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Cheap Ways to Get in Shape

Updated on July 2, 2014

Online Fitness Trackers

Websites like FitDay, SparkPeople, or MyFitnessPal are a great tool to track your foods, calculate calories burned, create exercise and diet plans, and get support. And they're free!

Keeping a food journal has for years been a major recommendation of dietitians, doctors, and fitness professionals. Knowing where your calories are coming from, whether you are getting enough protein, vitamins, and complex carbs or not, and how your moods affect your diet are hugely beneficial to a healthy diet. Online trackers take this idea, and combine it with exercise trackers/plans, community forums, and health and fitness articles, offering you a supportive, educational, and organized way to get, and stay, on track.

Get Outside!

Gym memberships can be expensive, and, let's be honest - the experience isn't for everyone. Likewise, not everyone wants to do hours of sit-ups and jumping jacks in their living room to get the same result, either. For those who fall into one or both of these categories, there's good news! The outdoors provides some of the most impressive calorie-burning activities there are. Cycling, rowing, swimming, sports like football and rugby, jogging, and skiing make the list of best calorie burning exercises. Even more moderate activities like walking, volleyball, and frisbee can burn away a couple hundred calories. Get outside, get active, and watch the weight melt off.

Visit Farmer's Markets

One of the most common concerns people have about eating healthier is the cost. We live in a society where a double cheeseburger from a fast food chain is half the price of a garden salad. Those on limited budgets have an understandably hard time stocking their kitchens with fresh greens, fruit, and healthy grains.

Farmer's markets are the oft-overlooked solution to this problem. One can find high-quality, fresh, organic fruits and veggies (and often more) at a fraction of supermarket cost. And, as an added bonus, your money stays in your community, and goes directly to the farmer, rather than to a CEO in an office somewhere.

Local farmer's markets are a great source of nutritious, affordable food.
Local farmer's markets are a great source of nutritious, affordable food.

Join Local Groups

If you are the type of person that benefits from community support, working out and shopping alone might make it more difficult for you to succeed. Rather than spending large amounts of cash on gym memberships and pilates classes, consider looking to your local newspaper, Craigslist page, or community centre for smaller, cheap or free group activities. Everything from yoga to nature walks to hardcore cardio workouts are available on a community level, if you know where to look.

Helpful Tips & Info

Before beginning any weight-loss regime, there are a couple of things you need to be aware of. It is much easier to succeed if you know the basics.

  • 1 pound = about 3555 calories. This is not an easy equation to work out, or a particularly helpful one, until you begin to apply it. What this means is, to lose one pound per week, you would have to ditch about 500 calories per day, preferably via both exercise and better eating.
  • With that said, it's also important to realize that weight is not a reflection of health, or even appearance. Muscle is denser than fat, so if you go from being really flabby to really fit, your weight may not change much at all - in fact, you may even gain weight! It's fine to make weight-loss goals, but don't let the numbers rule you.
  • Crash & fad diets don't work. Plain and simple. Long-term lifestyle changes are necessary to successful weight-loss and fitness.
  • Search YouTube for at home exercises you can do on days you can't or don't want to venture outside.


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