Fitness Articles

25 Ways to Get Fit for Less Than $25

Workout on a Budget

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11. Personal trainer in training $0-$20 When I was in college and training to become a personal trainer at my campus recreation center, members could "train" with me either for free or for a discounted rate. It's a win-win situation for the trainer and the trainer-to be (and the facility itself). Find out if your local gym or university offers such a program, which helps personal trainers get valuable experience. You can use the time to ask questions, get exercise ideas, or just simply get a great workout for less money.

12. Jump rope $5-$10 Get your cardio on by jumping rope! It's inexpensive, fun and a super calorie burner. Check out this workout video for jumping rope ideas you can follow along with or use on your own.

13. Aerobics step (used) $25 You can make up your own cardio step routine, buy (or borrow) an inexpensive step DVD, or incorporate the step into your strength training exercises (such as lying on it as a bench, adding inclines to lunges, adding declines to pushups and more). These are expensive items when new (near $100), but I've seen many used ones for sale for around $20—a great buy!

14. Community recreation center $10-$25 Your local community recreation center might not be bright and shiny like a big box gym, but they often have some exercise options, like cardio and strength training machines and access to dumbbells, swimming pools, basketball courts and more. Check it out and find out what yours has to offer. Membership is usually a low, annual rate that you may find more worthwhile than the high cost of a gym.

15. Garage sales $1-$25 Garage sales are notorious for selling gently-used exercise equipment, videos, and even bigger ticket items (like bikes and treadmills) for a fraction of the cost. Check your local classifieds for key "fitness" words and show up early to snag a deal!

16. Craigslist $0-$25 Visit to find local people selling their stuff and giving it away for free. Pay with cash and pick it up yourself. You'll save on everything from home gyms to yoga mats.

17. YouTube $0 SparkPeople's workout videos are on YouTube, but so are many others. Have a favorite video instructor? Want to try that Tae-Bo workout everyone has been talking about? Search for keywords on YouTube and you just may find the whole workout you're looking for—for free!

18. Mini ball $10-$13 You may have seen infomercials for the "Bender Ball," but these mini fitness balls have been used among instructors and trainers for years. If you're an intermediate to advanced exerciser, you can probably discover countless ways to incorporate this ball into your strength training routines. If not, you can buy the Bender Ball and accompanying abs DVD for under $13.

19. Podcasts $0 If you use iTunes already, then finding Podcasts will be easy for you. Most are free, and you can get audio or video podcasts that you can download to your computer or iPod—everything from yoga routines to cardio workouts. Other websites offer workout podcasts, too. Just do an Internet search for what you're looking for, such as "Free Pilates podcast" and see what turns up!

20. Playground $0 They're not just for kids—they're full of fitness opportunities for adults, too! Try pull-ups on the bars, dips on the benches, climbing across the monkey bars or whatever you can think of. Who ever thought exercise could be this fun?

21. Park $0 I love walking and hiking in my local park. It's a great way to enjoy the nice weather, meet new people, and get fit all at once—especially if your park is hilly.

22. Sports equipment $10-$25 Remember how fun it was to play sports like basketball, volleyball, soccer and more? Grab your family and friends; pick up a ball, and play!

23. Join a sports league $25 Most adult sports leagues cost a small fee to join. You'll get access to fields and gyms where you can practice with your team and play a sport competitively, which can be a great workout, depending on your sport.

24. Balance trainer $15-$25 There are a lot of balance trainers out there, from balance boards to bubble-shaped discs, which can improve core strength and add intensity to your standard strength training moves. Some smaller, inexpensive models are available, and these can add variety, challenge and fun to your routine.

25. Stairs $0 Do you ever find it strange that people will drive to a gym to endlessly climb a Stairmaster machine? Take your cardio workout to the stairs in your house, office or another building that you have access to. Whether you walk, hop or run up them, at least you're paying nothing and going somewhere!

BONUS: SparkPeople's NEW Fitness Starter Kit, available at is just $24.95!
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About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, Nicole loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Nicole was formerly SparkPeople's fitness expert and editor-in-chief, known on the site as "Coach Nicole." Make sure to explore more of her articles and blog posts.

Member Comments

  • SUSAN081354
    i found it was hard to find soemthing since i am in a chair. cant workout like others can but i do exercise workouts from the hcair on you tube. maybe not the same but its a beginning. - 4/5/2016 7:31:23 PM
    Haven't belonged to a gym in YEARS (our health insurance used to offer discounted rates), but really don't miss it. My office has a fitness center that I use primarily for the treadmill and I have everything else I need at home. One thing I DID learn from going to the gym was to take advantage of the complimentary session with a personal trainer - it was a great way to check my form and make sure I was getting the most of my workout. - 4/4/2016 12:38:57 PM
  • Our park cost to walk through it, same as our zoo! Now the zoo is a hike. I lost 5 lbs. the last time I walked through the zoo, it was before I started Spark People! This article was
    awesome! All the comments were great, also! Have a Magnificent & Blessed Monday! - 4/4/2016 8:31:34 AM
  • I miss Coach Nicole and her wonderful articles. - 1/29/2016 5:42:19 PM
  • Scored fitness bands, hand weights, & an exercise ball at thrift stores for about $2 each. For bigger equipment & a warranty on used, Play It Again Sports is excellent & services or installs some things. - 7/9/2015 1:12:00 PM
  • I got a treadmill off Kijiji (similar to Craig's list) and it died after just 3 days! Wish I could afford new equipment instead of playing Russian Roulette with used :( . At least I was only out what I paid for the treadmill. Got a freezer the same way once and it lasted a month before dying and taking all our frozen food with it !! - 1/29/2015 8:25:03 AM
  • GREAT ideas, thanks for sharing. - 7/22/2014 5:56:29 PM
  • I have bought used equipment and see nothing wrong with that. You have to clean/maintain equipment even if you buy it New anyway. - 7/22/2014 5:54:53 PM
  • went to website to purchase SparkPeople's NEW Fitness Starter Kit, and it is NOT $24.95!
    - 4/18/2014 1:31:10 PM
  • Noticed you mentioned the local recreation centers. I haven't met one other Sparker who will even consider the rec centers here (Denver), but most of them are kept nicer than the big name places (I have read quite a few complaints about them) and they offer fitness classes (mostly drop-in), weight rooms, gyms where you can play basketball, etc. Plus they have arts and crafts, some have cooking lessons. There are a lot of classes for youth (the one closest to me is geared toward youth). And most several have pools. Cost for membership is less than the big name places and includes the drop-in fitness classes. I started going to the rec centers 8 years ago after the YMCA wanted $25/month plus initiation fee on their disabled scholarship program and have found the people there much nicer than those I ran into at the larger fitness centers I was at before. - 3/25/2014 4:44:06 PM
  • I would be somewhat hesitant to buy used equipment from a garage sale unless you knew what you were getting as there are a lot of people who sell damaged equipment at garage sales. I know you can get a bargain but is it still a bargain ( if a weld fails on a weight bench for example) and you get hurt? - 10/15/2013 10:13:55 PM
  • I found a stability ball at a local dollar store for only $5.00! I love it for doing sit-ups because I have a back problem, so it's impossible to do sit-ups on the floor for me. Great buy! - 10/15/2013 1:23:47 PM
  • We have also found that some of the very large churches in our area have fitness centers and for a small fee, they will let anyone use the fitness center, even non-members. - 10/11/2013 1:19:09 PM
  • Great. Loved all of it. - 9/9/2013 2:49:03 PM
    Thanks so much these are great - 10/16/2012 3:23:53 PM

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