fitness saving

Frugal Fitness – How To Get Fit For A Few Dollars Or Free

If losing weight or getting healthier is on your to-do list or if you’re already on the path to fitness, you might just love some of these free or frugal fitness motivations. Because getting fit shouldn’t depend on your bank account.

Also check out: Frugal Fitness Gear

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My Favorite Running Apps

 

1. Couch To 5K

couch-to-5k-app

Price Tag:

$2.99

How It Works:

It’s designed to be a 9 week program with 3, 30 minute runs a week. Virtual coaches encourage you along the way and tell you when it’s time to walk and when it’s time to jog. The jogging intervals start out short, 1 minute and 1:30 at a time, then they get longer and longer as the weeks go by until you are running for 30 continuous minutes.

Features:

The app keeps track of your stats, signals when you hit personal records, links you directly to running and fitness articles and finds 5K races you can sign up for.

You can also pick your virtual coach from 5 choices. The Runicorn is my personal favorite.

What I Like About It:

How easy it is! I personally need someone to tell me what to do and when to do it and how to do it and.. well, you get the point. I like that this program is structured.

I also like that it’s gradual. They don’t expect you to start running a mile right away. You slowly and safely work up to it.

I started using this app in August and ran my first 5K in October. I’ve since done several 5Ks and I’ve even medaled in my age group (don’t ask).

Drawbacks:

You can link your music playlist to the app so you can control everything in one place. However this feature always glitched for me. It would shuffle music from my whole library instead of the playlist of my choice. So I just played music from my music app and switched back to the Couch to 5K app to start my running program.

2. 5K To 10K

5k-to-10k-app

Price Tag:

Free!

How It Works:

The 5K To 10K app builds on your success from Couch To 5K to prepare you to run longer. It uses the same general structure as Couch To 5K but instead of walking and jogging intervals, you’ll now be doing jogging, steady run and fast run intervals.

Features:

The app has the same tracking, logging, news and 5K sign up features as Couch to 5K.

Drawbacks:

There are fewer coach options. No more zombie or Runicorn.

What I Like About It:

I like this app for all the reasons I like the Couch To 5K app. This 9 week program is structured in the same way with the same gradual climb to the final goal.

I don’t know if I will actually ever run a 10K race, but I feel that this makes me a much better and faster 5K runner.

3. Runkeeper

runkeeper

Price Tag:

Free!

How It Works:

The Runkeeper app tracks your distance, time and pace while running. It’s perfect if you don’t need coaching and want to run at your own pace but track how you’re doing. There are audio cues every 5 minutes telling you how long you’ve been running, how far you’ve gone and your pace per mile. After the run it logs your performance and you can see stats about your distance, pace, calories burned, elevation climbed, etc.

Features:

In addition to the basic tracking, Runkeeper plugs you into a community of runners.

You can choose to take part in regular community challenges like the Global 5K. I’m currently in the ‘I Am A Runner’ challenge to do 5 runs by January 31. The reward for the challenge is the accomplishment and to be entered into a drawing for some swag.

You can also get rewards. For example, I opened the app to run the other day and it said I would get a free audio book download just for running for 25 minutes.

Drawbacks:

There are also structured training programs to help you reach a certain goal. For example, my next goal is to get my 5K time under 30 minutes. There is an entire program dedicated to that. You can also get training programs based on weight loss or just getting healthier.

But I put this in the drawback column because programs like this require you to upgrade to Runkeeper Go for $9.99 a month or $39.99 a year (of course the second option would be better).

 

*But even though you have to upgrade to get some of these features, the free app is everything you need to track your run. If it wasn’t I wouldn’t bother with it.

What I Like About It:

Once I left the couch behind and didn’t need as much coaching, I graduated to the Runkeeper app. The basic tracking is all I need and the occasional challenges are fun.

Other Recommendations

 

4. Charity Miles

charity-miles

Price Tag:

Free!

I found this free app in PCMag.com’s 25 Best Fitness Apps of 2017.

I haven’t tried it myself, but the premise sounds awesome. For every mile you run, you earn money for a charity of your choice.

Some other running apps mentioned in the article are:

RockMyRun, Runmeter and Runtastic PRO.

 

5. Map My Run

map-my-run

Price Tag:

Free!

Another running app suggested by my friend Jasmin, founder of Wellness By Jasmin, is Map My Run.

It has similar features to other apps such as GPS tracking and stats. It also advertises to help you find new running routes and factors in weather conditions.

 

 

 

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My Favorite Workout Videos

 

1. Fitness Blender

Fitness Blender.png

Price Tag:

Free!

How It Works:

Fitness Blender is run by a husband and wife team of personal trainers. The husband also has a degree in food and nutrition. Over the past 7 years they have built a brand that encourages smart, strategic workouts and clean eating.

They have more than 500 videos that target every body part in every way you can imagine. On their website, www.fitnessblender.com you can search their videos with filters for what you’re looking for. For example, you can search for a 20 minute video targeting abs with a high difficulty level or a 30 minute cardio program for beginners.

All of their videos are on YouTube so you can also search for them there. But I suggest going to their website first so you can use the search filter.

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Features:

There are also additional programs you can pay for that are still really affordable.

I’ve done the 8 week fat loss program for busy people ($14.99) and the 2 week fat loss program for busy people ($5.99). Both were awesome. And once you’ve bought a program you can do it over and over again without paying. You just plug the workouts into the calendar provided on their website.

Snip20170114_30.png

What I Like About It:

Pretty much everything. I like their personalities and their knowledge about fitness and nutrition.

I like the workouts because they’re challenging and successful. After completing the programs I purchased, I totally saw and felt a difference.

I also love the variety of the workouts. With 500 to choose from there will be something for you.

2. The 7 Minute Workout

7 Minute Workout.jpg

Price Tag:

Free!

How It Works:

Ever since this article was published in the NY Times in 2013 about The 7 Minute Workout, it’s been all the rage. It literally is a mini (and hard!) workout in just 7 minutes. It’s supposedly based on science to be max effective. Each exercise (seen in the image above) is done for 30 seconds with 10 seconds of rest in between.

Features:

All you really need is the image above to follow this workout. You can just screen grab it on your phone. But there are also apps that take you through the program and help you keep track of the time. I’ve checked out a few. I would recommend the J&J Official 7 Minute Workout.

The app icon looks like this:

7min_workout

What I Like About It:

I like that it actually works and it’s accessible for people who don’t have much time. Back when I was working full-time with a very early morning shift with 2 kids under 2 years old, I did this workout before bed each night. And after several weeks I felt slimmer and more toned.

It’s super easy to follow. And it’s really hard, but it’s doable. No matter how much a certain exercise hurts, you can do almost anything for just 30 seconds.

Drawbacks:

Although I think it helps, if you can carve out more than 7 minutes to be active each day, it’s probably better. But for moms who can’t hardly carve out time for a shower and a much-needed nap, 7 minutes is better than nothing.

Other Recommendations

 

3. YouTube

youtube

There are tons of workout videos on YouTube ranging from cardio and kickboxing to Pilates and yoga. Just type in a search term and you will find thousands. Here’s what I would look for to narrow down your search and find one that’s right for you:

1- It’s free

2- It’s suited to your skill level

3- It’s interesting and challenging enough to make you want to keep doing it (The personality of the trainer goes a long way. You can tell pretty quickly when you ‘click’ with someone you like.)

If you’re still feeling overwhelmed by the massive amount of choices, check out some ideas on Shape.com’s List of The 10 Best Workout Videos On YouTube and These 18 YouTube Channels Are All You Need To Get In Shape on Buzzfeed.com.

 

4. Facebook Live

facebook-live

Several fitness instructors have turned to Facebook to inspire people and many of them do Facebook Live workout sessions. It’s a good way to take classes with instructors you admire but live far away from. It’s also a way to hold yourself to a routine of working out at a certain day and time. It’s like taking a gym class without paying for it.. or having to find childcare.. or having to get out of your pajamas. You know, if your pajamas are comfortable enough for cardio. 🙂

My friend Jasmin also recommended Jeffrey Adams Fitness on Facebook.

To check out some other Facebook fitness options, take a look at Shape.com’s Best Free Workouts To Take Right Now On Facebook Live.

I would suggest using the same criteria to pick a Facebook fitness class as you do picking a YouTube fitness channel. Make sure:

1- It’s free

2- It’s suited to your skill level

3- It’s interesting and challenging enough to make you want to keep doing it

 

I’d love to know what other free or frugal fitness motivations you use. Let me know in the comments below.

Good Luck!

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64 comments

  1. Pingback: Becoming A Runner
  2. Great post and very usefull tips! I’ll definitely download one of those apps!
    If you would be so kind and take a look at my blog I’d appreciate that so much! It’s mostly dedicated to makeup, however, I’m a passionate cook as well and I’ve just published a recipe on healthy pancakes which are delicious and very nutritious as well! It’s a win-win! Thank you so much for your time, I enjoyed reading your blog! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Awesome write-up! Loved the depth of all the apps–although I am not a runner myself, I do occasionally use it to train, so I find a lot of these apps really neat! I’ll definitely have to try one on my next run (when the weather lets up)! Following your blog now as well! Pleasure to meet you!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. These are great tools to help get people moving and for free. Price many times is a huge barrier for people to get motivated. I used the RunKeeper app to help me get running. I was 340 pounds and hated to run. The app helped me track my workouts and motivate me to keep improving my times and distances. Now I’m 220 pounds and like you, trying to motivate people to improve their quality of life through exercise and nutrition.

    Liked by 2 people

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