Fitness Articles

25 Ways to Get Fit for Less Than $25

Workout on a Budget


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.

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