I make excuses for not exercising all the time. With the exception of “I just haven’t got enough time!” my favourite one is “it’s so expensive to get fit, I can’t afford it”. Well, that’s a lie. If you want to compete at a certain sport then you’ll need professional gear that will cost a fortune, that much is true. But if you’re looking to get rid of the beer belly and tone up for the summer, getting fit without paying through the nose is a piece of low-fat, low-carb, sugar-free cake. Take a look at these tips before you max out your credit card buying stuff you don’t need.
Getting fit usually means a lot of cardio, which means you’ll need a good pair of shoes to go with it. I speak from experience when I say that walking shoes and Converse trainers are not suitable for running or jogging (my foot blisters and shin splints can vouch for that). A good pair of trainers or running shoes should be your biggest investment, but even here you can get good gear at a decent price.
First of all, find out your foot shape and do a ‘wet test’ by wetting your foot and looking at the shape that your footprint makes on the floor. This will show you if you have high or low arches, which will need a specialist shoe to maximise comfort while exercising. Also, when you look for running shoes, don’t believe in the myth that they need to be ‘broken in’. If a shoe is comfortable, it should be comfortable as soon as you put it on. You might look silly doing so, but do a few laps of the shop before you commit to buying a pair of trainers. Getting a good pair of shoes straight off the bat means they’ll last longer so you won’t have to fork out again in a month’s time for new ones.
Feel the burn
You don’t need to hire a personal trainer in order to get a good workout. There are a number of exercise programmes available online that you can follow, and you can also download free podcasts that help you to work out. Useful (and free) places to look are the NHS Couch to 5k podcast, a series of audio clips that gradually build you up to running 5km without stopping, and the 100 pushups challenge, which builds up your muscle over a period of weeks until you can do 100 consecutive pushups.
The combination of these gives you a balance of cardio and strength training that build you up gradually and for which you won’t have to pay a penny to use.
Worried about how much the gym is costing you every month, especially because you only go twice a month? Cancel the subscription and you can build your own gym with everyday items. Soup cans and bottles filled with water make for great makeshift dumbbells, and you don’t need to use a cross trainer when you can just climb your nearest hill. There are a number of recreational parks that have installed fitness stations where you can do pushups, chin ups and other resistance training while you do your daily run. Fresh air? Check. Cardio? Check. Strength training? Check. What more could you want?
So the next time you try to tell yourself that you can’t afford to get fit, stop. All it takes is the willpower to slip on those running shoes and step outside.
This guest post was written by Jamie Gibbs, the resident blogger for Confused.com, the comparison site where you can compare credit cards. He keeps his old heavy metal T-shirts in the hope that one day he’ll be able to fit into them again.