In a perfect world, none of us would fret about money and we would be able to do anything we want. Travel, shop, eat, get a massage, entertain ourselves and keep ourselves in shape without worrying about going to work. While some of us have a taste of that lifestyle, the majority of us are shackled by the almighty dollar and are more conscious about how we spend our money. Getting and staying in shape, regardless of the level you are aiming to achieve does not have to break the bank. I’d like to share a few ideas that have worked for my friend and I and perhaps you can use a few of them yourself. The objective is to be healthy. That should not be a lofty goal out of reach of anyone’s budget.
A good friend of mine works for a regional hospital. I was baffled to learn that even the hospital doesn’t offer wellness programs or discounts for healthy living. This is something you can fight for where you work and try to get the company to kick in a little bit of money towards your health. The short-term costs for the company will be more than rewarded by long-term gains in healthy employees. If you are healthy, you don’t miss work and you don’t make others sick when you come to work feeling under the weather. While this is a little bit out of your direct control, it might still be worth a conversation with the HR folks.
Consider working (part-time) at a place that could provide you these benefits directly. A part-time job at a gym or at a business that has a gym could get you access to the facility as well as the classes at a reduced rate or even free. Yes, you will be sacrificing your time, but the rewards might be worth it. Only you can decide that.
Educate yourself. This is a biggie and covers a ton of areas. One of the ways you can be more educated (and save money) is by learning about portion sizes. It is no secret that we are over-fed here in the US. If you learn more about how much food you “need”, you may be able to adjust your shopping (and cooking) habits to produce less waste and save some money. This is not a direct way to save money, but in the long run, it will pay off.
While not a direct way to save money, working out with friends is a fantastic way to keep the process moving forward. Even if it is a weekly walk/jog/run/bike/ski/etc. it will help keep you motivated and provide a level of accountability that is typically reserved for a personal trainer. Get a buddy on board and keep each other in the game!
Take advantage of the information that is available for free. Make no mistake, there is a lot of garbage information out there, but you’re smart! You can decipher the good from the bad. There are countless trainers and experts on social media who share daily tips and motivations (like this awesome blog!) as well as produce great weekly or monthly newsletters. One of your excuses for not staying in shape can NOT be that you don’t have the information. Get online and start poking around. Sign up for a bunch of stuff at first and then filter through it. I highly recommend setting up a separate email account (gmail/hotmail/etc.) and using THAT as your contact information.
Learning about your own body and educating yourself about different exercises, cooking ideas and other tips can all be helpful in attaining and maintaining your health. The information is out there, we just need to go and grab it.