My wife and I generally like being active and really enjoying hiking, biking, walking, and swimming together. As part of my health journey I decided to get in better shape for a better quality of life and hopefully longevity. My whole life, or at least life that I can remember, I have struggled with obesity. After eating a primarily plant based and whole food diet for a couple of years and using some of the resources listed in this post I am in the best shape/health of my life and I hope to continue this journey. When I decided to get in shape I did not want to pay a monthly gym membership (what kind of frugal blogger would I be if I did?!) and started looking for alternatives. The list in this post is a combination of resources that my wife and I use and have found useful for us.
1. C25K - This app helps those who are not accustomed to running prepare for a 5K. The C25K stands for Couch to 5K and it truly scaffolds runs in order to accomplish this. You can find C25K in the Google Play store or in the Apple Store for your smart phones or iPods. It tells you when to run and walk and gradually, week by week, it challenges you to run a little farther. It starts as simple as having you run a minute and then walk a minute and so on. The intervals are achievable and it doesn't let you push yourself too hard. I personally do not enjoy running, and still do not love it, but this app kept me on track and gave me achievable goals. Through the use of this app and a lot of determination and encouragement I have ran a 5K twice and run 1 to 2 miles 3 or 4 times a week. Before using this app I had not run long distance for almost 10 years. (Hint: when getting serious about running footwear becomes very important. I personally love my Brooks and would recommend them to anyone looking for a sturdy trainer. Keep them affordable by buying online or watching for deals at your local running store. A couple of years ago my wife bought 4 pairs of the Brooks because they were $30 off...shoes don't go bad you know!)
2. Hasfit - Hasfit is a fitness organization (for lack of a better term) that specializes in workout videos and meal plans (For some healthy and frugal recipes check out our recipes page on the blog). It stands for Heart and Soul Fitness. Both my wife and I enjoy using these videos to work out. All you need is a device that can play Youtube from the internet (which I assume you do if you are reading this) a space to do the exercises, and a couple of soup cans or weights if you have them. Coach Kozak does a great job motivating you in the videos and the videos range from beginner exercises to advance. I really enjoy the kickboxing videos and there are options in terms of times and difficulty as well. We generally use the Youtube channel and videos, but there are many more resources on the website. There really is an engaging workout for everyone, and enough diversity in terms of length and types of workouts that you should never get bored! Sometimes we have to base our fitness selection merely on the length of the workout which is easily displayed on youtube. (Hint: we generally do these in our living room and if you are like me at all you are a huge sweater! A workout mat can definitely be helpful when working out at home).
3. Fitness Blender - This is another Youtube channel / website that offers a variety of levels of fitness training. From beginner to advanced the techniques are easy to replicate and well explained. A lot of the training comes in the form of intervals which is proven to be a great way to burn fat in particular. The intervals mean that there are more active and less active parts of each workout. They also have a nice countdown feature so you know how much longer you have to do an exercise as well as a little preview of what is coming next so you can mentally prepare/try to figure out the movement ahead of time. (Hint: A lot of exercises can be made more intense by using some 2 lb weights).
4. The Library - This is a general tip, and your public library has so many resources that many do not use, but in the DVD/Blu-Ray section there are many workout videos that you can do. What is available of course is going to be dependent on the quality of your public library. The KDL branch in East Grand Rapids has a pretty good selection. If you are a person that loves reading there are also a lot of books about exercising as well. The best part is that every community should have a library or two and everything is free! (It is also a great place to take the kids! It is one of the hints in our blog post about being social once you have children!)
5. Running Clubs (includes list of some in GR) - Running clubs are a great way to get and keep in shape. They help hold you accountable and you can foster some great friendships through running with the same people every week. We personally do not belong to any but have friends that are active members and love them. There are also a variety of clubs in GR that range from one that meets at Founder's, runs steps/hills, and then gets a pint after to trail running to training for the 5th 3rd Riverbank Run. (Hint: if ever running in the dark it is a great idea to get some reflective clothing and/or a wearable light that shines forward and backward for safety)
Grand Rapids Running Club
Here is a link to all teams listed on the MapMyRun site: http://www.mapmyrun.com/us/grand-rapids-mi/groups
Thank you so much for taking time to read our humble blog. The feedback we have received has been amazing. Please make sure to comment with ways in which you are being frugal as well because we are still a work in progress and can learn from you! Also, if you have enjoyed blog posts we would appreciate if you shared them on social media or with friends who may be interested in the specific topics (or just the whole thing in general). Thanks again!