What price should a woman put on her fitness? Thirty pounds per month? Four hundred pounds a year? Actually, data from Money Dashboard reports that the average Brit spends around £550 a year on gym memberships and exercise classes. Sure, that doesn’t sound like a lot but that’s before you’ve taken into account the growing number of people who are forking out on luxury workout studios, designer fitness fashion and exclusive nutrition regimes. With boutique gyms charging £30 per class or more, and high-end fashion apparel costing up to hundreds of pounds per item, the expense can soon mount up. In fact, anecdotal evidence shows that some women are spending thousands of pounds on their health and fitness each year. But is it worth it?
Fitness splurging comes in many forms, from wearing luxury kit on a run, to splashing out on expensive gym memberships and paying extra for specialist training that promises results. It’s not about vanity – it’s about confidence, comfort and focus. If you look good, you feel good and that helps you muster the enthusiasm to attack a workout. But do you need to flash lots of cash to keep fit? No, of course not – and there are plenty of things that we at H&F think you shouldn’t spend money on. With the growing number of free apps and workout sites, not to mention attractive apparel that won’t empty your pockets, keeping fit doesn’t have to leave you bankrupt. The key is to work out which products are worth your pounds. And that’s where we come in…
7 (FUN) WAYS TO GET FIT ON A BUDGET
1. LOG ON, SLIM DOWN
Turns out there’s more to online videos than yelling goats and Prancercise (Google it). In fact, the internet is a wealth of fitness knowledge. Among some of our favourite freebie workouts are the Tone It Up girls (www.toneitup.com) and Yoga With Adriene ( ). And you can even get free A-list workouts on the net – visit Icelandic trainer Svava Sigbertsdottir’s Viking Method YouTube channel to find out how Nicole Scherzinger works out. And you thought the web was for socialising!
2. IN-STORE CLASSES
Specialist classes don’t have to cost a penny. In fact, some are free of charge. Earlier this year, Sweaty Betty launched a ‘Get Fit 4 Free’ campaign that gave fitbies access to in-store classes, recipes and online videos. And all Sweaty Betty boutiques across the country offer free classes to members all year long. London-bound? Lululemon Covent Garden and King’s Road stores offer complimentary yoga and running club every week.
3. RACE YOUR DOG
Turn your furry friend into a fitness pal. Personal trainer, Alison Beadle (), tells clients to race their dog because it’s a great form of fat-burning interval work – walk fast, jog and then sprint! ‘It’s interval training with a difference,’ says Beadle. ‘One of my clients has beaten her dog once but only by cheating and throwing the ball in the opposite direction!’ It’s harder than you think.
4. LOOK FOR DISCOUNTS
Gym memberships can be expensive – but not if you’re smart! Most gyms offer a cheaper membership if you’re prepared to go to the club during off-peak hours – usually between 10am and 4pm, and not including weekends. Ask gyms if they do discounts for students or single mums, or register at payasugym.com to get up to 60 per cent off gym costs.
5. COMPETITIVE COMMUTING
Make your commute count by racing against the clock with Beadle’s commuting circuit. ‘Speed walk along the corridors, power walk up escalators and see if you can do it faster each time,’ explains Beadle. ‘If you need a little competition to motivate you, challenge a friend to walk it faster than you.’
6. LUNGE, LUNGE, LUNGE
Lunge like no-one’s looking. The simple move is one of the best exercises for your legs and bum – and you can do them anywhere. ‘Walking lunges can be done around your own home all day, every day,’ says Donohue. ‘There is nothing you can find in a gym that beats walking lunges for the entire lower half.’
7. HIT THE GREEN GYM
Got access to a park? Then you have all the kit you need to get fit – benches, a running circuit and maybe even an outdoor gym. ‘Keeping fit and healthy doesn’t need to be expensive,’ agrees Muir. ‘The great outdoors is free – go for a walk, bike ride or jog. Too cold? That’s no excuse, as you can even run up and down your stairs to get fit.’