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How to Work Out on a Budget

Going to the gym is a great way to burn calories, build strength, and develop the lean, toned physique you want.


However, there are occasions when you’re pressed for time and don’t have time to drive to the gym, workout, shower, change clothes, and drive back home (or to work). Sometimes, you have a tight window in which to knock out your training and have to get back to work, family, etc. Additionally, big box gyms aren’t always the most economical option as many require expensive monthly memberships.


Does this mean you can’t burn calories, get a quality workout, or achieve the results you want from your transformation challenge?

No way!


Here are 10 ways you can build muscle, burn belly fat, and build the body you’ve always wanted without spending hundreds of dollars every month (or year)!


#1 Bodyweight Training


When it comes to low/no-cost methods for effective training, there’s no better option than bodyweight training. It literally only requires your body and the ground. With just that you can perform hundreds of total-body exercises to burn calories, lose fat, and build strength.


For just a few dollars, you can also purchase a doorway pullup bar or suspension trainer, opening up dozens and dozens of new exercises, including pull ups, chin ups, dips, and many more!


#2 Purchase Used Equipment


Gym equipment is expensive, even if you’re just looking to purchase free weights -- barbell, weight plates, dumbbells, kettlebells, etc.


However, instead of purchasing brand-new equipment, you can save a considerable chunk of change by opting for second-hand weights, barbells, and even machines! This helps your money go further so that you can get more equipment!


#3 Resistance Bands


Resistance bands are a phenomenal way to train. They can replicate virtually any exercise you’d perform in the gym all while taking up next to no space and being incredibly affordable.


In fact you can purchase our premium set of resistance bands, including all the attachments, for well under $100!


Resistance bands are also a great way to keep your workouts going strong when traveling as they can easily fit into your luggage.


#4 Hit the Playground


Many public parks are equipped with pull up bars, parallel bars, monkey bars, and more. Even better, they’re FREE!


If you need help figuring out some bodyweight exercises that you can perform, make sure to check out our extensive exercise library inside the 1UP Fitness App.


It’s also fun to have a friend or two join you and set up different work stations (rows, push ups, squats, etc.). The social aspect of fitness can help you to push harder and burn more calories during training, ultimately delivering better results faster!



#5 Check Discount Sites


Discount sites, such as Groupon, are a great way to find some fantastic deals on gym memberships, yoga classes, and other group training opportunities. This also adds some variety to your training program as one month you could take power yoga, the next month boxing, and the following month you could do bootcamp workouts.


#6 Break Out a Deck of Cards


This helps “gamify” your workouts, which increases the challenge, fun, and randomness of your training.


Here’s one way to use playing cards in your workouts:


  • Shuffle a deck of cards and place it face down.
  • Assign a movement to each suit. (For instance, hearts are squats, clubs are push ups, diamonds are bodyweight rows, and spades are V-Ups.)
  • Aces are one, face cards are 13, and the numbers in between are their corresponding values.
  • Flip a card and now perform the movement for the corresponding number of reps according to the face and value of the card.


If you’re pressed for time, you can set your timer for however long you have to train (e.g. 15 minutes, 30 minutes, etc.) and see how many cards you can get through, or you can start your timer and see how long it takes you to finish the whole deck!


As you get stronger, you can choose more challenging exercise variations or add weight via a weight pack.


#7 Invest in Kettlebells


After seeming like an “underground” training tool for decades, kettlebells have erupted in the mainstream. Their offset weight design adds a new element of balance, stability, and coordination (in addition to the obvious strength-building benefits).


Unlike dumbbells, which are typically available in 2.5-5 pound increments, kettlebells have larger jumps in between the sizes (8kg, 16kg, 24kg, etc.). What this means is that you spend more time improving technique, adding reps, and maximizing time under tension, instead of constantly trying to slap more weight on the bar. Another added benefit is that you can get more total work and beneficial training from the kettlebell, without constantly having to spend money.


#8 Join a Rec League


Embrace your inner child and join a recreational sports league for adults. Many parks offer amateur sports teams that are incredibly affordable.


Teams regularly practice and compete, meaning there’s multiple opportunities throughout the week to exercise, play, and engage in “functional fitness.”


#9 Consider Corporate Wellness


An increasing number of employers are recognizing the importance and necessity of their employees’ health and wellness. As part of this, many companies help subsidize gym memberships or have some type of program through their health insurance provider to help individuals stay healthy and happy!



#10 Utilize the 1UP Fitness App


The 1UP Fitness App was created to be the complete fitness app. It provides an all-in-one personalized nutrition, training, and transformation challenge app to help you reach and maintain your fitness goals (even after your transformation challenge is over).


Best of all, the 1UP Fitness App is FREE!


Within the app, you’ll get over 300+ workouts, including how-to videos for the gym and at-home workouts -- It’s like having a full-time personal trainer on your phone!


You’re also invited to our private Facebook group for live Q&A's, daily motivation and inspiration. And, you’ll be able to interact with like-minded individuals, build relationships and succeed!


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