Exercise for Your Life and Budget

Brittany did an awesome post about staying fit without shelling over precious, hard earned money toward a gym or studio. Brittany is also lucky enough to live in an area where you can workout outside all year long.  Unfortunately, people who live in an area where it’s cold, dark, and snowy for several months out of the year need a play to maintain or increase their fitness level during those dark and dreary months. This post lays out various options – free or pricey – that works for your fitness needs.

1.  Home Workouts: Many women can get exactly what they need to fulfill their health and fitness goals from their own living rooms. Workout DVD’s (I love anything Jillian Michaels), fitness apps, a treadmill and some weights will allow you to sweat it out without spending money (and guilt) on a gym membership. When the season is right, running or working out outside feels amazing!

Cons: If you’re the kind of person that can’t hold yourself accountable and your living room is just not the place that you feel you can push yourself, this plan is not for you.

My Plan: It’s beginning to get dark and cold in the morning and afternoon, making it hard to run outside. Since I’m no longer training for a marathon, I’m focusing on light weight circuits that incorporate cardio. Jillian Michaels and personal circuit workouts could give me exactly what I’m looking for to maintain my fitness level. I have also been shopping online for used treadmills. I love watching exactly what I want on TV while running on the treadmill.


My awesome selfie after completing a great Jillian Michaels’ No More Trouble Zones DVD in my living room.

2.  Yoga/Pilates Studios: I have never been a long-term customer of a yoga or Pilates studio, but I have utilized a free or inexpensive workout deal here and there (thank you, groupon). I’m not a huge yoga person, so spending over $30/month to participate in yoga classes a few times a week is not my cup of tea. If yoga or Pilates is your heart and soul and main source of exercise, $30/month would be a great way to spend your money.

Tip: A lot of yoga and Pilates studios offer a discounted month trial.  Go for it! It may change your life! Groupon is also a great way to trial some classes for a discounted price.

My Plan: I will be dipping my toes in the yoga pool (as a post marathon gift to my tight running muscles) by taking advantage of a local yoga studio’s 2 week discounted trial.

Exercise Yoga

3.  Local Gym: I’m thinking of a gym like Gold’s Gym. These gyms are typically around $30/month.  Included is cardio equipment, various fitness classes, and a variety of weights. This is actually another plan (besides the home workout) I’m looking into now.  If you’re not fortunate enough to live in a climate where you can workout outside all year round (I’m looking at you, Brittany), this is a good 4-5 month option. This way, you can run and cross train when it’s dark and cold in the morning or when it’s dark and cold at night.

AVOID: Feeling inspired and ready to increase your fitness level, you run over to your local gym, sign up for a few months at the gym…and never go. If you KNOW you’re going to utilize a gym AT LEAST 3 days/week consistently, go for it.  If not, buy a couple DVDs.

My Plan: I’m taking advantage of my local Gold’s Gym’s two week free trial to see if I will take advantage of their group fitness classes and cardio equipment.

Exercise Golds Gym

4.  CrossFit: I have to include this. Not only is this really hot right now, but I love it.  I was a member of a CrossFit gym for a year or so during graduate school.  This particular gym had a great family atmosphere and it kicks your ASS! I was always so motivated to go to classes, loved my workout partners, and got in great shape.

Cons: I have a tendency to put on muscle pretty easily; therefore, CrossFit beefed me up without incorporating enough cardio (yes, CrossFit workouts are great cardio, but I’m a runner – I’m looking for AT LEAST 60 min. of cardio).  I was looking to lean out instead of bulk up.  The other MAIN factor of my not joining a CrossFit gym is price. When I moved to Kansas City  I couldn’t find a monthly membership for under $100. That’s just not in my budget right now.

My Plan: I create several circuit workouts based on what I learned at CrossFit, allowing me to reach my fitness goals without spending the money.  I REALLY miss my workout friends though! You can also find some groupons for CrossFit classes. Sometimes you can find enough deals to last the whole winter at various gyms at a discounted price.


Remember: The best choice for you is just that…for YOU! If you can’t workout at home due to lack of self-motivation, don’t do it! If you know you won’t utilize a gym, don’t spend the money on it.  If you’re not sure if you’d be into yoga or CrossFit, don’t buy a year membership just to try it.  Most gyms have trial periods.  My advice is to make some short and long term fitness goals and utilize various trial periods to shop around and see what works best for you, your goals, and your lifestyle.

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