By Michael Axe
For most of us, there are usually two factors that keep us from going to the gym – time and money. While some of us may choose not to make the time or aren’t willing to spend the money, for others it may be life circumstances that prevent us from going to the gym.
Here are a few budget-friendly ways to help you stay fit – from home.
Using just yourself – $0 to $100
The cheapest option to save money while working out is bodyweight exercises. These exercise use your own body weight to produce the resistance needed for gaining muscle and losing weight – push-ups, sit-ups, yoga, running, etc. Bodyweight exercising is essentially any type of exercise that doesn’t require exercise equipment.
If you plan on doing any running, you’ll want to invest in running shoes. You can find a good pair of quality shoes for around $100, or if the shoes are on sale or clearance you might be able to find a good pair for $50.
Saver tip: If spending money on new running shoes isn’t an option, skip the running. Instead wear your normal everyday tennis shoes and walk around your neighborhood.
Dumbbells – $5 to $400
If you have a few extra bucks to spend on some workout equipment, a set of dumbbells is a good investment. These weights range from as low as one pound all the way up to 200 pounds. Prices also vary from a few dollars to several hundred.
Saver tip: Milk jugs filled with water is an inexpensive alternative to buying dumbbells.
Barbell – $15 to $750
Barbells, similar to dumbbells – range in price and size. Barbells usually consist of three components – the bar, the weights and the bench the bar rests on. The bar itself can range in price from around $15 to several hundred dollars, depending on how many weights you want to buy. The more weights to put on the bar, the more you’re going to spend. The weights range in price from around $20 to several hundred dollars. While the weights and bar are a necessity, the bench is only needed if you’re planning on doing specific exercise.
Saver tip: Plan ahead and buy in a bundle. You can usually save several hundred dollars if you buy the barbell, weights and bench in a set.
Workout machine – $100+
Depending on the machine, you could spend anywhere from around $100 to the skies the limit. Typically, the more you spend the more features you get. The cheaper machines usually have one function, such as elliptical or basic treadmill. As the sticker price goes up, so do the options on the machine. Weight machines that offer multiple features can easily cost between $500 and $1,000. The more options and functionality a machine has the higher the cost will be.
Saver tip: Buy used. Used equipment, if taken care of, works just as well as new equipment; it just might not have as many newer features.
Gyms – $10 to $30 a month
Going to the gym has its advantages and disadvantages. Gyms offer a wide variety of equipment, classes and state-of-the-art facilities. The downside to gyms is that they’re only worth the money if you attend regularly. Many people sign up and pay for gym memberships at the beginning of the year as part of their New Year’s resolution, only to stay home and never go to the gym.
Saver tip: Before committing to a gym membership, start by working out at home for free. Once you’ve gotten yourself in the habit of working out then join the gym. Also check out community rec centers and community colleges for affordable fitness programs and facilities.
Apps – $0+
With the rise in technology there’s an app for everything, including fitness apps. Fitness apps are convenient tools allowing you to workout wherever you are. These apps, like any other, range in price from free to several dollars.
Saver tip: Many apps offer free and pro versions of their apps. Most of the time the only difference is that the pro version is ad-free. Stick with the free apps. Yes, you get ads but you save money.
Gadgets and Gizmos – $3+
If you can think of it, someone has made it. From a bar that shakes up and down to bike peddles for under your desk, there are countless devices that promise results. You can fill your personal library with a variety of workout DVDs and fitness magazines – providing hours upon hours of fitness advice. Some items could cost you a few dollars, while others could cost you hundreds.
Saver tip: Skip the odds and ends, stick with standard equipment and forgo the gimmicks.
Americans spend millions of dollars on the fitness industry. Unfortunately most of that money is spent on things that are never used. If you have the desire to get into better shape, set yourself up with a budget and a simple workout regimen. Your wallet and your waistline will thank you.