it’s a rich man’s world.
Sadly, I’m not a rich man. I’m not even half of those things!
I try not to think about the amount of money I spend on my sports habit in case I undo all the good the exercise’s done by giving myself a small cardiac infarction. As I came up to bonus time last month I found myself mentally spending it … all on sports. A new bike, new shoes, weights, the new P90X, medicine balls, a foam roller … before the money’d even hit my account, it was all gone. On SPORTS for heaven’s sake!
I got to thinking – the health and fitness industry, as is continually bandied about, is a multi-billion pound industry. It makes a serious amount of money off our misery … and I like the idea of exploiting it back. Heheheh.
Having said that, certain outlay is absolutely inevitable. I think the following is pretty much a necessity:
good shoes (otherwise you’ll hurt yourself)
work-out clothes (otherwise you’ll look like a plum)
water-bottle (otherwise you’ll pass out)
After that, technically, it should – should – be possible to get a good work-out, or even series of work-outs, without outlaying a penny – or at least, only a few pennies. I put my mind to it and came up with the following …
Yup, it’s been said a million times before, but that’s ’cause it actually is super-cheap. You leave your house, go outside, put one foot in front of the other for a while, and bob’s your auntie!
There are lots and lots of ways to spend money running – events, apps, personal training, running clubs, treadmills etc. But with the fabulously wonderful internet available for free, it’s pretty unnecessary to spend anything unless you want to do so. Three of the best running websites I know of are the Running Bug, Runnersworld and MapMyRun (the latter is also available as an app in both free and paid versions).
Getting involved in the park is awesome. You can do sprints from tree to tree (yes I do know this is running, but it’s a specific form of running), alternated with a bunch of body-weight, equipment-free exercises such as planks, burpees, handstands (if you can), jacks, push-ups, sit-ups etc. Free as a birdie!
Scour the internet – there are so many work-outs on there and these can easily be adapted to your personal wants or needs. There are loads of brilliant blogs out there – one of my favorites at the moment is Nerd Fitness, which is A.MAZ.ING.
Walking is one of the great unsung work-outs. People tend to think it’s a little bit easy … which it is if you do it while chomping on chocolate and smoking a fag or 30. But if you get your heart rate up (try doing an hour’s walk to work in 45 minutes when you have a meeting at 9am, trust me, your heart will be racing) and concentrate on walking steadily, it’s not a wussy work-out at all. Especially if you get a few good hills in there!
For some reason touch rugby – played socially – is quite often free, at least in London. One Element and Clapham Social Touch Rugby both offer touch rugby in south-west London and it’s not only free, it’s awesome fun.
There are about a million competing magazines out there, all of which want your business so most of the time they do intro-offers where they do, say, 3 issues for £1. You can then cancel the subscription unless you really like the magazine … it’s a bit cheeky, but then again, these loss-leaders usually allow publishers to get loads of new readers, so you might as well take advantage. In most magazines they’ll set out at least one, and usually several, work-outs in the magazine – take your pick! Personally I like Health & Fitness but there’s definitely something out there for everyone!
Apps rarely cost more than £2 or £3 and there are some amazing ones out there. Even better, they very often have a free “lite” version which has lots of the same features (although you may have to put up with the super-snoozy ads … zzzzzzzz).
Loads of community centres, independent trainers, clubs etc run local classes for about a fiver a go. It gives rise to loads of variety as well – gymnastics, zumba, swagga, boxing, trampolining, tennis, trapeze, aerial hoops and silks, pole-dancing … the list is pretty much endless if you look hard enough.
Courses are often as cheap as drop-in classes, but you have to pay up front which makes the initial outlay a lot more. There are also more expensive courses … of course as a pole addict I would recommend pole and aerial courses, but that’s just me!
groupon/living social/kgb deals etc etc
At the moment it seems like there’s nothing you can’t do on the cheap on Groupon or one of the similar websites that offer daily deals. My latest Groupon deal was for reformer pilates and I got six sessions for £5. £5!! They’re practically paying me to go.
It may not seem that cheap, but there are loads of cheap options out there. For example, there are community centres (in London, we have loads of them run by Greater London Leisure, or GLL – sometimes I think GLL is stealthily taking over the universe, little patch of realty by little patch of realty) and they can be as cheap as £20 a month … which is less than a fiver a week.
Gyms are often subsidised as well – lots and lots of employers pay a proportion or even all of your gym membership. There are also plans through health insurance – I know BUPA has a plan whereby if you go a certain number of times per week, your health insurance is about tuppence a week. Or something like that.
Ahhhh … an entry so close to my heart! It’s really up to you how much these cost.
As you can see, I’m pretty fond of the ole’ home DVD work-outs, and I’ve got a range. I think the cheapest was Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred, which I got from Amazon for about £2 at the time although the cheapest I could find it for now was £5. Still. It is only a fiver. Of course the most expensive kit I got was my P90X2 (actually P9oX would’ve been as expensive but at the time it was super-cheap here in the UK because no-one had ever heard of it!).
In any event, home DVDs are yours forever, don’t cost much, and can be remarkably effective. Plus you can use the exercises from them to create other work-outs designed for you. Awesome.
tight as a gnat
I would genuinely hate to think that anyone was relying on poverty as an excuse for failing to get fit. Good luck in saving some money y’all! Let’s be tight as gnats together.
Does anyone have any other tips for saving money? I’d love to hear them because, frankly, the more money the merrier in my view. When it’s in my wallet, not someone else’s.
** I should also make it clear that I have a minimal number of apps on my phone as I delete them systematically and only keep those in regular use on my phone, with the rest just stored in iTunes. I’ve now been forced to reevaluate my co-dependent relationship with my phone based on this nine-app evidence. Frightening.