Being a gym rat can sometimes leave you poorer than a church mouse (albeit a very buff one). Imagine that: a ripped church mouse doing chin ups on the organ stool and benching prayer cushions.
Anyway, I digress. For a lot of people reading this, university was a time of heavy drinking and careless eating. Sure, you might have put weight on, but you always had your weekly dose of rugby/football/hockey/tennis to keep things from spiralling out of control.
Now you’ve graduated, however, and the regular exercise isn’t there anymore. You find running on your own oppressive and boring and you don’t want to starve yourself.
You also have a horribly expensive flat and not enough money coming in to suit your cosmopolitan life and pay for gym membership.
A lot of people look at their finances and make a decision. Either they bite the bullet and join a gym or they let an unhealthy lifestyle consume them. You do not have to make this choice. Exercise is a vital component for physical and emotional wellbeing. It can be difficult to motivate yourself, without the support of a sport club or the gym, but it is doable – even for the couchiest of potatoes.
With this in mind, here are my four tips for motivating yourself to stay in shape on a budget:
- Try workout videos
There is a vast array of workout video content on the internet as well as on bargain bin DVDs. You will recognise names like Mr. Motivator and Jane Fonda but hundreds of fitness YouTubers have uploaded their own regimes onto the site. As well as being free, using these videos make exercise less daunting: since you can do them in the privacy of your home, you don’t have to head out in poor weather or worry about how you look. Mr. Motivator won’t judge, I promise.
- Learn a new skill
Remember those videos you literally just finished reading about? (If you don’t, you should seek help) Anyway, as well as the generic workout content, there is a plethora of free ‘how to’ videos on YouTube that aim to show beginners how to learn new and difficult skills. From Salsa dancing to beginners’ break dancing positions, it has never been easier to start learning for free. Learning something new is a great way of motivating yourself to keep at it because of the endorphin rush experienced when you develop a talent.
- Speed up your commute
This is a tip that works just as well for those living outside cities as it does for those living within. When I was living in Somerset, I worked at a golf club that was nine miles away from my house. Since I already had a bike, the simple answer was for me to cycle in on a daily basis. As a result, I didn’t sit in cross town traffic once during my eight month stint at the club. I also saved a total of £450 in fuel.
So get off the train and run/walk/cycle your way in. I don’t need to tell you how much you will save by doing this – we all know how much the public transport costs – and the daily exercise releases a fantastic rush of endorphins to pep you up for the day ahead. You will additionally feel beyond superior to your colleagues upon arrival.
- Cut the crap from your diet
An obvious one, I know, but it is amazing how many people believe that exercise entitles them to eat whatever they want. This rumour is so untrue I sometimes think it was started by Jeffrey Archer. Let me myth bust for a while. If you run at six miles an hour for one hour, you will burn an exciting 720 calories. If you then eat a Big Mac, fries and a McFlurry, you will absorb over 1,800 calories. The run you did can’t change that: it will just deduct what it can from the total, leaving you with a whopping 1,100 calorie intake. To conclude: eat when you’re hungry – not when you feel you’ve earned it – or else you will blow your budget on fatty foods and feel none of the benefits of your workout.
That’s it – go, go, go!