Written by Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade - Nigeria
I am very familiar with staying fit, or at least attempting to do so. I am also very familiar with sticking to a budget. Not my choosing though. Several years of engaging in sports, followed by years of struggling with the effects of a sedentary lifestyle, have definitely taken their toll on my body.
When I find myself cash-strapped, I used to think that was the perfect excuse to cancel my gym membership and my workout plan. Now, I know that it's all more reason to get creative.
It is hard to find the motivation to stay in shape. Once you do find that push to get fit, it is hard to stick to the plan. Fees for gym memberships, personal training sessions, new workout gear and equipment add up to a foreboding and massive number, leading us to throw those fitness goals out of the window. There are ways to get around spending so much money.
YouTube has evolved into a resource for almost everything. You can see cats doing crazy things, watch your favorite music videos, learn a new skill and tour a foreign country. The possibilities are literally endless, and when it comes to fitness, YouTube has earned its rightful spot on the free resource list.
I recognise that it may seem counterproductive to sit in front of a computer screen in order to get fit. But utilising YouTube in an efficient way will actually get you out of that computer chair and into those jeans. There are tons of workout videos and YouTube channels that feature great fitness routines that cater for everyone. Squeeze in a quick yoga sequence or complete an hour-long training session without spending a kobo.
I have travelled quite extensively; and one of the biggest issues for me was stopping myself from devouring all of the delicious foreign cuisine. It was hard to get out of those food comas and get my butt moving. Lack of equipment constantly posed an obstacle for me. Thus, I had to resort to some desperate and creative measures.
Stairs are great for some cardio or strength training. I once used cases of beer as my dumbbells. And then drank them all afterwards. Once again, counterproductive, I guess.
Use a towel or blanket as your yoga mat. Fill a backpack with heavy items and take that for a walk or use it as a weight to do squats. Use the wall; use the floor and use the hill at the park. The couch can be your new vessel for reverse push-ups. And you still get to watch TV. It is a win-win.
Exercises that can be done anywhere
There are tons of exercises that can be done almost anywhere without the use of equipment. Going for a run is the most convenient way to get a good workout while sticking to a budget. All you need is a pair of sneakers and some space.
Don't have sneakers? Run barefoot on the beach or go for a swim in the pool, lake, ocean, bathtub or wherever. Yoga is another great alternative. All that is required is a flat space; no shoes, no problem! There are also tons of strength exercises that you can do without fancy equipment. Squats, lunges, crunches and push-ups are among the most simple of examples, and they all provide awesome ways to condition your body.
There are so many mobile apps available to help keep you on track with your new fitness routine. Many can be downloaded for free or for a minimal cost. Different apps offer different things. Some will provide an eating plan or a calorie calculator while others may provide motivational quotes or reminders.
Each fitness app is different, and it will take a bit of experimentation to find the ones that are right for you. My favorites are iFitness and My Fitness Pal. If you are looking for a virtual personal trainer, there's an app for that. Need a reminder to do your workout? There is an app for that. Need help counting calories? Oh yeah, there is an app for that.