Fitness culture in today’s world is very much filled with dangerous habits, unattainable body standards, and pressure to execute your fitness in a certain way for it to be legitimate. Unfortunately, as with many things, these standards tend to be set by those who have a lot of time and money to devote to their fitness– but not everyone has that. Here are a few ways you can stay fit without breaking the bank.
Fitness is not just about exercise– your diet is just as important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Wholesale stores like Costco or Sam’s Club are your best friend when it comes to eating well. You can buy relatively cheap foods in bulk and store them in your freezer for meal prep. Using free services like MyFitnessPal can help you monitor not only your caloric intake but also what nutrients are in your food. Set aside 30 minutes to an hour over the weekend to prepare meals for your week. Experiment with recipes to find what works for you– eating healthy doesn’t have to mean you can’t enjoy your food!
If you don’t know where to start with exercise and can’t afford a personal trainer, there are a lot of online resources where you can find workout programs. My personal favorite websites are DAREBEE, a fitness resource with all kinds of programs and meal plans that fit all kinds of ways of life, and Livestrong, a lifestyle foundation with fitness tips, diet tips, and general advice on how to live well. I would advise against using social media sites like Pinterest and Tumblr, because while users have good intentions, there is a plethora of misinformation in those communities. Personal blogs can carry similar issues, although if you can find one run by someone whose profession deals with fitness they can be useful.
A gym membership is not a necessary element in your fitness. Any room in your home where you have the space to move freely can be a place to work out. Calisthenics, or bodyweight exercises, are super useful if you can’t afford equipment or have no place to keep it because they combine strength training with cardio with either no equipment or the use of equipment that can easily be substituted with around the house items. However, if you can, buying basic equipment like dumbells or a pull-up bar can add another level to your workout.
Remember: Fitness looks different on everyone. Someone else’s diet won’t necessarily work for you, just as yours won’t necessarily work for them.
Exercise should be a celebration of what your body can do, not a competition with people online who only look like their pictures in their pictures.
Maintaining fitness should not feel like a job, but an enjoyable part of your routine. Don’t try to push yourself too far and allow yourself rest days to get the best results.
Photo: Becca Matimba