How to Work Out on a Budget: 8 Ways to Start Today

bike-ridingWorking out is fun (most of the time), but spending money on gym memberships is not fun at all, and I'm sure you can relate to that! Anyways. There are ways to work out on a budget, and what's even better is that you can do most of the exercises at home, or at the nearest park. Here, I'm going to present a range of popular alternatives to expensive gym memberships and leave the choice up to you. Starting with:

1. Street workout

This is the first item on the list because it's the newest trend among people who want to get fit in a relatively short period of time. The idea is pretty simple. You go to a playground (yes, a playground – the place where kids play; unless there's a dedicated street workout area somewhere in your neighborhood), locate some bars and start training. Pull-ups, push-ups, and all sorts of other things. Essentially, everything that ends with "-ups." There are hundreds of tutorials available on YouTube. It's really amazing how many things one can do on a simple bar. Price: free.

2. Fitness balls

Fitness balls look like large beach balls, but they are made of a much more durable material. They are great for improving your core strength (back, chest, etc.) Perfect for doing all sorts of abdominal crunches, and balance exercises. Also, if you're recovering after an injury then a fitness ball will do wonders for you. (At least it did for me when I sprained my ankle.) Price: $15 – $45 per ball. (Prices from Amazon.)

3. Riding a bike

Riding a bike sounds really basic, but it actually has great impact on our bodies, and this impact can last for years. First of all, it's great for maintaining overall good health. Similar to running, only it doesn't strain your joints the way running does. Also, it's one of the best ways to build your leg strength and add some muscle in places that tend to be the most problematic for most people (like calves, for example). A nice approach is to ride a bike in the morning, when you're not yet worn out after a hard day at work. Also, you can ride the bike to work, which is kind of like killing two birds with one stone. Price: $0. Well, you probably already have a bike, and if not then … seriously? … shame on you!

4. Resistance tubing

The main benefit of working out with resistance tubing is that you can do something similar to traditional weight training. You can train both your strength and endurance without any heavy equipment. More importantly, resistance tubing doesn't occupy much space and you can actually take it with you anywhere. Especially if you don't like working out at home (maybe the nearby park sounds better). However, keep in mind not to work out on the pavement, or any other type of asphalt or cement surface. It can tear the tubing. Better choose something like wood, grass, or carpeting. And always check for holes or other signs of worn outs (so it won't snap mid-training). Price: $29 (Amazon).

5. Kettlebells

Kettlebells are an interesting piece of equipment. Similar to traditional dumbbells, but due to their unique construction (it looks like a cannonball with a handle) they allow you to swing them around and train much more than just your strength. They are suitable for all kinds of training. Most importantly of all, kettlebells teach you how to use your body as one unit, rather than as individual muscles with different tasks. This is something Tim Ferriss noticed in his book The 4-Hour Body. Kettlebells are one of the essential elements of the training he presents. Anyway, it's not just him who loves kettlebells. Check for yourself. Price: $7 – $100.

6. Jump rope

Using a jump rope (or skipping rope) is one of the old school ways of working out, but it still brings great results. Firstly, it's one of the best ways to warm up and to get ready for the actual training. Secondly, it improves your cardio, and quite simply makes you a more healthy human being. Thirdly, it's portable, you can take it anywhere. Finally, it's ultra cheap and ultra durable. There are literally no downsides to this kind of exercise. Price: $6 (Amazon).

7. Walking with a pedometer

A pedometer is a very interesting device with a very simple functionality – it counts every step you make, nothing more. The idea I have for you here is to use it at all times and to set a goal of achieving X number of steps every day. I was never a fan of running. I considered it too challenging on my joints, but walking is a completely different story. First of all, notice how many steps you make on average throughout the day. Then, try to bring this number up a bit. Just don't be shocked if you find out that you actually hardly walk (this is something we can blame on the 21st century, in general). Price: $22 (Amazon).

8. Body weight workout

I was truly amazed when I first found out how many exercises there are involving just your own bodyweight. The truth is that just to improve your health and be what most people consider "fit" you don't need any weights. Just some free space in your apartment and the dedication to work out every other day. Some of the possible exercises: lunge, squat, step-up, single leg deadlift, push-ups (more than a handful of kinds of different push-ups at your disposal), superman, triceps dip, L seat, bicycle, shoulder bridge, inchworm, tuck jump, bear crawl, burpees, plank, and many more. By the way, you can find out what all of these are by doing a quick Google search. Price: $0.

X. Using cheap equipment and free weights

I'm only including this to make the message complete. Whenever someone is searching for a nice cheap way to work out, they usually start by browsing Amazon or some other store in search for some cheap equipment (standard gym equipment, only cheaper). The main thing you have to be aware of here is that your health is not worth gambling over saving money on traditional equipment. There's a reason why some weights and machines are cheaper than others. Just keep that in mind. I really do believe that you're much better off trying out any of the above 8 methods than getting cheap traditional equipment. But what's your take on this? Do you have any tricks of your own on how to work out on a budget?

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