Thrifty Fit: Save money while getting in the best shape of your life

It’s a brand new year, and you’re probably going through your new year’s resolution list to see if you missed anything. Then, you spot it! There it is, larger than your waistline in red ink: lose some weight and get fit. A fine and noble resolution, until you remember all your past mishaps and bad decisions when trying to be fit and healthy.

Plus, aside from wanting to start 2015 in great physical shape, you also want to start the year in great financial shape, and you start thinking if trying to be fit actually aligns with your finances. Stop right there! Getting fit and healthy shouldn’t be a costly ordeal –not by a long shot –and I’ll show you ways to save while getting in the best shape of your life.

Strategy 1: Everything Must Go

This is the best advice anyone can give you if you’re stuck in a fitness rut. How about all the times you made the wrong decisions out of haste or peer pressure, like signing up for a yoga class you never went to, or paying a yearly fee for a gym membership you never used? Check with the gym or class if the slot you took is transferable or if you can get your money back (even half) because you changed your mind. Whatever the outcome, let it go. Forget about it, and move on.

How about all the useless home gym equipment you bought and kept hidden in the basement? Sell it on eBay, or have a yard sale. Throw in all the useless clutter and junk in your house. You’ll be surprised on how much money you can actually make selling stuff you don’t need. And when you do get rid of the stuff, forget about them! You (at least) got some of your money back, so let them go and move on.

Strategy 2: Fix your Diet

Ask anyone who’s lost weight on how they did it, and you’ll get one constant answer: diet. Even if you run a marathon daily or work out like Schwarzenegger, you won’t lose weight and get fit if you’re still munching on Big Macs for lunch. Your diet takes precedence over exercise in the battle of the bulge. Raid you fridge and pantry. Throw away all the junk food. You don’t need chips, cookies and ice cream.

  • Simplify your choices to fish, chicken, turkey and lean beef.
  • Eat more veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, spinach and sweet potatoes.
  • Snack on nuts and fruit.
  • Consume more legumes.
  • Don’t eat anything refined and processed, like white rice, white sugar and white bread.
  • Fast food should be limited to once a month, or eliminated from your diet completely.
  • You must be on a caloric deficit to see any noticeable weight and fat loss, so eat fewer calories than what your body needs.
  • Give Intermittent Fasting a shot.

Rule of thumb: Ask yourself if the food you’re about to eat existed when your great-great-great grand parents were alive. If you think it didn’t, don’t eat it! You’ll save a fortune on junk food!

Strategy 3: Your Body, Your Environment

To get fit and healthy, all you really need are a good pair of cross-trainers, the environment and your body. That’s it. No expensive gadgetry, no plastic surgery, no annual fees. Just you and nature. Running is free. Walking and hiking are free. There are trails everywhere, so go outside and run! If you have free access to a swimming pool, swimming is another great way to lose the extra pounds and get fit.

My personal favorite is bodyweight circuits. You can do them anywhere, anytime and with next to no equipment. Do it in the park so you can have access to monkey bars for pull ups, or you can buy a cheap pull up bar that you can just hang on your door. Below is a simple routine you can do. There are also lots of programs you can follow online. Just be sure they’re free! Don’t pay a dime for any online workout.

Sample Bodyweight Circuit

  • Lizard Hops
  • Pushup Burpees with high thigh slap
  • Squat Jumps
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Star Jumps

Go all out for 20 seconds, doing as many reps as you can. Rest for 10 seconds and move on to the next exercise. Rest for a minute or two after each round and do it again for as many times as you can. This Tabata style interval training burns calories even after your workout.

Remember, you don’t have to break the bank if you want to be fit and healthy. In most cases, all the good things in life are really free. Follow the strategies above and you’ll be fit in no time.