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Cost friendly alternatives to the gym - stay in shape on a budget

Published 9 January 2015 by

For many of us, it’s not only the motivation to lose weight and stay in shape that we have to battle with, it’s the cost too. Gym memberships can be expensive, and that’s before you factor in the cost of gym clothing and healthy food as well. So to help you get in shape after the festive season, here are some of our money-saving tips on how to lose weight and stay healthy.

Gym alternatives

Head outside: Exercising outside can be a great way to enjoy some fresh air and get fit without spending a penny.

    1. Park Run – Running is a great exercise to ease you into working out and if you fancy giving it a go, you could go along to a free Park Run event and engage in some friendly competition in the great outdoors. Park Run is held in more than 160 locations in the UK and involves a weekly 5km timed run. The events are open to runners of all abilities and can be a great way to get in shape and meet new people.

    2. Green Gym - the Conservation Volunteers run a free gym called the Green Gym. This initiative combines conservation projects with health and fitness. Volunteers warm up and cool down in preparation for a variety of activities including planting trees and sowing meadows. To learn more and find the nearest Green Gym to you, click here.

Head to the shops: Some fitness clothing stores hold their own exercise sessions - here are a few for you to try out this autumn:

    1. Sweaty Betty - Women’s fitness store Sweaty Betty offers free Zumba, Pilates and other fitness classes at all of their 30 stores across the country. The classes are open to both men and women and all you have to do is sign up for a free membership card, then drop into your local store and book a session. For more information click here.

    2. Nike Running - If running is more your thing, Nike conduct local running clubs that you can get involved with. The groups meet weekly across the UK and are open to men and woman of all abilities. To get involved click here.

D.I.Y: If you are sick of the expense of the gym, why not exercise within the comfort of your own home?

    1. Buy exercise equipment: If, when you visit the gym, you only use one or two pieces of equipment, why not purchase these pieces to use in your home? The more affordable pieces of equipment include exercise weights, a cross trainer and an exercise ball. If you use your equipment regularly, you should ultimately save on what you would have spent at the gym. A great tip is to look on Ebay for any second-hand equipment or attend car boot sales to see if you can find any equipment going cheaply.

    2. DVD workouts: You may scoff but DVD exercise videos can be a great budget-friendly alternative to gym workouts. Many people have lost weight using DVD workouts and to make sure that you maintain a routine and stay motivated, you could recruit a family member or friend to join in. You could also set yourself a timetable of when you are going to work out and for how long. To cut costs further you could even head to your local public library to rent out an exercise DVD, or subscribe to such channels as BeFit or Fitness Blender on YouTube.

Healthy Eating

Exercising and healthy eating go hand in hand for anyone wanting to lose weight, but healthy food can sometimes seem more expensive than junk food – plus, fresh produce goes off faster. To help you eat healthily for less, follow some of our tips:

    1. Write a shopping list – Plan what meals you’re going to make in the week and write a weekly shopping list of everything that you will need. Stick to this list and don’t buy anything on impulse or special offer.

    2. ‘Reduced to clear’- Go food shopping towards the end of the day, when supermarkets discount their fresh items. Once you find the best time to go, you’ll be able to take advantage of substantial discounts. Always remember to check the use-by-dates and plan your meals around when your groceries are freshest.

    3. Shop online - Shop through price comparison sites like Comparing prices will help you find the cheapest food supplier and you’ll be able to budget what you spend by monitoring what’s in your basket.