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Ditch the gym, ditch the protein shakes and lose weight on the cheap

The health and fitness industry generates billions of pounds every year by convincing people that they must have a gym membership and the most expensive workout supplements. The truth is that you don’t need any of that to shed some weight.


Exposing the myth

If you’ve never had a gym membership, keep it that way. We understand that you want to shed some pounds, but is the gym really the only place where you can work up a sweat? Of course it isn’t!

It is beggars’ belief that so many people pay hundreds of pounds for a gym subscription, only to use the treadmill every day. We’d like to let you in on a secret: the pavement outside your front door is perfect for walking on. Oh, and it doesn’t cost you a penny.


Skip yourself slim

One of the most effective exercises you can do is a spot of good old-fashioned skipping. Give it a go! Have you ever noticed any of the big sports companies telling you to go skipping? Of course you haven’t – skipping ropes are cheap and won’t bolster their profits.

We’re also being told that expensive protein shakes are the way forward. Unless your targets include becoming an elite-level athlete, shelling out for powdered protein is another giant waste of hard-earned money.

At the end of a workout – be it a brisk walk, a jog or a game of football – simply drinking a glass of milk and eating a banana is a highly effective way to refuel.


Step away from the dumbbells

Everybody has at least one friend who has shelled out on a set of dumbbells, only to use them a handful of times before putting them away to gather dust in the spare bedroom. Too many people purchase weights with unrealistic expectations in mind.

Forget about buying a set of weights. Push-ups can be done anywhere, and they give you a great upper body workout.

The message is simple: ditch the gym, ditch the protein shakes and ditch the home workout kit. You’re better off putting the money towards a week in the sun!

Great ways to get fit for free outdoors

You’ve heard of the paleo diet, now try paleo fitness. Thousands of years ago our ancestors didn’t need gyms or treadmills or heart rate monitors to get fit – they just ran through the forests climbing trees and leaping over any obstacles in their path.


Why does it work?

It seems human beings just love nature. It’s a built-in feeling called ‘biophilia’. So however much time we spend in the office or watching Netflix, we still feel the need to get outdoors and top up on a nature fix. According to research, the sense of euphoria and accomplishment you feel challenging your fitness outdoors is great for your physical and mental wellbeing.


Get motivated

If your local park has an outdoor gym, workout equipment or a fitness trail to follow, then it’s easy to get fit for free. But if that isn’t available, it’s not difficult to create your own fitness adventure using your surroundings.

• Realise that everything and anything can be a workout – running after your kids in the park, crawling after your toddler or carrying bags of shopping home on foot. All can be great exercise for agility and your core muscles.

• Workout with friends – either hit the outdoor gym together or work out your own fitness trail through the local woods that includes swinging from branches, jumping over fallen logs and even scrambling up trees. Share your fitness knowledge and add some Pilates and yoga into the mix.

• Think of a new exercise every time you head outdoors – you might use two logs like dumbells or bench press a longer tree branch. Getting fit outdoors is also about using your imagination and seeing every obstacle as an opportunity to work out.


Change your perspective

This kind of outdoor fitness really challenges not just your body but your attitudes to exercise. It’s about realising that anything can be exercise and that you don’t need hours in the gym to look great and feel great. A high intensity 10 minute run around the park, or hurdling logs at full pelt in the woods will build cardio fitness, muscle strength and definition, for free.

Keeping fit on a budget

Getting fit and healthy can be an expensive business. From running shoes to kettle bells to kinesthetic tape, just getting ready to exercise can cost a small fortune. With so many options to choose from, it might seem out of reach when money is tight. There’s no need to worry as we’ve found some simple ways to keep fit without breaking the bank. Being on a budget doesn’t have to mean compromising on fitness. Check out our tips and start moving!


Free fitness at home

YouTube is the perfect place to start your budget fitness journey. You’ll find thousands of videos online with exercise programmes for Zumba, boot camps, yoga, aerobics and more. The best part is that they are completely free! Searching for highly rated videos can help you get the best from your training.


Take the stairs

A simple trick to get your heart pumping is to ditch the escalators and the lift. Work on the 4th floor? Hop off one floor early and take the stairs. If you get the bus, get off one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way. Leave the car when you need milk and use your feet. You’ll save money on petrol and feel better for it!


Tap the app

You always have your phone in your pocket, so take full advantage of it. With hundreds of free and low-cost apps to choose from you can monitor your steps, start a running programme or challenge friends to reach fitness goals. Whatever you choose, you can be sure it won’t make much of a dent in your finances!


Make a four-legged friend

It might be your own dog or the dog of a neighbour who works long hours and needs a helping hand. However you do it, dog-walking is the perfect way to get moving. Fresh air with a willing companion. What could be better?


Bargain hunt

If the gym is still calling, do your research before you commit. Many gyms have promotions for new members, free trials and even competitions to win a membership. Once you start, just make sure you keep going!

How to lose weight in your 50s on a budget

When it comes to discussing female health when aged 50 or over, losing weight and staying healthy is a lot more difficult than in your twenties, or even thirties. Women in their 50s have a slower metabolism, are not as active as they were ten years ago due to ongoing health issues, and of course, the menopause plays a huge role in how women feel. So how can women in their 50s lose weight and get rid of that middle age spread on a budget? Below we share a few ideas.

Over 50s health – eating little and often Forget the word diet, as losing weight in your 50s is all about what you eat and how often. Remember, metabolism is a lot slower. Think small portions throughout the day – five small meals is ideal. Eat basic fruit and veg that can be bought at the end of the day, so that you will save money. Make smoothies with fruit that will not last another day. Be inventive.

Avoid processed foods Generally speaking, processed foods, especially those of carbs, such as white bread, pasta and biscuits, should be cut from your diet. Doing so will save you money, as these foods are expensive. Instead, spend your money on fresh fruit and veg, which is cheaper and will last you longer.

Getting fit and healthy The key for the over 50s losing weight cheaply is to exercise daily. Thirty minutes every day is ideal. Make this a social occasion – go running with a friend, or for a walk around the local village. It doesn’t matter what you do, just get out and be active, it won’t cost you a penny. There are many sports groups out there for the over 50s.

Join a gym Finally, why not join a gym? There are many gym membership packages for the over 50s. As well as enjoying cheap gym membership, the classes that are available are also suited for the woman during menopause. You can, therefore, workout to a pace that is best suited to your needs, while saving money at the same time.

How to enjoy great health…without breaking the bank!

Most of us want to get fit and healthy, but whether your focus is losing weight, strength training to get lean or generally improving your health to look good, it is all too easy to be put off by the apparent cost involved!

Don’t worry though, there are plenty of ways to enjoy great health without breaking the bank. Here are some of our favourite hacks.


1. Supermarkets and workout gear

Workout clothing can be very expensive – but if you head to your local supermarket, you’ll be amazed by the high-quality range of sports and athletic gear on offer – and all at everyday prices. Very often, you’ll be unable to tell the difference between these and the high-end brands!


2. Cook from scratch

Forget expensive diet products and ready meals – simply learn how to cook from scratch from raw and wholesome ingredients. Cooking in this way allows you to make meals in batches – which also saves money. Try nutritious meals based around cheaper cuts of meat, pulses and vegetables – all of which save you money whilst being very good for you. You can save more money by using an energy-efficient slow cooker too. Just cook up big batches and freeze the extras.


3. Buy online

When you do want to buy supplements and health aids, look online for the best offers. You’ll often find big variation in the price of your favourite products, and with a voucher code, you can make it even more affordable. Again, don’t be afraid to buy unbranded options – just check the ingredients list carefully.


4. Train off-peak

If you find gym membership too expensive, look to off-peak offers at your local leisure centre or one of the many ‘no frills’ 24-hour gyms, which offer excellent value for money and flexible contracts.


5. Incorporate inexpensive habits

Some of the healthiest habits really don’t need to be expensive. Try starting the day with a slice of lemon in hot water. Choose a low-fat, low-sugar breakfast such as porridge with a little fruit or some eggs. Walk everywhere to save money on fuel and to exercise on the go. Get to bed at the right time and enjoy the benefits of sleep!


6. Don’t forget your pedometer

If you love the idea of a fitness wearable but don’t want to splash the cash, you’ll find some very reasonable entry-level models now appearing on the market – or simply choose a cheap pedometer or fitness app to track your steps!

What other cost-effective health tips would you share with a friend?