Tips for getting fit with no money
When you're broke, you're broke. There's a sorts of reasons why we can find ourselves in this situation, but that's for someone else's blog. Unfortunately, the fitness/health industry has done a masterful job at making it seem like you'll need a lot of money to get control of your health. It's simply not true!
Yeah, of course things are easier when you can drop hundreds a month on a personal trainer or health coach, prepared meals or a high end gym pass. But the reality is that not only can you achieve the same end result without dropping all that cash- in some cases, you'll actually be better off.
If you can't spend any money, you also can't get ripped off or sidetracked by all the snakes in the fitness industry looking to screw you. Useless supplements, overpriced fitness programs or $300 visits to naturopaths won't be distracting you from the only things most of us need to get fit- hard work, dedication and a positive attitude. So consider yourself blessed to be broke! LOL!
Diet on a budget
The kitchen is the toughest part. Undoubtedly, having money will help you buy products that are higher quality or healthy meals that are already prepped. But the silver lining again is that you won't get caught up with stuff like buying overpriced organic food that might not even be helping you or doing stuff like juice cleanses that definitely don't help you. You'll be focused on the simple reality of success in the kitchen- making sensible decisions and just focusing on calories in/out. This is not an exhaustive list, but a good start if you're new to this stuff.
- Protein is not as expensive as you think, it just costs a lot if all you buy is steak and boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Focus on the "big 4" of cheap, available protein- tuna, peanut butter, eggs and beans. These will provide you with loads of protein and also each have elements that are going to keep you healthy and strong on the cheap. Fiber, amino acids, omega 3's and virtually everything else you need will be no problem if you're regularly consuming these 4 things.
- Get to know your butcher and always be on the lookout for deals. Learn the per kilo/per pound price of things like chicken thighs/drums, ground beef etc and when you see a smoking deal, pounce on it (out of chicken, beef and pork, one seems to always be on sale). Most grocery stores also have discounted options for stuff that only has a day or two left; there's absolutely nothing wrong with it if you're cooking it that night. I'm usually able to get enough ground beef/pork for a 2 pound meatloaf for around $7 CDN!
- Be careful of getting caught up in the low carb craze. I'm not suggesting you start living off dry pasta, but things like that are an incredibly cheap source of calories. Things can quickly get expensive when you're on a heavy protein diet and there's nothing wrong with getting anywhere from 25-40% of your calories from carbs. The big one here is oatmeal, super cheap and really good for you. Focus on high quality oatmeal as well as cheap whole grain bread and pasta. Quite easy to make meal with pasta or oatmeal that has a food cost around $1.
- You have to learn to cook if you don't already. You don't need to be Gordon Ramsay, but some basic cooking skills are a must in order to make it work. If you can't cook, you have to buy prepared and prepared food is either unhealthy or expensive. Youtube is fantastic for this, get on there and start learning how to cook some of your favourite stuff or the healthy meals you've been paying for.
- There's nothing wrong with frozen fruit vegetables. Nutritionally speaking, the difference between fresh and frozen is insignificant. If you're trying to meet your produce needs fresh, it's going to get expensive, especially for stuff that's out of season. Frozen stuff tends to be cut in advance as well, so you'll also save some time. If you see a fantastic deal on fresh stuff, load up and freeze it yourself!
Fitness on a budget
Fitness is a bit easier. Money is a huge bonus if you can just hire an effective personal trainer or health coach to design and monitor everything, but like with food, not having money will actually help you avoid some of the fitness garbage out there.
- If we're just talking about losing weight, running is your friend. Few things will burn more calories and of course, running is free to everyone. Start running!
- If you're not concerned with getting "big", you can basically design workouts endlessly that only use your own body weight. Carve out a small space in your bedroom or living room and get started! Go to Youtube, look for bodyweight workouts and you'll get thousands of hits. My favourite, most trusted resource for this type of stuff is Jeff Cavaliere, aka Athlean-X. Check him out!
- If you can come up with around $60 a month and live in a decent sized city, there's usually a YMCA or community centre that offers excellent value for the money. They often have things like group classes free to members or things like swimming pools and basketball courts that open up all sorts of interesting fitness options.
- There are all sorts of incredible fitness channels on Youtube. Search around and see if you can find one that fits your needs and they can serve as a great substitute when you can't afford a gym pass or a trainer. Popsugar fitness is a popular example.
- Don't buy supplements. You probably can't afford them anyways, which might be a good thing. You'll need to focus on getting everything you need from food, which you'll learn is much easier than you thought. Hit every category from the basic government food guides on a daily basis and you'll be fine.
Don't let money be another excuse
Don't get psyched out and think you can't get healthy and strong without money. The health and wellness industry has done a great job of convincing us otherwise; the irony is that humans were actually less obese before all these people showed up!
And let's face it- when we're out of shape and unmotivated, we're coming up with all sorts of excuses to stay on the sidelines. On some level, most people know they don't need any money to get started and just use it as yet another self imposed roadblock.
Like most things in life, money can help with health and fitness, but we can achieve great things without it!
Feel great again with Cooper Health Coaching!
Cooper Health Coaching is a personal training and health coaching service located in Vancouver, B.C. providing in-person and online coaching for clients locally and across North America. Founder Geoff Cooper is certified as both a Health Coach and Personal Trainer through the American Council on Exercise (ACE). To get in touch, click here.