Getting in shape is difficult for anyone. If you’re on a strict budget, it can feel even more out of reach. Many people mistakenly believe that living a healthy lifestyle is expensive, and this simply isn’t true.
Sure, buying a gym membership, and hiring a personal trainer are going to cost you money. However, these are worthy investments that will accelerate your progress, keep you accountable, and allow you to learn more than 99% of the population.
I am obviously an advocate of investing in a personal trainer to help you better navigate the transformation process. But if it’s not possible for you to go this route, you still have plenty of options to get in the best shape of your life.
The following suggestions will require you to establish clear goals, possess strong belief in yourself, and remain extremely disciplined.
Here are 10 ways you can get fit without spending any money:
1. Go for a walk outside every day.
Walking is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health. It costs you nothing. It’s low impact and easy on your joints. You’re exposed to natural sunlight, which boosts the feel good hormone serotonin. Aim for 45-60 minutes per day.
2. Workout at home.
Subscribe to several bodyweight fitness YouTube channels and perform their workout routines at home or put together a small home gym.
You don’t need a lot of equipment to get a great workout; a couple sets of dumbbells, some bands, and a bench will give you plenty of exercise options. Search Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist for inexpensive equipment.
3. Cut out alcohol completely.
I realize this will be the most unpopular suggestion, but hear me out. Alcohol is not only expensive, but your body views it as a poison. There are no benefits to consuming it. If fat loss and building muscle are big goals for 2020, you’ll have a difficult time seeing them through until you reduce or eliminate alcohol.
Cutting it out completely will save you $100-200 per month, easy. BONUS: You’ll feel less like shit every day, too, since alcohol wreaks havoc on the gut which can have a negative effect on all aspects of your health.
4. Sleep more.
It’s free. Well, unless you pay rent or a mortgage, in which case having a roof over your head and a warm bed to sleep in isn’t exactly free. But you get the point.
Here are some benefits of getting adequate sleep every night: lower blood pressure, less anxiety, better recovery, improved mental clarity, and a stronger immune system. If fat loss is a goal, aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Sleep deprivation can increase feelings of hunger and intensify sugar cravings, which will obviously make your fitness goals more difficult to achieve.
Getting more sleep can be a challenging process for some people, but with a few habit changes, everyone can make improvements if you follow these tips:
Stop consuming caffeine at least 10 hours before bedtime. Stimulants increase cortisol and disrupt REM sleep.
Keep electronics out of the bedroom, including a TV. Make the bedroom for sleep and sex only.
Put your phone away at least an hour before you want to go to sleep, the blue light will increase alertness and make it difficult to fall asleep.
Make your room as dark as possible.
Keep the temperature in your bedroom between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Get rid of Cable TV, Netflix, and Magazine subscriptions.
Why continue wasting money every month on something that charges you to engage in sedentary behavior? Get rid of it all.
If you need entertainment, go hang out with your kids, take your dog for a walk or connect with a friend. Put the money you would otherwise spend on passive entertainment activities, and set up an automatic savings account so what you would normally waste on subscriptions is transferred there. Use this money to pay off debt, book your dream trip, or hire a personal trainer.
6. Stop going out to eat.
You want to save money and meet your health and fitness goals? This tip right here will change your life. It’s not only expensive to constantly eat out, you’re likely consuming twice as many calories as you otherwise would had you made the same meal at home. Stop being lazy, and learn to cook.
7. Get an accountability buddy.
Find an equally motivated friend or family member who wants to get fit, and check up on one another every day. Give support, ask for help when you need it, and set goals together. Walk on your lunch hour, cook meals, and meet up for home workouts.
As the saying goes, two heads are better than one, and this is even more true when it comes to creating permanent healthy changes in your life. Your support crew is everything. It’s equally important to be mindful of the people around you who can potentially sabotage your efforts, so make sure your social circle is solid.
8. Use a food tracking App like Myfitnesspal.
The main reason I suggest everyone track what they eat and drink is for education and accountability purposes. Food tracking will get you great results. And, as long as you stay in a caloric deficit, you’ll lose body fat.
Free apps like Myfitnesspal are easy to use, and make healthy eating a more sustainable lifestyle for the long haul.
9. Ride your bike to work.
This option will obviously be weather and time dependent, but if it makes sense for you, consider ditching your car more often in exchange for a bike as your main mode of transportation. You’ll save money on gas, and get in more activity on a regular basis.