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By Mandy Rothweiler

Tips to fitness on a budget and time limit

One of the biggest issues for individuals and families today is money. Another one is time. None of us have enough money or time for anything.

Working out is one of the top things I hear people saying they cannot afford or make time for. The gym is too expensive. A personal trainer is out of the question. Proper equipment is too costly and takes up too much space.

Well, I am a big believer in there being no excuses when it comes to regular exercise. Being on a low budget myself, as well as raising two little ones, I know for a fact that there are ways to work around the wallet and the time that we have. You just have to re-evaluate your priorities and get creative.

I have laid out three tips below on ways to work in exercise to your day at almost no cost and with very little time taken up.

1. You do not need equipment to get a good workout

There are plenty of body weight exercises out there that utilize every muscle you can think of. Here are some examples for some of the primary muscle groups.

  • Chest – Pushups are perfect for the chest. In my opinion, it is really the best chest exercise. As a bonus, you can even add triceps in there by holding your elbows closer to your sides.
  • Triceps – Speaking of triceps, a good one to do for concentration on the triceps is tricep dips. You do these by placing your hands behind you about shoulder-width apart on a secure surface. Then, you pulse down to the floor with a slight bend in your elbows. Here is a good place to learn how to do tricep dips.
  • Glutes/legs – There are endless choices here. My personal favorite is squats. You several types of squats, several types of lunges (side, walking, reverse, etc.), and cardio moves such as high knees, butt kickers, and so forth. Here is a huge list with videos of 55 different leg exercises that use body weight.
  • Abs/core – This list is endless, too. You can do so many different variations of crunches. You also have leg raises, planks and so forth. The key to getting the most out of your abs is to hold in your core tight. This includes your abs, your butt, and keeping your back straight. Here is a list of some great core exercises.

These are just a few of the many body weight possibilities.

2. Your workouts do not have to be long

One of my sayings is, “Something is better than nothing.” You always have a spot throughout your day that you can throw something in. Here are some recommendations based on two types of exercise: cardio and strength.

  • Cardio – Cardio is any exercise that gets your heart pumping. It trains your heart as well as your lungs. The average recommendation for how much cardio to do per week is two and a half hours. You could do 30 minutes a day, five days a week. This could be jogging, biking, walking, sports, or even a workout video. If you do not have 30 minutes a day, spread it out.

    For example, say you work a 9 to 5 desk job. You can do a quick 10-minute workout before you shower just with some jumping jacks, jogging in place, high knees, and the like. Then, two times throughout the day at work when you get breaks, you can do five minutes each time. At the end of your day, you can do another quick 10 minutes. You can spread it out even more than that if you have to. Just do some jumping jacks as you think of it.

  • Strength – While losing fat is good, you do not want to lose your muscle with it. A general guideline to follow is to work each muscle group 3 times a week, giving about a 48-hour rest for each one before you work it out again. An easy way to do this is to build your own full body workout and plan it in to three days out of the week.

    There are no real guidelines on time. Just do according to what your level of fitness is. If you do not have much time, add less reps but more weight. Make it more intense. If you do not have any weights, look up body weight exercises! You can also use water bottles of all sizes, or even old milk jugs. Just fill them up. Here is a good resource on building your own weight training routine in a simple manner.

3. You do not have to spend a fortune to get a good workout

A gym would be nice. A personal trainer would be amazing. A workout machine plus a treadmill would be perfect.

We all would probably love to have these things. Some of us already might, but not everyone can afford the luxury when they need it, no matter how valuable it is to them. But, if the mindset is right and a person is determined to get in better shape, variations and modifications can be done. Below I have listed alternatives to each category.

  • Gym – You can work your way slowly toward building your own gym at home. My husband and I have been doing so in our garage. As we have figured out our own routines, we have noted what equipment we thought we would benefit from and gotten it as we can. We do not have any fancy machines. We have a bunch of free weights, a couple bars, hand weights and so forth. We have also improvised in using chairs and filling up jugs and water bottles.
  • Personal trainer – Have you seen all of the different YouTube videos out there? They may not be able to cater to your specific needs, but if you do your research on who is good and what you can physically do, videos are a great resource for all sorts of different workouts. I personally love Samantha Clayton. She gives good advice on form and has tips for short workouts.
  • Cardio equipment – I will not lie. I would personally love to have a treadmill. I am a runner and love a good jog. I cannot always work one in when I would like to. However, there still is nothing like an outdoor jog, or even a walk, in the fresh air. Weather does get in the way sometimes unfortunately, but where there is a will, there is a way. While jogging is my favorite form of cardio, there are still plenty of cardio workouts to be found through Pinterest, YouTube, and just searching the web.

This day and age, money and time cannot be an excuse not to be active in some way. Every little bit helps, and every little bit counts. You just have to have the determination to get it done.

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