Some people think that you need to spend a lot on gym memberships and fancy fitness tools to get in shape. I say thee nay! Repeat after me: Fitness doesn’t have to cost a lot. In fact, it can even be free! We’ve been living on a student budget for as long as I can remember, so pricey gym memberships, with child care, exercise classes and personal trainers are not exactly in the budget right now. One can dream, can’t they? Also, time. Time is an issue. I’m all about efficiency when it comes to working out. I’ve timed it out, and for the amount of time I spend working out a gym or at an exercise class – I spend almost the same amount of time getting ready, packing bags, corralling children and traveling to and from the location. That nearly doubles the amount of time I dedicate to working out. No bueno for me… I need my relaxation time, too. Which is why I am such a fan of working out at home at night, after the kids go to bed – with all my fitness essentials to create my own mini workout space. Everybody’s different with how they choose to workout, but for me, it works well. So, here are some of my favorite, tried and true, free and frugal fitness tools I’ve used and love!
1. Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred ($6.96) and Ripped in 30 ($7.55): I’m a big fan of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts, and the 30 Day Shred was a great introduction to HIIT after I had my first baby. 30 minutes a day was totally doable and all I needed was a pair of hand weights. There are three different levels, so once a level becomes comfortable you can move up to the next level to avoid plateauing. After I mastered the 30 Day Shred, I took on Ripped in 30 which is a slightly harder version of the 30 Day Shred. This was a great HIIT video because it focused a bit more on getting toned. The horrid back pain I was first riddled with after baby #2 was completely gone within 3 – 4 months of doing these Jillian Michaels workouts – and I lost a lot of my baby weight, too – which was a great bonus. My body thanks you, Jillian Michaels! Note: You can also find the 30 Day Shred for free on the BeFit Youtube Channel should you not require doing the workouts in front of a device using a DVD player.
2. Black Mountain Products Resistance Bands ($29.99): I would love to own a large selection of hand weights one day, but cost and limited space is a factor right now. Instead, I found this awesome set of resistance bands for muscle building exercises. They’re lightweight and compact, perfect for small spaces and even to take with you when traveling if you wish! There are a ton of Youtube videos like this on resistance band workouts if you don’t know how to use them for a full body workout.
3. Valeo Neoprene 5 lbs hand weights ($21.07/pair): Although I have a set of resistance bands, I have two pairs of 3lbs and 5lbs hand weights (similar to the ones shown above) that are essential to some of my workout videos, and help me build and strengthen my muscles. And when my go-to 5 lbs weights are too light for a particular exercise, I’ve mastered holding both the 3lbs and 5 lbs weights in the same hand to equal 8lbs of weight in each hand to avoid buying the 8 lbs weights.
4. Couch to 5K ($1.99): This is a great app, especially for people like myself who don’t run – hence, the name “couch to 5k”. As advertised, it’s 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week for 9 weeks – with intervals of running and short walking breaks eventually leading up to running 5k in about 30 minutes. And of course, you can listen to your favorite tunes while running with the app. And at the cost of $1.99, it’s practically free!
5. Yoga with Adrienne on Youtube (Free): This channel is awesome. I love it so much because it has full length yoga videos in power yoga, prenatal yoga, relaxation yoga, yoga for lower back pain, beginners yoga – basically, yoga videos for everyone of all abilities and they range anywhere between 10 – 60 minutes.
6. My Fitness Pal App (Free): This app is life changing! You can track what you eat to help you meet your nutrient and calorie intake. In addition, track your workouts, your weight and inches lost. It completely revolutionized my eating habits by making me much more aware of the kinds of foods I was putting in my body, and the nutritional content of each food which in turn helped me make far better food choices. I really like to eat, so this app helps keep me on track and accountable – with the exception of vacations, eating out and eating while socializing with friends – a girl’s gotta indulge sometime, right?
7. 7-min work-out “Seven” with HIIT challenge app (Free): I LOVE this app! Why? Because (1) It’s the “best bang for your buck” in terms of working out – meaning, it’s the best full body workout that will yield the best results in the shortest amount of time. (2) I can do it while watching tv to make the time fly. (3) I can do it anywhere! You don’t need to lug around exercise DVD’s if you’re traveling – just use this app. (4) I can do it as many times as I want or have time for. I almost always do 4 rounds which equals to about 30 minutes. (5) You don’t need any fancy equipment except for a wall and a chair being that it’s mostly body weight exercises.
8. BeFiT on Youtube (Free): This channel is amazing! I love it because it has a plethora of professional HIIT, cardio, dance and yoga workout videos from fitness celebrities like Billy Blanks, Denise Austin and my personal favorite – Jillian Michaels. There are literally hundreds of videos to choose from with varying durations and videos that even target specific areas of your body. And of course, I love that you can essentially bring a workout class to the comfort and convenience of your own home – for free!
Well, there you have it. These are some of my favorite fitness tools that won’t break the bank! What are some of your favorite frugal or free fitness tools/apps/sites that you like to use?