How to get fit for less in 2019

After a long period of holiday indulgence, many of us will be inspired to go on a health kick. But a recent study by YouGov found that most of those who had made New Year’s resolutions — a whopping 64% in fact — said they’d failed to keep them.

What’s more, the poll found that, by 6 January, one in five people had given up – and for those that committed to a costly gym membership, giving up can be a massive blow to your bank balance.

If you are determined to be healthier in 2019, here are six ways that you can get fit for less.

  1. Check out free events and classes

If you like exercising in a group setting, there are a number of classes available that won’t cost you a penny, so long as you know where to look.

Women’s fitness shop Sweaty Betty, for instance, offers free HIIT,  Zumba, Pilates, Barre, BoxFit and Bootcamps as well as other fitness classes (for men and women) at branches across the country. Find a class here.

For those of you that are unable to make it to a class due to scheduling conflicts, you can work out from home with Sweaty Betty’s online fitness classes which will suit your time frame and fitness level. Here you can find the online workout classes.

2.  Take a look at bargain gyms

Membership at a chain gym could cost you over £550 a year, but luckily there are cheaper alternatives.

If you are not bothered about Jacuzzis and juice bars, there’s been an explosion in no-frills gyms, with prices from as little as £10.99 a month (depending on location).

The Gym, for instance, will not tie you into any contract, meaning that you can cancel at any time. Open 24-hours a day, members can also make the most of a wide variety of free classes. It also makes going for a workout a bit easier when juggling work and kids – you can turn up at anytime and simply get on with it. What’s more, day passes can be purchased from the website, starting from £5.99.

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3. Haggle down your membership

If you are dead set on getting a gym membership, make sure that you do it at the end of the month, when the sales team is trying to close last-minute deals to reach their quota. This is the best time to ask to have joining fees waived, free personal training sessions or even have a few spa treatments thrown in.

Be realistic about how you will use your membership and you can reduce monthly premiums. While swimming laps every now and then sounds lovely, if you are unlikely to go for a dip often (say, more than once a month), then there is no sense paying a monthly fee. Similarly, if it’s fitness classes that you are most tempted by, consider getting just a class card so that you’re only paying for the instructor and space when you need.

4. Ditch the gym and head outdoors

Research by the University of Essex shows that exercising outdoors boosts people’s physical and mental health more than going to indoor gyms, even in winter. If you fancy a jog outside but like a slightly competitive edge, then check out Park Run – a free, weekly, 5km timed run in more than 580 locations around the UK. Open to runners of all ability levels, simply register on the website and print off a barcode through which your time will be recorded.

What’s more, as weekly results are posted on the website by lunchtime on Saturday (runners can also have their score texted to their mobile phones) – which means you can “virtually” race against friends at another location.

5. Get on your bike

If your commute allows it, cycling to work can save you money on car running costs and be good for your purse. There’s even a Government-sponsored Cycle To Work tax break scheme, which allows you to pay for a bike out of your pre-tax salary. That means you can save up to 42% on the cost of a new bike if you don’t already have one. Not only will it save cash, going back and forth to work on a bike means 10 bursts of exercise a week, not a bad start to a fitness resolution.

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6. Swap superfoods to save

Have you eaten too many Quality Streets over the holidays? Or maybe it was too much booze that caused your waist line to bulge? There is no point exercising if you are eating poorly, but healthy eating doesn’t come cheap. If you swap just five of the so-called super foods for cheaper alternatives, you could save you serious money.

Those who are after more polyunsaturated fatty acids EPA and DHA will often buy fresh salmon (typically £25/kg at the fish counter in Tesco when not of offer); but buying fresh Cornish sardines (£3/kg) instead will reduce your spend by 90%.

Getting more vitamins C and K in your diet doesn’t have to cost as much as you would think, as switching from blueberries (£2 for 150g at Sainsburys) to kiwi fruits (six for 85p at the supermarket) can save you £1.15 a week or £60 annually.

Those of you who buy dried goji berries (£2 for 100g at Ocado) to stock up on vitamins A, B2 and C and iron, can save a bundle by replacing them with spinach (£1.10 for 80g) – saving you 90p a week or £47 over 12 months.

Further add to your savings and buy frozen alternatives. Fruits and vegetables that are “flash frozen” at the height of ripeness and nutrient content will often contain more nutrients than their fresh counterparts and will save you a fortune.

Note for readers: Please welcome Kara Gammell, our new guest blogger and an award-winning consumer journalist. She focuses on saving money day to day. Read about more ways to save in her blog, Your Best Friend’s Guide to Cash.

Kara Gammell

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