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10 tips to get in shape without the gym

Did you resolve to get in shape this year, but can't afford a pricey gym membership? These tips can help you reach your fitness goals.

By MSN Money Partner Jan 16, 2014 12:37PM

This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Money Talks News. 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyDid you resolve to get fit in the new year? Not a bad idea at all, but your wallet may be hindering you from doing so.

The good news is that there are alternatives to high-end fitness centers to help you get in shape while spending little or no money.

1. Learn some exercises

Isometric exercises are strength-training activities that you can do sitting at your desk or standing in a hallway. There are lots of free resources online if you don't want to spend money to consult with a professional trainer.

Or you may decide you're more interested in walking or jogging or riding your bicycle. Check out the community pool. If you realize that you enjoy swimming on a regular basis after a week or two of trips to the pool, you may find that the annual membership is amazingly affordable.

Remember to start slowly and, particularly if you have health issues, to review your plans with your physician before you start.

2. Find a fitness buddy

Once you develop a workout plan that fits your needs, find a fitness buddy you can train with to make the experience more pleasurable. That person can also serve as your accountability partner.

3. Use technology to help track your progress

Mobile fitness and nutrition apps are available to, for instance, track the calories you consume and burn and the distance you've walked or run. Need help choosing one? Check out this comprehensive list from PC Magazine.

Overweight © Image Source, Getty Images4. Skip the fancy stuff

Do you really need the latest, most stylish workout clothes, when sweats and a T-shirt will do just fine? However, if you're incorporating running into your DIY workout, make sure you don't skimp on the shoes.

5. Connect with others in your area

Working out is usually more fun when others are on board with you. No need to visit a high-end fitness center to connect with others looking to get physically fit. Check your local community center, library or shopping mall to see if they offer classes or sponsor walking groups.

The parks and recreation center near me offers Zumba courses twice a week for only $3 a pop, which beats the traditional gym workout and adds a creative twist.

6. Find a track

If the parks in your area do not have tracks, check to see if the local schools have tracks that are open to the public. ISport can help you find an outdoor or indoor track near you.

7. Create a fitness challenge

Gather a group of your pals to compete against in your very own boot camp. Not only will you have fun trying a variety of activities, but you’ll be doing so with friends who will push you to the next level. You can make things a little more competitive by having all the participants pitch in to purchase small prizes that will be distributed to the winners.

8. Commit to run a race or marathon

Short races, marathons and obstacle courses require endurance training for an extended period of time, and you may be more inclined to maintain a healthy lifestyle when it's all said and done.

Here in Florida, we have the 5K Zombie Run, where runners are chased down by zombies as motivation to finish the race. There are plenty of online sources to find races in your area, such as, Runner's World's race finder, and

9. Clean house

Need to do a little cleaning around the house? Turn up the speakers and get to work. Cleaning the house kills two birds with one stone: You can burn calories while tidying the place up. According to the CalorieLab, a 150-pound person can burn 102 calories in an hour of light cleaning, and much more with a moderate or vigorous effort.

10. Pop in a workout DVD

I must admit that I used to be a workout DVD junkie. It all started years ago during college when my school schedule began to take over my life. I had five courses in one semester, and a part-time job on the side.

There simply wasn't enough time in a day to visit the gym, so I headed to Target, picked up a workout DVD and embarked on my journey to get fit. I lucked out the first time around and found a fitness guru I absolutely loved, so I purchased the entire collection on Amazon for $22.

Do you have any other ideas to get fit without visiting the gym?

More on Money Talks News:

Jan 16, 2014 2:45PM

I just stick with the basic stuff: sit-ups,push-ups. It's also the little things too like parking in the back of the lot; using the stairs opposed to the elevator; etc.  We also have a pretty decent neighborhood where i can jog around the block early in the morning. All this works for me.  


We have a YMCA 5 minutes from my house but a membership is so damn expensive.


Jan 16, 2014 1:12PM
I've found that races are better motivation for me to workout than a gym membership.  It gives you a set date with a very specific goal.  And when you sign up with friends, you get accountability too.
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