Expensive gyms and workout classes, top of the line workout clothes and accessories, energy bars and other fitness fuel – it can add up far too quickly. When I decided I wanted to overhaul my lifestyle and make a change for the better, I needed to figure out ways to do that without blowing my budget, which was pretty low. I didn’t have a lot of extra money (still don’t!) to pay a high monthly premium for a gym membership or yoga classes, nor will you find me in places like Lululemon or Lucy buying gear to sweat in, no matter how nice either of those things might be.
I came up with a list of tips that I have personally used, some that I knew going in, and some that I learned along the way.
1.) Discount Shopping – TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and other discount stores are AWESOME places to find great workout gear. Start in the clearance racks and then move to the regular Active section, and you’ll be surprised with how much great clothing they have (and great brand too). I’ve also found great deals on yoga mats, hand weights, resistance bands, stability balls, and other at-home workout gear – anywhere from $5 to $15 for most of those things. Another great place to shop is Target. They carry a lot of workout gear that is much, much cheaper than other stores and holds up just as well in my opinion. I’ve also found my beloved Sports Beans and other energy gels/chews there for a lot cheaper than other places, and those are essential for me with long runs.
2.) Workout Without a Gym – There are SO many things you can do that don’t require a gym. Power walking, running, biking, On Demand workouts, pushups, lunges, jumping jacks, wall sits, etc. Especially in the nicer weather, it feels so much better to be outside getting fresh air while doing something good for your body rather than cooped up in a gym. It’s also muuuuch cheaper to not be paying monthly!
3.) Yoga Studios/Gym Part-Time Work – If you love yoga classes or really want to have a gym membership, you can talk to them about part time work in exchange for a free/discounted membership. At my Bikram studio, they offer “Work Study” for people who want to take the last class during the week and stay a bit after to help clean up. They get to take the classes for free, and its very low commitment because you only have to go when you want to – not a certain number of times a week. A lot of gyms also will have you help with cleaning up, folding towels, etc., so don’t be afraid to ask!
4.) Check out your Local Parks and Rec – This is pretty new to me, but a lot of cities and towns offer adult classes through their local Parks and Rec. I always thought most of the offerings were for kids, but they have a ton of things for adults too. The link to my local P&R is here (Arlington, VA) and they offer things like Zumba, Yoga, Swimming, Aerobics, and a variety of other classes for a fraction of the price as taking these classes elsewhere.
5.) Try out Free Classes – A lot of Bikram/yoga studios do one free class or week long trials for a discounted rate for first timers. I shopped around a lot when I first started doing Bikram and basically did it for a whole month for about $20. A lot of other types of yoga (like Down Dog Yoga in DC) do a free intro week, so shop around. Most places have a website these days so you can find local specials. While these won’t last forever since they are normally just for first timers, its a good way to get started and find something you like on the cheap.
6.) Fitness Gifts – Birthdays, Christmas, Hanukkah, or any other holidays where you will be receiving gifts – ask for workout clothes or other gear you might need or want instead of other things. Last year my sister bought me some amazing running capris from Lucy that I would never have bought for myself, but they are my absolute favorite pair of bottoms to run or workout in. I’ve also gotten a water belt, CamelBak, sports bras, dry wick tops, and various other random fitness related items for birthdays/holidays. I’m always happy to have those things rather than other random items I come up with to ask for who’s novelty fades quickly after I receive it.
Are any of these tips new to you? What else do you do to stay fit without blowing your budget?
For breakfast this morning, I had breakfast pudding! I stole this recipe from Evan because when I saw his post on it I knew I had to have it. I got a bag of Vega Shake n Go Smoothie in Chocolate from HLS, and I have been looking forward to trying it.
For this breakfast, I mixed together:
- 2/3 medium banana, mashed (1 pt)
- 1 scoop vega smoothie mix (1 pt)
- 1/2 cup rolled oats (2 pts)
- 1/4 cup almond milk (.5 pts)
You let it sit for a few minutes and it turns into a delightful chocolate breakfast pudding that’s not only delicious, but filling too!
While I realize it doesn’t look that appetizing, I promise you it was delicious and really filling, too. The chocolate vega smoothie mixes has such a good flavor – I can’t wait to experiment with other ways to use it!