Get Physically Fit for Less

Get Physically Fit for LessDid you make any New Year’s resolutions? If you’re like many Americans, you may have pledged to better your fitness as well as save money over the next 12 months. Implement the following simple suggestions to help you do both and join the ranks of the 8 percent who actually achieve those first of the year goals.

Choose your fitness investments wisely.

Spend money on anything—from a new pair of running shoes to a gym membership—that you won’t actually use and you’re basically throwing hard-earned cash away. Invest in experiences—and associated gear—that you find enjoyable and motivating and it’s money well spent. This may mean paying for race entries if you have a strong competitive urge, joining a workout group if you need accountability, or even buying the occasional ensemble if new fitness duds inspire you.

Try it out before you go all in.

Before you commit to paying a quarterly membership fee for a running club, an annual fee to join a gym, or even purchase a month’s worth of yoga classes, ask if you can try the activity for free. Many groups, gyms and studios offer free trial memberships (of a few days to a few weeks), or allow you to purchase training sessions and classes in smaller increments. If you find you love the experience, you can always sign up for more.

Utilize free smartphone apps.

Great technology doesn’t have to cost a dime. Search Google Play or iTunes and you’ll find thousands of free fitness applications you can use to learn new exercises, find inspiration, or track your workouts and progress towards goals. Accountability plays a big part in maintaining your resolutions, so apps that include online communities or integrate with your social media accounts can be particularly helpful.

Share a personal trainer.

If you’re new to exercise, taking the time to learn proper form before beginning your fitness regime can help you achieve better results and stay injury free. While experienced personal trainers often charge upwards of $50 an hour, they may allow you to split the cost of instruction with a friend (or a group of friends) if you schedule sessions together. This can reduce your investment substantially.

Make the most of nothing.

A tight budget doesn’t have to mean giving up fitness. There are many exercises you can do—from walking, jogging and running to simple bodyweight movements—that don’t require anything in terms of equipment or expensive gym memberships. Add a jump rope and a few weights (bought for cheap from a used sporting goods store) and you’ll have everything you need to complete a challenging total body workout at any time from the comfort of your own home.

Get help from your employer or health insurer.

If your employer offers a workplace wellness plan, participation may include a discounted membership at a local gym or other free fitness classes and resources. Ask your human resources department for all the details. It’s also possible that your health insurer offers fitness incentives—from discounts on classes to membership reimbursements—as part of their wellness package. Contact your insurance professional to learn more about your particular policy.