The Dish: I've always been really active, but lately I've been in a rut. Sure, I bike to and from work each day, and just by living in a bustling city without a car, I walk a lot more than your average American, but honestly it's not enough. I love to eat! And unfortunately, my eating has completely taken over my fitness regimen. So I'm writing this post not only for you fellow readers, but for myself as well, because I have a lot of fitness knowledge under my belt—I just need to get back on the wagon. Here are some tips to get fit, and save on the dough, because we all know it's easy to throw away a ton of money on gym memberships.
1. Running/Walking. This is the cheapest way to get fit, hands down! All you need is a good pair of running shoes, and you're set. And a good pair of running shoes certainly doesn't have to break the bank. Yes, there are $100-plus shoes that you could buy, but you can get the same quality shoes for way less. Now that's not to say that you can get a good pair for $10—a good, top-notch pair of shoes is something you don't want to skimp on—but you could definitely find a good pair ranging between $40 and $60 if you look hard enough. Shoe stores have sales every day. And again, that's all you need! So save up for a pair, and hit the road. You can easily map a running route anywhere in the US on the USA Track & Field website, which will give you the exact mileage of your run. And if you need a little extra motivation to get started, I suggest that you sign up for a race in the not-too-distant-future, and start training. You can find cheap races on Active.com, and training guides on the Runner's World website. Now, hit the pavement!
2. At Home. If you have the proper motivation, you could get super-fit at home for really cheap. You could pimp yourself out with a bunch of fancy equipment, yes, but you don't need to. I suggest that you at least get a set of cheap hand weights, but those aren't really necessary either—it's called body weight, people! All you need to do to get in shape is to do a basic strength routine two to three times weekly, including but not limited to push ups, triceps dips, squats, lunges, and crunches—the list goes on. Don't forget to do some jumping jacks in between to get some much-needed cardio. If you don't know how to do these moves, just Google them and you soon will learn—that's my promise to you. If you're able to spend a little more money, then try out a subscription to a fitness magazine. I enjoy Women's Health and Health, but there are many. You could also purchase a few cheap exercise DVDs—I recently purchased the Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 from Amazon, and once I get tired of it, I plan on selling it back. If you have the luxury of having On Demand on your TV or Netflix Instant Watch, there are plenty of free exercise videos on both (not including the monthly fees for both services). Very simple!
3. Gyms—without the expensive memberships. I'll admit, I've been really tempted to join a gym recently, but something keeps me from doing it—I'm guessing it's the money drain and the crowds. If you're really interested in checking out a gym though, then do it the cheap way! There are many coupons for gym classes on such sites as Groupon, and I bet that most gyms will give you a free trial if you ask. You may like it well enough and decide to shell out the dough, but don't forget to negotiate—many people pay a lower amount than the stated gym membership cost. You just need to ask! And don't forget about your local YMCA and community recreational centers—these are usually much cheaper than other gyms.