙂

  • says:

    I lost all my weight doing Jillian Michaels’ fitness videos. Nothing worked for years and years. Finally, a woman who knows how to work! I went from 200 lbs to 132 lbs (there was a 10 lb. baby in there somewhere too though) using a couple videos and Loseit.com. But, I hear that myfitnesspal.com is better.

    To keep it off, I moved away from pretty much all food that isn’t “real”. Lots of fresh fruits and veggies, whole wheat flour and Trader Joe’s (since they don’t have artificial stuff and HFCS in their items). I eat whatever I want (within reason) and never gained a pound back. It’s been 12 months since I lost the weight.

  • Taylor says:

    All I have to say is ‘ballet beautiful’! It has transformed my body!!! They’re inexpensive ($10-$20) DVDs. You can buy the DVD(s) on Amazon – if they have them in stock…these videos are that good! The exercises are low impact but really challenging and effective. You don’t buy anything else to do the workouts. And while they are ballet inspired workouts, you don’t actually do any dancing…the videos are also really easy to follow.

  • Sarah says:

    I especially like the tip about community classes. The one yoga studio by my house offers a $5 yoga class every week. The schools continuing program also offers exercise classes at reasonable rates and it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

  • Cassie says:

    Youtube has Jillian Michael’s 30 day shred- all 3 levels- it’s a great free workout! I’ve been using them lately and enjoying the results so far!

  • Monica says:

    As a single parent, I manage to stay fit by running outside on my 30-minute lunch break. I take a “ranger” shower afterwards (baby wipe:)). It’s the only time I have so it’s a small price to pay to stay fit. I also run alongside my 4-year old while he rides his back in the evenings. If I don’t feel like running, I take a brisk walk. I also get up every couple of hours and do some lunge walks around the conference room table! I also like to start my day with 10-20 minutes of yoga or pilates free on youtube.

  • Marie says:

    What a timely post!! I have been wanting to loose weight but I HATE excercise with a passion!!! And I’m not good at it to start with. I don’t understand how to make x muscle fire etc…. Gyms are to expensive and there aren’t any close to me and personal trainers are even more. I’m dyslexic when it comes to DVD workouts. My plan was to hire a mother’s helper and walk my neighborhood while she’s here. That hasn’t happened either. I buy healthy food and then have no energy or desire to eat it or make something.
    All that to say that I have been thinking again that I need to just start somewhere. And I love that this post doesn’t focus on spending money. Maybe by Fall I’ll get going. With two starting kindergarden I can hope I’ll have more time.

  • Kerry D. says:

    Try taking a class at a local community college–in CA, it costs around $28 for 12 weeks of instruction, and teachers are required to have a master’s degree in their subject matter! I teach ballet to students who pay about $2 per class, versus $12-15 in a private studio! A wide array of classes are offered in yoga, pilates, weightroom, aerobics, etc.

  • Casey B says:

    LOVE this post! Wanted to add a couple tips: Use your local library! I often check out fitness DVDs. It allows you to try a new workout without spending the money on a new dvd. Also, I borrow exercise magazines like Shape or Fitness and photo copy pages (my library 10 cents/page) of fitness routines. Only copy the page if you have actually tried the exercises/routine and they work for you. Some of that stuff is super crazy/complicated/too hard!

    Another website worth mentioning is meetup.com You can find local groups of likeminded people. I found a running group in my area that is literally called MBR (Michigan Beer Runners) They meet weekly at a local bar and take off for a 3-6+ mile run then meet back up at the bar and go in for drinks before heading home. I am not a beer drinker, but this is a fun group of people! As we take off running passed other bars/restaurants with outdoor patios one man sings: “B, double E, double R, U, N, Beer run!” If you are a runner, search for a local group to meet up with. Or look for a group of walkers. Or whatever tickles your fancy! 🙂

  • anna says:

    Love the stairs idea, will do that for sure! I recently found out that our local community center is free to use for working out if I go 3X a week with our insurance reimbursement. Just a thought to look into if you have one close to you, they even over lots of classes!!

  • Jessica says:

    I have been contemplation submitting a guest post on this very subject!

    My tips-

    Take advantage of the health and fitness section on Pintrest. There are a TON of good work outs, recopies quotes and articles. This is my go to for motivation. I will either scroll through new stuff or look at my fitness board and within 5-7 minutes I’m out the door.

    Buying quality equipment can be expensive and when it breaks it can be really discouraging. Many shoe companies will exchange defective shoes for either credit or a new pair. I have done this with Nike and Asics. When your budget allows, look for new trainers or running shoes before you actually need them. I try to always have a pair on the shelf that I got a good deal on. This prevents me from having to run out and buy something expensive. (I wear athletic shoes for work as well so I am always wearing them out).

    Shop the thrift stores for workout clothing. Dry fit and “work out” specific clothing can be expensive. Hit up local thrift stores and even discount stores like TJ Maxx and Ross. Often you can score name brand (IE Nike, New Balance) clothing for about 40% of the retail price. Pretty or bight clothing that you feel good in will make working out more enjoyable. When you catch your reflection you can be like, I look good. One item to be cautious on though is shoes. If a shoe has already been broken in even in the slightest you could end up paying in pain and injuries. Each person walks a bit different and if shoes are already molded to someone else feet avoid them.

    Along the same line as stairs, Bleachers and football field offer great places to work out. Measured distances on a field are good for sprints and nothing will get the blood flowing like changes in elevation while sweating.

    Lastly and Most important. BE SAFE. If your new to working out build up to that 5K. If your a vet runner, hows your form? Flexibility? Listen to your body when it protests with pain (not discomfort) listen. Always include a good warm up, cool down and stretching session. You will be amazed how much posture can improve and the differences you see in appearances by simply stretching different muscles out and aligning your body into proper posture. The last thing you want is a medical bill.

    Happy Sweating!

  • says:

    Walking is very frugal! Just need a good pair of shoes. It does help me walk a bit farther if I have something interesting to listen to. Many years ago my kids bought me a $5 hand held radio that I listened to for years, until if finally just died. Last Christmas, my now teen kids, bought me an mp3 player and loaded it with music. I still usually listen to the news, but have lots of music options. For me, the best way to exercise is to do it 1st thing in the morning, before I am distracted by anything. And an added benefit, I sleep better at night if I walk.

  • April W says:

    There is a great new program out called DDP Yoga. It is a form of power yoga that burns fat, but is zero impact on your joints and bones. It is also just the physical exercises and doesn’t include the spiritual side that so many Christians find incongruent with their beliefs. It is kind of expensive, $70 for the beginning package. But, I found an older version on ebay for $11 including shipping. It is so enjoyable, that I am working out twice a day and lost four pounds the first week.

  • Oralia R. says:

    Does anyone know where to find tips on counting calories? I tried myfitnesspal and I never eating enought calories. I got to the point that I didn’t even try anymore.

  • Kim says:

    I too do not enjoy exercising so I walk in place in front of the t.v. and add in moves I learned from Jazzercise and dance classes I took as a child. If I’m feeling really motivated I put on a free exercie program from my cable company’s on demand channel.

  • says:

    I found sparkpeople to be a great resource although I don’t use it as often as I should.

    Your tip about working out while cleaning is one we use often at our home. We will set a timer for 15 minutes. Myself and the kids run around the house as quickly as possible cleaning. We have three floors to our home so each floor gets 15 minutes and we get a 45 minute workout.
    Great tips thanks for sharing.

  • Kerry D. says:

    Try taking a class at a community class… where I teach, in CA, it cost around $28 for a 12 week quarter, coming in at just over $2 a class for dance, pilates, yoga, and many more. The faculty are required to have a master’s degree in their subject area, so are very qualified, and the facilities are usually nice.

    • Brandi says:

      Keep in mind not all community colleges require a masters degree. I know in Illinois they don’t, just a bachelors.

  • says:

    I bought Leslie Sansone’s 2 Mile Faith Walk on DVD. I found it at the library and began using it so much that it was worth buying it. Now I can exercise at home and have no excuse of it raining outside.

  • Dee says:

    is an AWESOME site. Everyday they post new workouts. They also post sculpt (weights) workouts, and flow (yoga) workouts. I found it two weeks ago and wish I had found it sooner!

  • Catherine says:

    There is a great website calledcalendar.com which lets you print a calendar with lots of ways to format it. I like to make these to hang around the house to track activities…. one in the bathroom to mark when I floss, one by the treadmill to mark my exercise… could be used for anything & it is a great inexpensive way to track progress without having to have any extra equipment. 🙂

  • Morgan says:

    Check out free online workout resources. Darebee.com is excellent! They have programs where each day’s workout is laid out, and are mostly bodyweight only exercises so all you need is running shoes. (If you are new to exercise or have joint problems check out the foundation light program.) Also movemefit.com and fitness blender have a ton of free workouts, or the women’s health magazine’s website.

  • Tami says:

    I second sparkpeople.com, it is completely free! It was really enlightening to track what I was eating. Those 2 handfuls of walnuts? They pretty much met my fat requirements for the day. You can see how much protein, carbs, fat, and fiber you are getting. The exercises are great too, also really helped me to track what I was doing. One of my goals I set for myself was to read 3 motivational stories a day. Also on I set up a board of motivational health/fitness quotes. Spend a minute or two scrolling through them to get me motivated to exercise or before a meal, it helps keep me on track.

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