Working Out on a Frugal Budget, and Staying Motivated!

If you’re anything like me, you come up with all kinds of reasons to argue with yourself about why you shouldn’t exercise, even when you know that you need to.  The most common reasons people don’t exercise are the cost of a gym membership, not having the time, no place for the kids to go, it’s a lot of hard work, and finally, the difficulty of learning to cook healthy meals.  After all, if you exercise, it doesn’t do a lot of good if you have a heart attack!

Here are some EASY ways to combat some of the most common obstacles!!

Cost of a gym membership
This one is a no-brainer.  If you’re living on a frugal budget, money matters.  The cost of a membership, especially when you’re starting out, can simply be avoided.  If you’re out of shape like I am, it’s best to start out slow in the first place, so you don’t overdo it.  There are MANY simple exercises that you can do at home.  I’ll go into more detail on this later in the blog!

No time?
Not having time to exercise or work out is no excuse.  Chances are, you’ll live a happier, longer life if you’re in shape in the first place.  Considering this, you don’t have time to NOT work out!  You’ll be amazed with the gains you can make with just a few minutes each day.

Child Care
Many gyms offer free child care as a membership benefit.  But, the more frugal option is to simply start at home!  My kids love to exercise with me.  They run together, race each other, do jumping jacks, sit-ups, push-ups, and so on.  They have a lot of fun with it!  Nothing like a little friendly competition while teaching your kids healthy habits!

Eating Healthier!
Often, when somebody decides to start living a healthier life, they go to the store and in lieu of the pre-packaged meals, they buy a bunch of fresh fruits, veggies and meats.  Sounds great!  But there’s a glaring problem with this in many cases.  When they get home, they don’t have a clue what to do with it!!  They end up spending way too much time looking up recipes and trying to learn how to cook healthier meals, and quickly get discouraged (as they eat their cheese covered, butter slathered broccoli!  Before they know it they realize they bought way too many fresh things at once that will undoubtedly go bad before they can use them.  This is a VERY easy way to get discouraged.

Just like the exercise, the solution is simple — Start small!  I recommend planning two or three healthy meals per week until you get comfortable with shopping for and preparing healthy meals from scratch. Plan them ahead, and make sure you have all of the ingredients on-hand. This will help you ease into a more comfortable pattern as you learn to make this awesome change.

Exercise is a lot of work!
If you’re out of shape, there’s no question that it’s a lot more challenging to start an exercise program.  Everything you do takes more work.  If you try to hit the ground running (no pun intended here…), you’ll end up so sore you don’t want to see the word “exercise” ever again!  The key is in setting the right goals.  You don’t want your first goal to see strength gains and weight losses.  You want your first goal to be something simple, like being able to do 5 pushups and 5 sit-ups!  For some of you, your first goal may be to work your way up to a single pushup – starting on your knees if you must.

By setting goals like this, you will start to attain them, and will feel good about your success!  Once you reach your first goal, maintain that same goal for a few days, and then set the next reasonable goal.  The sense of accomplishment will keep you motivated!
I have to reiterate:  S t a r t  S m a l l — I cannot stress that enough.  If you haven’t run in the past 15 years, don’t start today.  Walk first.  After you’re comfortable walking some distance, start mixing in a little power walking, or even some jogging.  Over time, these will become easier for you as you get into shape.  When they do, that is the time to go for a jog, or a run!

Here are some simple, free, home exercise ideas to start with:

Tailor these to fit your needs, and change them as you progress.  Keep in mind that you can do a LOT of exercise simply using your own body weight.  Those methods, although slightly more rigorous, are how most gymnasts train!

 Walk – Walking gets your metabolism up.  That’s the first step to feeling better, burning a few calories, and building endurance.  As you progress, you can add power walking, jogging, or running!

 Walk up and down the stairs – This builds on taking a walk.  Walking  up and down stairs works more muscle groups in your legs and lower back.  It also gets your metabolism up even higher.  As you progress, and if you feel adventurous, you can run up and down the stairs!

 Crunches or Sit-ups – Everybody knows what these are, but there are MANY people who don’t do them correctly!  Always make sure your hands are behind your head, and your knees up!!  Anything else falls short!  That being said, as you’re working your way into a workout routine, if you have trouble getting off the ground, you can certainly place your arms and hands alongside you until you are able to use the correct form!  Crunches and Sit-ups are a great workout for your core.

• Push-ups – Push-ups are one of the simplest, and best exercises for strengthening your arms and shoulders.  SO many people leave these out because they are difficult if you aren’t in shape.  Again, I stress – Start SLOW!  If you can’t do any pushups, don’t give up!!  Do a few on your knees.  Start there and work your way up to one pushup a day!  Do that for a week, and then work your way on to two, three, and so on!  Eventually, if you stick with the program, you will be amazed how easy these become.

• Triceps Dip – This is another GREAT workout for your arms and upper body.  This one is more difficult as a starter, but you’ll get there!  For a triceps dip, you simply support your upper body using your hands, behind you – on the front edge of a chair.  You assume the “sitting” position, but not in the chair, you will be in front of it, supporting yourself using your hands.  Slowly lower yourself toward the floor using only your arms – Then raise yourself back up, again using only your arms.  Repeat until you reach your goal!

• Jump Rope – This one can be challenging for even the fittest people!  I’m just simply not coordinated enough.  But – If you jumped rope as a kid, it should come back pretty quickly, whether you’re in shape or not!  This is another GREAT exercise to get your metabolism up in the morning!  This one is a lot of fun as the kids laugh at the amount of effort you put into trying to do this!

• Wall Squats – This one is another wonderful exercise to help strengthen your legs.  This is best to do in a carpeted area so you don’t slip.  Assume a sitting position with your back against a wall and hold it for a period of time (your goal).  You can perform several reps as it starts to get easier.  Use your legs to support you.  To be most effective, you need to make sure you lower yourself far enough that you’re in the same position as if you were sitting in a chair.  Again, if you can’t pull this one off, don’t lower yourself as far until you are able to!

• Wide Leg Squats – You’ve seen guys from the local football team doing squats in a gym, and are probably left with the feeling that you will NEVER do one of those!  Wide Leg Squats work most of the same muscle groups, but only use your own body weight.  Stand with your legs spread apart so your feet are farther apart than the width of your shoulders.  Slowly squat as low as you can, and slowly raise back up.  Keep your feet apart and do these slow for the most effective workout.  If you need help on this one, start with your feet closer together and work your way out an inch or two each week!  Once you’re proficient, carry something heavy while you do this exercise.

• Shoulder Raises – Ideally, you would perform this with a weight in each hand, but substitute whatever you have handy.  Stand straight up, arms by your side, with a weighted object in each hand.  Slowly raise your arms until they are straight out in front of you, parallel to the ground.  Slowly lower them back down to your side.  Repeat!!  Make sure you don’t bend your elbows!  If you need to, you can start this exercise without the addition of weights.

I hope that this blog helps encourage you by showing you how simply you can start a workout routine, even if it’s small.  Anything is better than nothing!!  Almost everybody gets stuck on wanting to see results yesterday.  Remember – increasing what you are able to do is the most important result to start with.

As we all get older, and trust me, we all do, everything you do will slowly get more difficult.  Having extra weight to haul around amplifies the difficulty and will catch up with you before you realize it.  Using these simple ideas, you can meet your goals by spending only a few minutes each day, at your own leisure, building endurance, strength, and eventually dropping the fat, all while feeling great about it!  And the best part – It doesn’t cost a time!  This is ideal for working out on a small budget!

If you like this blog, please post a comment!


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5 Responses to Working Out on a Frugal Budget, and Staying Motivated!

  1. Pat says:

    Excellent contribution, great webpage design and style, keep up the great work

  2. Randall says:

    hi there, fantastic blog page, and a decent understand! 1 for my bookmarks.

  3. workerbee says:

    We’ve had a bow-flex for 9 years, that we bought for less than half-price when it was only 1 year old. My husband has used it faithfully 3X a week since we got it. We used to go to the gym and paid a lot to do so every month. We like the bowflex better than the gym equipment and it’s still in perfect shape after 9 years of use. My husband is in great shape too!! Also, we just saw an ad on Craig’s List yesterday for a bowflex in almost new condition for $150.00. Buy someone else’s “clothes-hanger” for a great price.

  4. workerbee says:

    If you have back pain and weakness, go to the Mayo Clinic website and click on core-strengthening exercises. You don’t need any equipment at all to do these exercises and they are helping me to have a stronger back and less pain.

  5. workerbee says:

    New, inexpensive idea for me that’s working. I bought a 10.00 Jillian Michaels dvd at Wal mart called 30 day Shed. I work out with it every morning. I have a personal trainer in my livingroom whenever I want one, and all I need is the dvd, and a light pair of weights. I don’t have to look presentable, get in my car, use gas and time to go to a gym, and pay a membership. There are 3 levels of workout on the dvd and I’ll be lucky to get to the 2nd level by the end of the year, so it’ll last a long time!! :)

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