Ok, so I used to be a gym snob. I thought that if you weren’t handed a fluffy towel with a polite smile whilst entering a slick, immaculate interior…then my workout just wasn’t worth the effort. I’ve had my fair share of eye-wateringly expensive gym memberships with contracts that commit way beyond your hip joints will ever allow. I’ve been a member where wheatgrass smoothies were on tap, Adonis-like figures offered to mop your brow and fitness classes resembled a model agency casting.
Now however, I’m a student and I’m broke. I rely on ‘home workouts’ (more of that later) alongside my usual running and a super-cheap membership to easyGym. Yes, it’s a ‘Stelios special’, with orange walls and a distinctly budget feel to it. But it has everything you need: cardio equipment, weights, studio classes and even personal training advice should you need it. I train with the other Iron Maidens here and to be fair, we get the job DONE.
If you’re sticking to a serious budget and wanting to increase your fitness, my first thought is always; RUN. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s buildable, it’s THERE. Nothing is stopping you and it’s the most natural form of exercise I can think of! Get a decent pair of trainers, some lightweight clothes and you’re sorted. Start slowly, be realistic and enjoy! Running tends to show results quicker than any other form of exercise In terms of stamina and endurance, just remember to start off slowly (walk-run-walk) and increase your mileage gradually (no more than 10% per week).
If running isn’t your thing, or you want to supplement it, then working out at home is another free option. There are millions of YouTube videos dedicated to fitness, but to be honest, most of them are very poor. I highly recommend one channel: Fitness Blender. They focus on HIIT (hi intensity interval training) and also have dozens of well informed, euipment-free, body weight training videos to build strength and endurance. The videos are simple, clear, free of annoying music/dodgy skin shots and they frequently upload.
Be creative! Building fitness or making changes to your body involves regularly mixing things up and trying new techniques. Take inspiration from some CrossFit style workouts (see YouTube) and use objects or items around you or whilst you are out running to challenge new muscle groups and keep your body guessing. Next time you spot those monkey bars in your local park, have a go! Keep things interesting and use your imagination (within reason…no advanced parkour just yet).
So, how do you stay fit for free? What tips do you have to keep things fun and interesting for those stuck in a rut??