Given up your gym due to cost of living? Here are 8 ways to get fit for free.

If you're one of the 40 per cent of Australians struggling with money at the moment (according to a recent study by NAB), then you've likely slowly been offloading non-essential spends over the past few months. 

It feels like we can't catch a break with interest rates, rent increases, grocery prices, fuel costs and everything in between – and as important as regular movement is, it makes sense that the gym is often one of the first things to in an effort to reduce your household spending.

Either way, as a PT, I'm here to tell you can still stay fit (or get fit) without access to a gym. Here are eight ways: 

While you're here, watch the horoscopes try working out. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

1. Up your N.E.A.T.

Your Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (N.E.A.T.) is all the energy you burn that is not related to exercise. Did you know you can use three times more energy in a day by increasing your N.E.A.T. than you do exercising? What little changes can you make to increase your day-to-day movements? Walk to a co-worker's desk instead of sending an email. Park further from the door. Take the stairs. Get a standing desk or work at a bench. Go for a walk and coffee with friends, instead of sitting. It all adds up.


2. Have more 'adult' time.

Apart from the other obvious benefit to having more sex, it's one of the fastest ways to get your heart rate up. In an average rendezvous, your heart rate will get up to 120 beats per minute. And, if we're honest,we're more likely to push through the puffing in the bedroom than we are in a spin class. 

3. Use free apps and websites.

There are multiple free apps and websites out there with hundreds of free workouts, in all different genres. For example, Strava is like a social media platform for fitness, Jfitt is an app that has pre-made strength programs, and Nike app has more than 100 strength training, cardio, mobility and yoga workouts. 

I'm sure you've heard of ChatGPT. If not, it's an A.I. website that can generate anything – including a workout for you. Simply type in there what kind of workout you want, add in any injuries you have, equipment availability, preferences, inspo websites and so on, and it will generate you free workouts to follow. 

4. Make use of free trials.

Free apps and websites are all well and good if you have the motivation to do it on your own. But if you need more accountability and community, why not make use of free trials for community-based workouts? Most online coaches offer trials to their memberships where you can get the support, accountability and notifications you need. Just be wary of terms and conditions that say you’re locked in afterwards, and keep a note of the end date so you can cancel your subscription if you don't wish to continue. 


5. Get a walking pad.

Okay, so technically not free. But walking pads were a rave a couple of years ago when COVID dropped, and you can usually pick them up pretty cheaply secondhand now or hire them at a low cost. If you work from home and have a standing desk, pop it under. Or walk on it in front of the TV at night. You don't have to walk fast to get your steps up and increase your fitness. It will also increase your N.E.A.T. An hour of slow walking will mean you take around 2,000 extra steps today. That'd make me feel much better about a second episode of Selling Sunset.

6. Netflix and skill (not chill).

I recently discovered the Nike Training Club on Netflix. This is a compilation of 20 shows (each a different genre such as yoga, cardio, bodyweight and so on), totalling 51 separate 20- or 30-minute workouts. It's like being in a gym class, in your lounge room, but with more instruction thanks to all the camera angles. If you love short, effective workouts that are dynamic and keep you guessing, these are it.

7. Go to an exercise park.

It seems like those bodyweight training machines at parks are popping up all over the suburbs now. They're actually very intelligently built as most rely on you to use or leverage your own body weight to manoeuvre the equipment, meaning it suits all fitness levels. They've also got instructions and targeted muscle diagrams on them so, if you're feeling a little awkward, you will know which muscles to engage and work most effectively. My daughters absolutely love these parks! I think it's the combination of shiny new objects, and feeling like they're allowed to do what the adults do. So if you have kids, you can drag them along and know they'll keep themselves occupied while you do a circuit. Two birds, one stone.


Listen: The Quicky unpacks whether fitness challenges are helpful or harmful to your health. Post continues below.

8. Sense check your social media.

If you have an understanding of hypnosis or your subconscious brain, you'll know that we are always being tranced, whether we're aware of it or not. Ninety-five per cent of your thoughts are subconscious; meaning you're not aware of them. These thoughts are created based on what you observe as normal and abnormal in the world around you. So, if you're scrolling for an hour and fill your mind with footage of people moving their bodies and simplifying fitness, then your brain will not only create the idea that this is easy and normal but also look for more evidence that this is the case.

In a practical sense, this means to follow a few new accounts that share easy and simple workouts and promote movement as part of life and easy to implement, and advocate their trust in you that you can do it too. Go ahead and follow a few more accounts today for not only fitness inspo but also the motivation you may need after leaving the gym behind.

Feature Image: Getty/Mamamia.

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