So many people think they’ll never be able to get in shape because they just can’t afford to hire a personal trainer, but the reality is that there’s a lot you can do on your own to get fit and healthy.
Here are nine ways to get fit if you can’t afford a personal trainer:
1. Download workout apps. While there’s no doubt a trainer can help motivate you to push harder and work out more consistently than you would have otherwise, a good workout app is be the next best thing. Try MyFitnessPal or Anytime Health to track your daily intake and apps like RunKeeper or MapMyRun for your cardio workouts.
2. Learn to meal prep. Most personal trainers and nutritionists stress the importance of meal prepping to ensure you eat healthy throughout the week. Meal prepping really isn’t that hard. Try cooking your meals for the week on Sunday to save time and hassle throughout the week. If you need inspiration, Pinterest or BodyBuilding.com are great places to find creative and healthy meal prep ideas.
3. Embrace body-weight workouts. Exercises like air squats, push ups, burpees, and planks are great because not only are they super effective at working your entire body at once, you can do them virtually anywhere. Body-weight exercises also have a low chance of injury risk and can easily be modified for any fitness level.
4. Foam roll. Most trainers these days will take you through a foam rolling session after your workout to help minimize soreness and keep you injury-free. You can get the same benefits when you foam roll on your own: try rolling out sore muscles two-to-five times a week or after each workout for maximum effect.
5. Swap long workout sessions for HIIT. A personal trainer can help to motivate you and push you out of your comfort zone, but you can get a similar level of intensity on your own as well. Swap out long, moderate paced workouts with high intensity interval training and watch as you get more fit in a shorter amount of time.
6. Stop crash dieting. Every good trainer or nutritionist will tell you that extreme, crash and fad diets don’t work and will end up doing more harm than good in the long run. Instead, try following a more sustainable approach to eating by following the basic 80/20 rule: eat healthy 80% of the time and give yourself a little more wiggle room the other 20% of the time.
8. Eat your veggies. Every trainer you work with is going to want to talk to you about nutrition and will no doubt emphasize the importance of getting in enough vegetables on a daily basis. Eat colorful veggies and monitor your veggie intake on your own by eating at least the recommended 2-3 cups daily.
9. Use the world as your gym. Despite what you may have been told, you really don’t need to hire a trainer to tell you what to do or need a gym to get fit. They definitely help, but look at what’s around you; use benches for exercises like box jumps and elevated push ups, a nearby park to practice hand stands, yoga or monkey bars to do a pull up or two. Get creative!
If you notice that you’re still having trouble, personal trainers love answering fitness related questions or offer one-time monthly follow-up plans to monitor your progress. All you gotta do is ask!