Ten Ways to Stay in Shape while Staying on Budget

Kyle Brice
Greater Nevada Credit Union

Beach season is right around the corner, and though lots of us are determined to get in better shape, gym memberships can be expensive (especially if you're like me, and signed up for your membership right before the gym slashed the prices in half, leaving me full of resentment and potato chips). So, I did a little research on ways we can all save money on getting in shape.

1) Sign up for a race. Running is essentially free (wearing Nikes while you’re running isn’t); most of us just need the motivation to do it. So whether you sign up for a 5K celebrating your city’s  birthday or you go all out and become a tough mudder, having a goal can make all
the difference. And thanks to the wonders of the internet there are training plans for every level of athlete, so in just nine weeks you can go from a couch potato to a 5K runner.

2) Stop driving to work. Gas is expensive, peddling your bike or walking isn’t. On top of that working
out in the morning
can actually get you in shape faster thanks to an increased metabolism and energy throughout the day.

3) Take advantage of city league. Over the winter I was on an adult volleyball league through the city of Reno. Our team finished last in the division, but we had a blast (next year we’re shooting for second to last). For the same price as one monthly gym membership payment (or less) I had three months of physical activity. If volleyball isn’t your thing that’s okay, there are tons of other options that are really affordable and fun.

4) Eat Better. Eating right is essential to getting in shape, and like we covered in our blog “Tricks for Eating Better and Spending Less This Year” one way to save money is by simply eating healthier. Junk food is typically more expensive and doesn’t do you any good when working out, so stick to the tips in the blog and you’ll be feeling better, looking better, and saving money.

5) Improvise. This doesn’t mean you have to be Bruce Willis in Unbreakable, putting paint cans on his weight bar when he runs out of things to lift. What it means is, instead of relying on equipment there’s this great thing called gravity that can give you a pretty sweet burn. Here’s my personal favorite body weight workout, and if you want to up the ante use a stopwatch and constantly try to beat your time.

6) Get connected. I had a pretty major knee surgery last year, and afterward I needed to get back in shape in a bad way. One of the things that helped me the most was downloading a couple free fitness apps. The two that I use and really like are MyFitness Pal and Endomondo. These apps helped me track calorie intake, my nutritional needs, and give me workout ideas. They also let you connect with your friends, which, if you have a competitive streak like me, helps keep you on track. Sworkit is another great app. Pick your workout (cardio, yoga, back… you name it), pick how long you want your workout to be, and it takes you through each exercise complete with charts and timed intervals.

7) Become outdoorsy. People come from all over the world to be outside in Nevada (seriously, I once picked up a couple hitchhikers from Israel trying to go to the black rock desert). Eighty-one percent of the state is public land, which means on top of being beautiful it is free to use in most cases.  Whether it’s hiking, biking, snowshoeing, skiing, water sports, or rock climbing Nevada has it, so skip a gym membership and get your exercise the old fashioned way…Teddy Roosevelt would be proud.

8) Get more sleep. This may seem counterproductive to getting in shape, but it’s important to let your body rest
and studies show sleep is a huge factor in losing weight. On top of that, sleeping saves you money, because you should be using less energy on things like heating your house or watching Netflix until 3 a.m.

9) Do more yard work. Have you ever had to dig a big hole, move dirt/rocks/concrete with a wheelbarrow, or chop a whole mess of wood? Well, take if from someone who has, it’s a killer workout. Save yourself some money by doing your own yard work. If it can help Rocky beat the Russians it can help you beat belly fat.

10) Have good posture. This is something people totally overlook. When you have good posture it helps your body work better (blood flow, oxygen intake, etc.) giving you more energy and making you look healthier. When you’re working out, good posture is important for not hurting yourself and also effectively engaging your muscles. Make an effort to keep good posture, and it will have positive effects immediately. Oh yeah, and it’s free so there’s that.

I don’t claim to be a fitness expert, just someone who needs to workout and has a limited budget. These are just some easy ways to affordably change your lifestyle. If you have other ways to stay in shape while staying on budget, please comment and help the rest of us out.