11 Ways to Save Money on Exercise: Fitness Friday

If you’re like most people, you may have resolved to hit the gym regularly but can overwhelmed by the cost of it all. Instead of giving up, follow these 11 ways how to save money on exercise.

1. Dress for Success
It helps to get excited about apparel when you hit the gym, so retire that holy tee shirt and pair of baggy sweatpants in favor of something more fitted. You can find name-brand workout clothing for less at discount retailers like TJMaxx. Setting rewards for  mini accomplishments will help you stay motivated.

2. Use Coupons for Gear
If sticking to your resolution requires working out at home, the right gear will also motivate you. Retailers are mindful of your resolution and are currently offering deals and promotions. For easy access to in-store savings, download the Coupon Sherpa mobile app for deals to stores like Dick’’s Sporting Goods where you can save up to $40 off in weights and accessories.

3. Redeem Holiday Rewards
Don’t forget to redeem rewards earned through loyalty programs or credit cards which can offset the total cost of your new equipment. For instance, Sears & Kmart Shop Your Way members may have earned up to 10 points for every dollar spent during the holidays. Use those points before they expire on January 31 toward fitness gear already on sale to get more bang for your workout buck!

4. Shop Used Equipment
For at-home fitness, you can’’t beat a good treadmill, elliptical or stationary bike. However, this equipment can cost you a small fortune when purchased new. Keep your eyes peeled at garage sales or peruse local listings on Craigslist for used alternatives.

5. Visit Gyms for Equipment
Many people visit gyms to inquire about memberships and amenities, but you can also ask the facility manager if he or she has any old equipment for sale. Health clubs that have recently upgraded their equipment will have excess inventory and may be able to sell you quality exercise machines, dumbbells and other gear for cheap.

6. Repurpose

It would be nice to kick off the new year with shiny-new dumbbells, resistance bands and medicine balls, but loading up on all this gear will seriously derail your other New Year’’s resolution to spend less. Luckily, several household items represent great substitutes for fitness gear, like canned goods as light weights or pantyhose as a resistance band. You can also use a chair to deepen such strength-building moves as incline lunges, push-ups and tricep dips.

7. Stream Videos

Workout DVDs represent a great way to mix up your fitness regimen, but they’re so 90s! These days, you can stream workout videos online at The Daily Hiit or subscribe to a YouTube channel that features preferred workout styles. From yoga to dance to high-intensity training, you can find daily and weekly workouts online for free or far less than you’d pay for a gym membership.

8. Use Your Body Weight
Though gear and equipment can enhance your routine, all you need to get a good workout is your own body weight. Planks, squats, lunges, burpees, push ups and mountain climbers are hard enough without added weight.

9. Shop Warehouse Clubs
Big-box stores and fitness retailers aren’’t your only options when shopping for new equipment. Warehouse club stores also offer equipment like stationary bikes, treadmills, all-in-one gym systems and heart-rate monitors at a lower cost than you can find in regular retail.

10. Be a Kid
If you have children, you likely envy their endless energy and enthusiastic approach to physical activity. Instead of sitting on the sidelines while they run around, join them on the playground by practicing pull-ups on the monkey bars or using your core to get higher on the swings. Dust off your mountain bike, tennis rackets or baseball bat and gloves, and turn fitness into fun again.

11. Get It for Free
They say the best things in life are free, and it is possible to get your fitness equipment without paying a dime.FreeCycle.org is an online community that connects locals looking to unload their clutter at no cost. Also, don’t be afraid to ask a friend or family member if you can borrow a piece of exercise gear you know he or she isn’t currently using.

 

Thanks to Andrea Woroch for information on this post. She is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles.

Photos courtesy of  Kinoli Inc.

7 Racing Strategies for a Great Run: Fitness Friday

Most runners run races without giving much thought except about their entry fees, t-shirt and some fun. Running expert and 2011 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, Dr. Jason Karp, says “When you develop and execute your race plan, you’ll achieve your potential and run better races.” He suggests these 7 racing strategies to improve yourself when it comes to running a race.

Strategy 1: Own the Process

Racing isn’t something that just happens. Know when to hold back and when to take control of certain moments in the race. Become an integral part of the racing process and take responsibility for your thoughts and actions, before, during, and after the race.

Strategy 2: Visualize your race before it happens. 

Visualizing your race before you run it allows you to experience it beforehand, making the experience familiar and thus making you less nervous.  If the experience is familiar, you will feel more comfortable.  Practice visualizing your race each day for a few days before it, seeing the whole experience. Then, when it’s time for your race, you will have already run it. 

Strategy 3: Know what pace you can sustain in the race. 

Learn from your workouts and know going into the race what pace you can expect to sustain.

Strategy 4: Have specific, meaningful goals in mind for your race.  

By having specific goals for your races, it allows you to get away from thinking about the race as a whole, which can be overwhelming.  It also allows for something positive to be taken from each race, even if the overall outcome is disappointing.  Have one or two goals for each race that are within your control.

Strategy 5: Control your nerves at the starting line. 

Every runner gets nervous before a race.  That’s perfectly normal.  The important thing is to not let your nervousness get the better of you and prevent you from running a winning race. 

Strategy 6: Keep changing the pace. 

While the best way to run your fastest possible time in a race is to run as even splits as possible, sometimes whom you beat and the place in which you finish matters more than the time on the clock.  In those races, a great winning racing strategy is to keep changing the pace on your opponent, in effect turning the race into a very hard fartlek.

Strategy 7: Become your own hero.

There is a moment in every race when it starts to feel uncomfortable.  While it’s a natural human tendency to back off from physical discomfort for self-preservation, one of the things that makes runners unique is their penchant for seeking it out.  It is in that moment in the race that you learn about yourself and what you are willing to do to meet your goal.  You want to walk away from your race feeling like you gave it everything you had.  You want to be proud of yourself.  Racing gives you the opportunity to become someone better than you currently are.