Cheap Fitness Ideas


Hey I’ve got some cheap fitness ideas for you today!  If you’re like me it’s hard to rationalize spending a lot of money on fitness.  I mean between, bills, loans, savings, and making ends meet it would be near impossible for me to afford a lot of the things that you “need” to be fit: gym membership, lululemon workout gear, lots of cool races in cool places, new dvds or programs, not to mention personal trainers. That stuff would be AMAZING!  And if you have it, awesome for you!! I’m a little jealous, but it is great that you are in a place to make those choices with your cash!  Pat yourself on the back for being rich and awesome.  Now everyone else who is poor (or paying off debt/saving for a new house/car/kid/amazing trip to Europe) and awesome—read on!

1.  Home gym

It does not take a lot of dough to get a little home gym started.  Here is mine: IMG_0131


Dumbbells with removable weights: Came with the husband. The same set is at Wal-Mart for $5-$20 per weight.  I have 2.5 and 7.5 weights (for each side) and they work great!  It is a little annoying to have to switch the weights between exercises, but in the long run it’s not that big of a deal and gives you something to do during recovery periods! If just starting out into lifting I would scour local thrift stores and garage sales—there is always someone out there getting over a New Years Resolution!

Bench is an old recovered piano bench I used as a night table in high school. Now it is my bench.  It is great for triceps dips!  For some exercises it feels a little short and if so then I just switch over to my…

Exercise ball which I got for Christmas one year from my brother.  It is okay to get fitness equipment as long as you request it!

Exercise band that I bought for under $10 in college to work out in my dorm.  Great investment! I use it to modify “gym” exercises all the time!

Jump rope I got this at a garage sale for uh, maybe a dollar?  I don’t think I would have paid more, but it is a little fuzzy…or maybe it came with the husband?

Basketball was another garage sale find.  I use it much like a medicine ball, especially in core exercises when I’m not ready to go to a weighted exercise.

Yoga Mat was sadly not in the picture, but a good mat is awesome! I got mine for a Christmas present this year from my sweet mama.  I have used an old folded throw blanket before, just to soften the floor of my basement.

2.  Fitness DVDs

Where else can you get trained by Bob Harper or Shaun T?  Elite fitness instructors in your living room on a rainy Thursday morning? Yes please!  Keep your eyes open for deals, but many dvds are less than $10 regular priced.  You can also save some money by borrowing them from friends or checking them out from the library before buying.  My go-to dvds are Bob Harper’s Weight Loss Yoga and Chalene Johnson’s TurboJam!  Also, remember it is totally fine to ask for these for gifts, especially some of the BeachBody sets that (while awesome!) can be a bit more pricy.

3.  Running or Walking Shoes


I am a cheapie, but there is no excuse for a cheap shoe, seriously, they go on sale.  And even if you are paying a “hefty” price for new shoes, consider the cost per wearing.  You spend $120 on shoes you will wear 3-4 times a week for approximately 6 months.  That is 96 “wearings” at $1.25 per run or walk.  And if you get them on sale (I always do!) they are even less per wearing!

4. Workout Clothes

100_7059While I don’t condone skimping on shoes, I do condone skimping on workout clothes.  I honestly do most of my workouts in old t-shirts. And while I don’t want to sound like a broken record, I got my nice workout clothes for my birthday.  It is really, really hard for me to justify spending a lot of money for clothes to sweat in, so sometimes it’s nice to have someone else spend the money on you!  Stick with sales and T.J. Maxx to pick up solid brands for less. I also wear all my race shirts and have had the same pants in rotation for an embarrassingly long time!

5. Community Resources

If you haven’t checked out your local Parks and Rec or Library—you are missing out! First, Parks and Rec Resources are amazing and so under-utilized!  Playgrounds make excellent gyms!  I mean, have you done the monkey bars lately?  Better yet, bring a kid and race them through some bodyweight exercises—can you say HIIT intervals?  Also, most communities have great parks and trails to walk or run.  In my small town there are tennis courts, basketball hoops, trails, disc golf courses, racquetball, and free Zumba at a local church. Nice, huh? Also, the library is a great place to try out fitness dvds and check out books on fitness and exercising, not to mention most libraries have ginormous recipe book collections! If you are looking to exercise for cheap, don’t overlook what is already available in your community!

6. Internet Resources

The world at your doorstep!!  There are so many resources on the internet for low or no cost!  Some of my favorites:

For Yoga: YogaDownload and MyYogaOnline both have a range of free videos

For HIIT and circuit training: Bobbi McCormick (her 20 Minute Tuesdays are kick butt!), Holly Rigsby of FitYummyMummy (videos on YouTube), and Karina of BodyRock.tv

For Weights: Gina of Fitnessista and Jess of Blonde Ponytail and my sweat pink sister Lori has some great ones for fat loss! I also love Oxygen and Women’s health workouts—they have tons on their websites!

Also, check out my fellow sweat pink ambassadors: they have tons of motivation and often post their favorite workouts regularly. And if you really can’t find anything and want some fitness motivation as well bum around the Fitness board on Pinterest. You can also check out my Pinterest Fitness board to see what I’m excited about! As with anything on the internet use some common sense, but there are tons of great resources out there to help you get your fit on for cheap!

Stay tuned for Healthy for Cheap: Food on Thursday!!

How do you stay fit for cheap?

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  1. This is a great post – and so accurate as I think there are a lot of misconceptions about fitness having to cost a lot. I don't scrimp on shoe prices anymore (given my feet need all the support they can get!) but as you say, working out the price per wear makes even expensive running shoes seem cheap. So long as you use them, anyway!

  2. Love it! Those are some great ideas for home equipment, and great resources, too!! Thanks 🙂

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