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How to Exercise on the Cheap (No gym membership required!)

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workout_without_gym_freeAs you may or may not know, I am a huge proponent of working out to burn calories, sculpt toned muscles, firm up the jiggle and just generally feel good (depending on your workout it can be quite meditative).In fact, I lost the bulk of my weight jumping around 5 times a week for a year straight in the comfort of my living room – wearing nothing but a sports bra and some skivvies.

However, too many people think working out involves obtaining an expensive gym membership, and engaging in inconvenient rituals such as buying the right workout clothes and traveling to and from the gym or workout studio. Of course, if they can’t afford the cost of a gym or don’t have the right outfit/shoes, then working out gets put off to the side.

In this day and age, not being able to afford a gym membership is a pretty lame excuse to avoid working out.

I was recently interviewed for an article by Reagan Nickl on mvelopes.com – a personal finance management app to help people live within their means (http://www.mvelopes.com/7-ways-to-skip-the-gym-and-still-lose-weight-for-free/) where I gave some tips on frugal fitness.

However, some of my tips didn’t make the article and I wanted to highlight them here;  so without further ado, here are some of my favorite fitness tips and alternatives to an expensive gym membership:

* Youtube videos – There are tons of youtube channels with partial or full length workouts –  choose from the personal channels of celebrity trainers, networks that post nothing but workout videos, or local workout instructors who upload their live classes to the site.

While many of these videos are shorter in length than the time I recommend (at least 60 minutes), you can comprise your own full length workouts by making a playlist of shorter videos to give you a more personalized and varied routine while still meeting the one hour requirement.

* Free workouts in the park – When the weather heats up the parks promote getting outdoors by not only offering free yoga and bootcamp style classes, but other activities that will get your heart rate pumping, such as free rowing programs.

Of course, you can also just bring a jump rope to the park and skip for 20 minutes to burn calories on par with a much longer stint on the treadmill, or if you’re lucky, your park may have a designated area for exercise type equipment. Failing that, the jungle gym can come in very handy for pull-ups, knee ups (work those abs), crunches, dips, etc.

* Running or cycling meet up groups – These groups, and other activity / sports based meet ups, are usually free and will allow you to meet and get to know like minded people who can hopefully inspire you to keep showing up. It’s like having tons of work out buddies that won’t ever flake on you (at least one other person – the organizer – is bound to show up).

* Pedal to the metal – Riding your bike (just avoid hills and steep inclines if you don’t want to build up the thighs too much) is a great way to get your heart rate pumping and burn calories. If you don’t have a bike but reside in a city with a bike share program,  you have yet another way to get some exercise in on the cheap. Alternatively, a number of bike sharing websites have popped up that will allow you to rent your neighbor’s bike for as little as $5 a pop.

* Workout DVD’s – The old standby, and again, how I originally got into shape, is fitness DVD’s. While many of the older ones can be found online, you can find these just as effective videos on the cheap on websites like craigslist and ebay, or even snag them for free on websites like free cycle or the library.

* Exercise books and pins – Videos are not the only game in town! There are many books with full workout routines you can follow that can be found for free at the library, on amazon on the cheap for a limited time (kindle unlimited or the books under $3 tabs), and worksheets with detailed sets and reps can be found on sites like pinterest and tumblr.

* Income based workout programs – Companies like yoga to the people strive to bring yoga to the masses by allowing every individual to pay based on their income.

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