7 Fun & Frugal Ways to Get Fit

7 fun and frugal ways to get fit

While I’m not saying that I’m looking for a total body transformation or anything…

I’ve decided to tackle my fitness woes without a fancy gym membership, expensive new gear or spendy fitness class passes.

Plus, there are too many articles out there that recommend things I would never actually do to get-fit-for-less.

So here are 7 actual ways I’m going to get back into my fitness routine without blowing the bank.

Intro Class Passes and Trial Memberships

Most fitness studios and gyms these days will have a free or cheap way for you to try out their services, usually in the form of a steeply discounted:

  • limited time membership, or
  • unlimited access pass.

These offers will range from a one-time free class, to a 3-day free membership, to a month-long, unlimited access pass for anywhere from $20 to $50.

Take a look at what’s available in your area, and make a list of all the trial offers and welcome packages that you’d be interested in trying. Then, make a plan of when and how you’re going to make the most of them.

Because sure, $50 for a month-long pass might be a great deal if it’s usually $200 for a month of access, but it’s only a great deal if you actually… you know… use it.

The one thing to watch out for is the inevitable sales pitch that will happen at some point during your trial or welcome package.

It makes sense, since the whole point for the business is for these intro deals to attract new full-price memberships…

But if it’s not in the budget for you right now, stay strong!

Related: Money Deals & Tools

Youtube Videos

You can learn anything on Youtube these days.

From how to change a light switch in your new apartment (which is a great and frugal way to update your new rental, by the way) to how to get fit using only a jump rope.

You can find fitness videos that lead you through everything from how to do a proper squat, to full yoga videos, all for free.

Sure, the instructor might make a pitch for their paid offerings at some point…

But the workout you’re getting for free is usually going to be pretty great, especially if you haven’t been doing a lot of training already.

Body weight exercises are no joke.


This is where most people would put in “just start running”.

But as someone who has more than her fair share of running injuries, I would never recommend starting to run without at least a pair of decent running shoes – which will set you back well over $100 for most reputable brands.

Instead, hop on your trusty old bike, and use it to get around.

If you’re within a reasonable (and safe) bike commute to work, commit to biking instead of your usual mode of transportation. And if work commuting is out…

Commit to biking to get your groceries, or to visit friends.

Adding a bit of biking to your routine is a great, low-impact way to get your heart rate up.

Related: 6 Alternatives to Owning a Car


If you’d prefer something that requires even less gear than biking – because it’s true, biking does require, at minimum, a bike – then hiking might just be the ticket.

It gets you outside, gets your heart rate up, and it’s lower impact than running.

So as long as your shoes are in relatively good shape, and you don’t head out wearing flip flops, you should be fine.

Grab a friend and commit to scoping out some of the hiking and walking trails in your area. I guarantee you that there are some hidden gems within a reasonable distance of you, no matter where you live.

To find them, try doing a quick search for “scenic hikes near [your-city-here]”.

Once you’ve got a list, get them in your calendar – and get out there.

Pro tip: You can get great, inexpensive trail mixes at Bulk Barn to fuel your hikes...Or in-season fruits or veggies are also great snack alternatives.

Armed with a small snack and a water bottle, you’re set.


Make walking a more regular part of your routine.

It’s lower impact than running, requires no equipment (you could probably walk in flip flops if that’s your thing) and bonus:

You’re likely not breathing too hard to carry on a conversation while you’re at it.

Adding a walk to your routine is a great way to burn calories and spend a bit more time outside. So pick a walk and get out there.

It could be anything from walking to get your groceries, to taking the stairs at work, to an evening stroll around the neighbourhood with a friend, a partner, or your favourite 4-legged friend.

Free Fitness Apps

If you want to bump up the calorie burn, a great way to do it is by adding strength training to your regular routine.

And don’t worry, there are a lot of apps that will let you take your workout anywhere and avoid injury while you’re at it.

My personal favourite is the Nike+ Training App, which comes with a wide variety of workouts – plus videos to help you learn the proper form.

Because ain’t nobody got time for injuries.

All you have to do is download the app (while on wifi, obviously), plug in your headphones and select a workout that looks good for your goals and fitness level.

You can do the workout anywhere, from your basement to the local park, and most of them require absolutely no equipment!

Meal Planning

If losing weight is part of your fitness goal, what you eat will have an outsized impact on your ability to hit it.

Since your diet impacts a big part of your fitness plans, your grocery shopping (on bike or not) is going to be pretty key.

Luckily, planning your meals for the week can also save you big bucks on your grocery bill, since you’ll know exactly what you need, and you’ll avoid overshopping.

Plus, most nutritious foods – from fresh veggies to bulk, plain oatmeal – will be easier on your wallet than processed foods.

If you’re doing the bulk of your meal planning and prep from the outer edges of the grocery store (think meat, veggies, eggs, etc.) you’ll avoid the costly centre aisles and save a bundle.

Now if you’ll excuse me…

I’m off on my bike to shop for a carefully planned list of groceries that I’ll need for the week.

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Mrs. Adventure Rich's picture

Yes! There are so many free ways to work out! Many towns will have gyms that offer "free community classes" as well (ranging from yoga to zumba to boot camps).

August 29, 2017 @ 8:45 am
Lisa's picture

I have found local hiking groups are a great way to keep in shape and exercise in good company...which makes the hiking seem less like exercise and more like fun! In Nova Scotia, there are a number of clubs (including Chebucto Hiking Club and the folks at Volksmarch). I also like to check out classes through community recreation programs, as they seem to be less expensive than gym memberships, in general.

August 29, 2017 @ 10:47 am
Owen @ PlanEasy's picture

+1 for biking! We bike everywhere. I bike to work year round, 9.5km each way. It's an awesome way to stay in shape. Exercise built into your daily routine. We also have a bike trailer so we can take our two children out for errands (or we can use it to make a big shop at the grocery store).

August 29, 2017 @ 10:51 am
Mrs. Picky Pincher's picture

I tried Groupon to test out fitness classes, and it was a lot of fun! I never kept up with the classes once the Groupon expired, mind you, but it was a great way to breathe new life into my exercise routine. I also get fit by watching free YouTube videos. Why pay for a membership and drive to a gym when I can turn on my TV and exercise?

August 29, 2017 @ 11:09 am
Sarah (Smile & Conquer)'s picture

Free fitness is the way to go! You should definitely check out Fitness Blender and Yoga with Adriene, those are my go-to's for YouTube videos.

August 29, 2017 @ 3:17 pm
Rooters's picture

I am a runner and I always use fittness blender between runs and to train for things like Machu Picchu. Awesome site to use at home.

August 30, 2017 @ 8:30 am
John's picture

Cutting, splitting, and stacking your own firewood is another great way. So is veggie gardening.

August 30, 2017 @ 9:21 am
Money Beagle's picture

One suggestion I have is to have a partner, whether it's an in person partner or just an accountability partner, for whatever you do. For example, my wife and I both run. Because we have young kids, we rarely get to run together, but by comparing our runs, their pace, their frequency, etc. we both keep each other motivated to continue with it.

August 30, 2017 @ 12:13 pm

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