The Best Fitness Hacks of 2021

One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to get in shape, and FI’ers are not excluded. But we look to do so in the most FI-optimized ways possible. Brad and Jonathan have discussed the benefits of home gyms versus paying for classes, but no matter what route you take, here are some tips to get started with a frugal fitness routine.

The key is to experiment and optimize! Some ideas may resonate with you, others might be great to implement with a bit of personalization. Either way, keep us posted with what you’ve discovered along the way to get fit!

The Best Apps In Life Are (Just About) Free

There are a plethora of free fitness apps on the market that can help you do everything from yoga at home, to HIIT routines. It may take some experimentation to find which ones keep you motivated and address your unique needs, but luckily, they’re free–or, really darn cheap!

MyFitnessPal: If you’re trying to keep an eye on your food intake and track your workouts, this is one of the most popular apps to do so. No more “I didn’t eat that, did I?” amnesia.

Charity Miles: If you struggle to find the motivation for cardio, Charity Miles allows you to log miles for charities and features everything from the ASPCA to Wounded Warriors by running the app during your workouts.

Nike Run Club: The inner Boy or Girl Scout in you will rejoice. This app features badges you can earn for different achievements, colorful visualization of your latest runs, and a social media share feature for bragging rights if you find #sweatyselfies to be satisfying!

PIIT Pocket: From yoga and pilates to HIIT, YouTube-famous Pilates instructor Cassey Ho developed this app with both free and paid features to audibly guide you through workouts, set up workout reminders, and customize your workout plan.

Keep Trainer: Visual and voice-guided trainings with 400+ exercises including HIIT Core workouts, Tabata Challenge, and other routines for a variety of skill levels.

Couch to 5k: This app is $2.99, but the plan itself has been one of the most used and talked about for aspiring runners for years. You can customize your virtual “trainer” to cheer you on–choose between a unicorn, a drill sergeant, or a zombie.

Creating A Low-Cost At-Home Gym

Applying the cornerstone rule of frugalists–to buy used, borrow, or do without–there’s a lot you can do to build a home gym. You will find it is not necessary to buy a whole bunch of new stuff to stock your setup.

Craigslist and OfferUp always have used exercise equipment. Or find a friend who is ready to pawn off the regretful gear of former New Year’s resolutions. And possibly, you could consider doing without entirely. While weights and treadmills are helpful, doing cardio and strength training with your own body weight, or even things around the house, are a good way to get in shape without spending a dime.

Additionally, while it may not be as sexy as a high-ticket gym, doing yard work for yourself and others make for a feel-good and do-good workout. Remember buy for the needs you have, not the person you want to be. So often, we consume exercise equipment we never use because we have delusions of grandeur and hope that the gear will make us the people we want to be.

What’s better than buying? Simply take action and use what you have before you go gung-ho. You can get by with a lot less than you think!

Activities You Can Do At Home:

  • Walking/Running
  • Biking (if you already own a bike)
  • Jumping rope
  • Cardio (Dance or Pilates)
  • Strength Training
  • Yoga
  • Meditation (mental fitness is cool too!)

All of these activities can be done at home or around your home for free or cheap, with or without fancy equipment. YouTube has a plethora of awesome videos from fitness influencers that you can watch from your laptop or smart TV for absolutely free.

Meditation can also help fine-tune your focus and help your energy levels throughout. There are plenty of free playlists you can listen to for free on YouTube or Spotify–and apps like Insight TimerCalm and Headspace are great for guided meditation.

Utilizing A Members-Only Gym

If you don’t want to build an at-home gym or have the space to spread out as you’d like–utilizing a monthly gym membership isn’t the worst thing in the world. Planet Fitness is a chain with membership options as low as $10 a month. Also, check in at work, employers are more frequently offering corporate discounts or reimbursements as part of their benefits programs, as well.

Some gyms, Planet Fitness included, allow you to bring a guest with a more premium membership. This is a great time to make a buddy and go halfsies on membership if it makes cost-sense, and it also means you have an accountability buddy to boot!

No matter what you decide to do this year, focusing on your fitness is a great way to ensure your path to FI is a healthy one, and that your years of financial freedom will be enjoyed to their fullest!

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