Shrink your waist, not pocketbook this new year

Turn on your TV right now, and you’ll be hit with ads for gyms and diet programs and fitness informercials galore. Marketers know we’re champing at the bit to get back in shape during the month of January.

Maybe it’s the fresh start of a new year, maybe it’s a resolution or maybe a mere reaction to too many cookies during the holiday season. Whatever your reason, getting in shape doesn’t require getting a second mortgage. There are plenty of fabulously frugal ways to focus on your health this January.

Gym alternatives

While it might be nice, the fancy gym down the street doesn’t fit into everyone’s budget. If you’re already locked into a contract or commitment, visit your gym’s member service area to see if you can renegotiate your rate. Or if your gym is part of a franchise or chain, call the toll-free number on your membership card to see if you can get a lower rate.

If you’re not a gym member, consider your local community center or Y instead. You may even qualify for a sliding scale of fees determined by your income. Many local churches have first-class facilities at a fraction of the price, too.

My favorite frugal fitness resource is the website Chock full of workouts from every length, intensity and variety, this website is completely free. The husband-wife team releases new videos on a regular basis. Best of all, they’re encouraging without being annoying. You can search based on how much time you have, what types of equipment you have at home (some don’t require any equipment at all) and your level of fitness.

Used equipment

One woman’s treadmill is another woman’s laundry rack. It’s a law of the universe. For every fella looking to sell a weight bench, there’s another guy hoping to purchase one.

Looking for healthy meal ideas and a way to track your activity and nutrition? SparkPeople might be a good free option for you with mobile apps and the ability to sync with your FitBit or other activity tracker. Plus, you’ll find a community of other people working toward healthy living goals this year, too.

No matter what the TV ads try to convince you, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to pursue a healthy lifestyle. In the end, a good pair of shoes and a sidewalk can help you reach toward moving more and eating less.

Healthier living also has a great impact on your bottom line. You’ll reduce your needs for medical care and pharmaceuticals while increasing your productivity at work.

What are you waiting for? Check out these frugal fitness resources today.