10 ways to work out on a budget

25 February 2015 by
First published: 27 February 2015

Contrary to belief, you don’t have to invest a small fortune to reach your fitness goals. Here are 10 ways to work out on a budget, so you can reap the rewards without splashing the cash.

1. Bodyweight exercises

Bodyweight workouts are extremely effective, require no kit and can be done anywhere. If the thought of panting and sweating in a gym puts you off, then opt for exercising in the comfort of your own home. Even without the aid of expensive gym equipment you can get a great full body workout and there are plenty of free bodyweight workout routines available online.

Personal trainer and WBFF Pro Mirella Clarke says: ‘Exercise doesn’t have to be expensive,. Often all you need is some motivation and a little creativity. A simple circuit can include stair runs to warm up, then some press-ups and squats followed by bent-over rows and deadlifts using water bottles for resistance. Add in some metabolic exercises such as burpees, star jumps or sprints on the spot and to finish off add in an abdominal exercise like the plank – a great start to help increase your core strength.’

2. Free workout videos

There are loads of workout videos available online these days; sites like the Daily Hiit release a free video every day. Their trainers deliver programmes that are a combination of bodyweight workouts and some that use home gym equipment. You could also subscribe to one of the many fitness channels on YouTube where you can access free exercise programmes, including aerobics, yoga and much more.

3. Cycle to work

Depending on your distance from work, why not turn your commute into your exercise session? Not only will the ride to work wake you up, but the government offers a scheme for cyclists that provide a significant discount on buying a bike. You can stick to a gentle ride, or if you have access to showers at work, tackle some uphill climbs or opt for a longer route.

4. Fitness apps

Instead of playing another round of Candy Crush, download some free or cheap fitness apps. Popular ones include calorie trackers like My Fitness Pal, diet programmes, workout routines like Hot5 Fitness and activity trackers so you can see how many calories you’ve burnt through exercise. Putting fitness at your fingertips makes it easier to stay motivated and reach your goals.

5. Build your own home gym

It’s easy to keep the costs of building your own home workout zone down when you can get free or cheap second-hand equipment from Freecycle and Gumtree.

Your home gym doesn’t have to take up lots of room, either. There are plenty of products that are designed to be functional and compact. Resistance bands are a great alternative to dumbbells and the RooBoard combines elements of a wobble board, gym ball and balance ball – great for performing lots of core and dynamic exercises.

Personal Trainer Hannah Goodman says: ‘If you want to add some equipment to your workouts at home, it doesn’t have to be expensive. You can get a great full body workout without having to buy lots of kit. I recommend a mat, a couple of kettlebells, resistance bands, a medicine ball and a Swiss ball. All of which can be bought cheaply or found for free online.’

6. Running and jogging

Accessible and free, running is one of the best cardio and fat-burning exercises you can do if you incorporate sprints. No one’s expecting you to run a marathon on your first day, so instead, gradually build up your pace and distance over time. The NHS has a Couch to 5K programme to help newbie runners build up stamina, fitness and confidence. There are also lots of apps that provide tips, act as route trackers and create soundtracks to help you on your run.

7. Get outdoors

Walking works your legs and glutes and activates the core, and if you speed it up, it’s an effective cardio workout as well. Whether you pound the streets on an urban hike, walk the dog or head to work by foot, you can burn calories and get fit at the same time.

8. Workout DVDs

Workout DVDs have significantly moved on from the old-school video offerings from Jane Fonda, with many providing workout systems like cult fave Insanity. They boast a variety of programmes designed to be followed over a number of month, so you can work out without getting bored of seeing the same set of exercises over and over. Now you can choose from high-intensity interval training, dance, martial arts and much more. Follow the workouts in the comfort of your own home while being cheered on by your favourite celebrities and trainers.

9. Play in the park

Act like a big kid! Get to the park and make use of the green spaces in your area. Bring a ball to have a kick about with friends, borrow a tennis racquet and use the free courts or just go for a jog. Many parks have netball or basketball courts and some even have outdoor gym equipment so you can get a dynamic workout while enjoying nature.

10. Budget gyms

Joining a gym can be expensive, especially as many require a contract and joining fee, with some memberships adding up to around £1000 a year. Luckily, there’s been a significant rise in budget gyms that start from as little as £9.99 a month with no contract. Check out EasyGym, The Gym Group, JD Gyms and Pure Gym, all of which are located across the UK.