Release your Inner Olympian: Frugal & Free Fitness Resources (post 6)

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I’m running a bit behind on my January fitness series, but we’re back at it today! As a reminder, my goal for January is to both inspire you to achieve new fitness goals AND do so in a way that doesn’t break your budget.

Today I want to share a few tools that I have found to be helpful.

1. MapMyRun. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but before finding this site, I used to use my car’s odometer to gauge the distance of my running routes. Not anymore. MapMyRun is a free website that allows you to easily map different running, walking, and bicycling routes! You can even save them for later and input your time. It appears that there is also an app version for those of you with SmartPhones.

2. MyFitnessPal. I recently discovered this site and LOVE it. The site is a free, online food and exercise journal. If you’ve ever tried and failed to keep a food log, give MyFitnessPal a try. They have over a million different foods in their database including nutrition information, so upkeep is easy. Like MapMyRun, you can also download an app. There are also forums, tickers, and other tools to manage your eating and working out.

3. Exercise.com. I’ve not personally signed up for this one, but it appears to have food and exercise logs on it, too – much like MyFitnessPal. The cool part is that there are also many, many videos you can watch and workout to!

4. Free Exercise Videos – on your TV! Are you a Comcast customer? If so, head to On Demand and look for the free exercise videos in Health & Fitness. I have found full-length Jillian Michaels workouts in there before. If you have a DVR, you might record exercise shows that come on. This way, you can avoid paying for your at-home videos!

5. Videos for $10 or less. Workout videos ain’t what they used to be. Some of the most difficult workouts I have EVER done have been at home! Here are four of my all-time favorites. Unlike some well known workout series that cost $100 or better (*cough*), these cost just a few dollars and I guarantee they will kick your butt.

Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred for $7.99 on Amazon. I love this workout – it’s quick (just 20 minutes) and effective (I lost 10 pounds when I did it start to finish!). There are three levels – beginner, intermediate, and advanced. I love that all you need is a pair of handweights and a yoga mat. Before I owned handweights, a couple cans of Chunky Campbell’s soup did the trick. Recommend. You can also buy this Instant Video on Demand – buy just one of the three workouts for $1.99 or all three for $4.99.

Jillian Michaels’ No More Trouble Zones for $7.71 on Amazon. Once I’d completed the Shred, I discovered this video. Jillian moves you through a circuit-style workout that at moments will remind you of the Shred, but it’s longer at 45-minutes. It’s a nice one to add to your workout library. Like the Shred, all you need are hand weights and a mat.

Bob Harper: Pure Burn on Amazon for $7.49. This workout.is.very.very.hard. WARNING. NOT for the faint hearted. It seriously took me about 4-5 attempts to make it through the full one-hour workout! But you feel like you’ve actually done something at the end of it. As the title implies, you will feel the burn doing this workout. Like about 10-15 minutes in, you’ll feel a serious burn. And that’s about the point in the video he’ll ask you to do something like jump squats or the very thing you don’t want to do. Every bit an exercise in mental toughness as well as physical. If you have any doubt how hard this workout is, just look at him. If that’s not an evil grin, I don’t know what is.

Bob Harper: Cardio Conditioning for $7.49 on Amazon. Confession Time. I’ve not yet made it through this entire workout video! It is that hard, people. When he has everyone do jumping jacks as fast as they can, I swear the gal in the back looks like she has no arms or legs, she is moving THAT fast. All joking aside, I have found Bob’s workouts the most difficult at-home videos I’ve ever tried. They are also cheap and don’t require any fancy equipment. I don’t know that I could handle Bob every day, but it might be a nice challenge thrown in once or twice a week – perhaps with some Jillian on the other days.

6. Couch to 5K (C25K). While I’ve not personally used this site, I know several friends who have – and with great results! For those that don’t know, this FREE training guide will take you from inactivity (“couch”) to completing a 5K (just over 3 miles). This program is 9 weeks long and tells you exactly what you need to do for each workout. Like some of the above sites, there’s an app for this!

7. Don’t forget the library and the internet! When you start something new, it’s easy to want to go out and spend a bunch of money. When it comes to working out, you really don’t have to go that route. Don’t underestimate the power of checking out some fitness books from your local library, from finding camaraderie and accountability on an online forum, researching videos on YouTube, or Googling training schedules!

What other tips or resources are you aware of for getting fit for less?

If you missed the other posts in this series, you can read them:

Release your Inner Olympian: Post 1 (Introduction)
Release your Inner Olympian: Post 2 (Setting a fitness goal)
Release your Inner Olympian: Post 3 (Recipe Ideas)
Release your Inner Olympian: Post 4 (Non-boring running/walking workouts)
Release your Inner Olympian: Post 5 (Working out from home)

11 thoughts on “Release your Inner Olympian: Frugal & Free Fitness Resources (post 6)”

  1. MapMyRun looks like a great website but I could not figure out how to map my routes and find out how long they were–it was very confusing.

    • It can be a bit tricky to navigate at first. Another thought? Google Maps! It should do much of the same thing, I believe.

  2. Another good free site is http://www.sparkpeople.com. I lost 60 lbs using the free food tracker, exercise tracker, and online forums. There is a ton of encouragement and support on the site, free workout videos and “bootcamps” and a great plan to help you change your lifestyle to make better choices with food and exercise.

  3. I’ve been using MyFitnessPal for a couple weeks and with very little effort have lost a couple pounds! I love how easy it is to track your food, I just scan the barcodes as I’m making dinner or whatever. I also have my phone with my 75% of the time, so it’s sooooooo easy to remember to track. Also I clicked through to Amazon and picked up the Jillian 30-day shred DVD thanks to your link! I have very little time to do videos at home with my girls crawling all over me, but after you said it’s only 20 minute workouts, I bought it to see if it works! Thank you 🙂

    • I’ve had times where I had to do that workout with the kids in the room – I’ve made it work! If it was much longer than 20 minutes I might have an issue doing that, but given the time – I’ve made it work before.

      Good luck!!

  4. Oh the Bob Harper Video is KILLER! And I don’t mean “Killer Dude, that is awesome” My neighbor and I did this together and I think that is the only way I finished it, but I wish I didn’t…seriously for a WEEK I couldn’t walk and I had to crawl down the stairs backwards. You do like 200+ Squats it seems like. This is not an exaggeration either. I will say it was the first work out video I have done in a long time, but wowee, thought it was harder than p90x. But with all that said great workout 🙂

    • Amber, did you do the cardio one or the strength one??? For some reason, the cardio one kicks my butt harder!!

      I think it’s in the strength one where at one point he says they’ll be taking a water break in a few minutes, and then they NEVER DO. It’s so mean! LOL!! I’ve never done p90x or insanity, so interesting to hear your perspective on that one.

  5. It was the Cardio one. I think I could have puked and I just kept looking at my friend wondering when she was going to take a break! If she wasn’t going to quite, I wasn’t 🙂 I really want to do insanity, but right now I am just sticking to the shred, going to the gym when I can and eating whole foods.

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