5 Tips to Keep Your Body and Your Budget in Shape

“I’m too busy.”

“I don’t know what to do.”

“It looks like it’s going to rain.”

You’ve probably used at least one of these excuses to avoid exercise. Don’t be ashamed—we’ve all done it. But if you’ve decided to get serious this summer about getting in shape, there is one roadblock that can be particularly difficult to overcome: cost.

The costs associated with the fitness industry—from gym memberships, to home equipment, to personal training sessions and gear—are seemingly endless.

Don’t be discouraged. Below are five cost-effective measures you can use to make a new exercise lifestyle easy to maintain.

  1. Make A Plan

One of the easiest ways to flush your time and financial investment in fitness down the drain is by jumping in too quickly. Ideally, you should be making a lifestyle change that is sustainable over the long term (unless you have a short-term goal like fitting into a suit or dress).

The best way to do that is to make a plan with easily achievable goals that you can build on. This can be as simple as twice-daily stretching exercises, sets of push ups, or a short walk around your neighborhood. If you can build upon these small goals, that’s a sign you’re ready for a more serious financial commitment. If you can’t, then maybe hold off on those new running shoes.

2. Track Your Fitness

Tracking your results can be one of the most effective ways to motivate yourself and stay focused on a goal. For the technologically inclined who don’t mind spending a little money, a fitness tracker can offer detailed data such as heart rate, sleep cycles, and how many minutes you were active.

If you still want some digital tracking but aren’t willing to open your wallet, try apps like MyFitnessPal and Fitocracy.

Or you can keep things old school and stick with a spiral notebook. This is an especially effective method to track your progress if you’re lifting weights.

3. Use What You Already Have

You don’t need fancy equipment to exercise. Want cardio? Go for a run around your neighborhood instead of paying for that gym membership. The outdoor elements will only make you stronger than the treadmill. If it’s strength you’re after, there are entire communities online devoted to body weight fitness. Use the furniture in your home to do exercises that use your own body weight against you.

If you don’t know where to start, start with YouTube. There’s instructional videos for everything from yoga and stretching to ab exercises and squats.

Check out public parks in your area. They can provide great ways to do body weight exercises, and also give you access to sports like tennis or basketball.

4. Seek Out Support

For those not used to exercise, one of the more discouraging realizations is how isolating your daily workout can be.

There are a few ways to mitigate that lonesome feeling while you break a sweat. One way is to recruit family, friends, or roommates to work out with you. Alternatively, your town may have a local jogging or fitness club. If neither of these options are feasible, apps like the Nike Running Club allow you to connect with other users.

Establishing relationships built around your workout will make the effort more enjoyable and can also keep you honest with how reliably you are sticking with your daily or weekly goals.

5. Make Smart Purchases

If you’re dead set on buying something—maybe you’re the type of person who won’t take something seriously without a financial commitment up front—try to buy things that are versatile.

Things like exercise balls, foam rollers, and mats can be used for many types of exercises and won’t break your bank. If you need cardio, calculate how much you pay for your gym and put that portion of your budget towards purchasing a stationary bike, elliptical, or treadmill instead. With Zebit, you pay over 6 months, just like you would for a fancy gym membership.

Getting healthy is fun. Doing it while being smart with your money is even more fun and enjoyable. Follow the above steps and you will get there before you know it. Also, if you need help creating and managing your budget, remember the Zebit Instant Budget App! Download it here.