It’s finally come around again. Time to dust off the trainers, sniff the shorts (just to make sure you understand) and get oneself down to the gym.
Except gyms cost money. They are full of beefcakes and bunnies that seem to know what they are doing but still sit around hogging the equipment while gassing on their smart phone (doubtless a Christmas gift from whatever food supplements company is sponsoring them that month).
They lock you in for 12 months, even though come February you will have stopped going! But this isn’t to say that the will and desire for fitness isn’t there – for many the root cause of abandoning the gym can be a dislike of that environment, with its impersonal and soulless qualities. But people still feel that to get fit, improve health and wellbeing (and, if we’re honest, to try and shift a few pounds here and there) you have to go to a gym.
Well, I am here to tell you something that you probably already know – you can do better on your own! Rather than spending umpteen pounds a month on something that will only get a month’s usage, here are my own tried and tested tips to fitness on a budget.
1. Find a location
Find somewhere to actually do it. If you don’t feel self-conscious about jumping up and down in the park then go for it, otherwise find a secluded spot where you think you might not be disturbed or observed (I have a little sheltered spot just outside my front door – people are rarely around this bit and it’s only ever fleetingly).
2. Use technology
The internet is far and away the best way to get inspiration and know-how for exercising at low cost or even free. You can scour for free advice and videos or you can join online trainer sites that offer various packages. For those with smart phones, there are an abundance of Apps that offer competitive personal trainer packages in your pocket.
Don’t like running or cycling? Can’t find the space for a second-hand rower? Need to be close to the house for any reason? Get a skipping rope and spend a bit of time getting the hang of the boxer-style skip. Skipping can burn as many calories as a run, cycle or row and also increases co-ordination skills. Oh, and did I mention that they are cheap?
4. Get some dumbbells
Dumbbells are an incredibly versatile bit of kit and can add just that little bit of resistance to your toning and fitness exercises. A small set can be picked up quite cheaply brand new, but even cheaper second hand. You might even be able to source them for free via Freecycle.org.
5. Make your equipment
Want some additional kit to do some interesting stuff with? Make your own! There are countless sites and web videos out there that show you how to do DIY fitness equipment. I’ve made weighted bags for flinging around out of an old army kit bag, wood chips and cable ties. The equivalent in the shops start at around £50 and climb to well over £100 just for one bag… Mine cost me around £10 or so.
Most important of all you need to find what motivates you and do something that you enjoy as, in my experience, the lack of those two factors are the cause of the downward spiral of enthusiasm.