The only thing worse than not using the gym membership you signed up for in January? Paying steep monthly fees for the rest of 2013 while it remains unused.
So before you shell out any more unnecessary cash, cut your losses and bring your workout closer to home (meaning, in it). No matter how small a space or budget, it’s easier than you think to build an effective gym without breaking the bank.
Here are five tips to becoming a healthier homebody – and for shrinking your waistline, not your wallet.
- Go weightless. These aren't your father’s push-ups and sit-ups; today’s body weight exercises are high-performance maneuvers designed for building and maintaining muscle strength and endurance, along with interval training. Don’t believe me? Check out this video and tell me that’s not an intense workout!
- Think DIY. Function often trumps form when it comes to gym gear, so before you buy it, try making it on the cheap. Use hot water bottles under your feet in place of a pricey Bosu balance trainer, tap into your woodworking skills to build your own plyo boxes, and make medicine balls from old basketballs, a drill or awl and some sand, for example.
- Buy secondhand. Wait a few more weeks, and plenty of New Year’s resolutionists will be hawking their (barely used) exercise equipment on Craigslist after getting derailed. But don’t stop there; visit stores such as Play It Again Sports to snag a deal on pre-owned gear, scout your local gym for used equipment sales after yearly upgrades or ask for discounts on floor models at retailers.
- Press play. There’s an app for that – or a video game, a gadget, a DVD, etc. Whether it’s tracking your calories burned throughout the day with Fitbit, turning your smartphone into you own personal trainer with RunKeeper or popping in a video from home fitness giant Beachbody, harness technology to keep you healthy and active throughout the day, not just in the confines of a gym.
- Embrace co-op. Finally, if your motivation comes in the form of group fitness, consider creating a co-op gym space with relatives, friends or neighbors. Split the cost of equipment among the group (either by machine or overall, depending on how your crew wants to divvy it up), and store everything at one home where the group can congregate for workouts.