How to Get Fit for Cheap

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The fitness club industry alone rakes in $75.7 billion annually, according to 2011 research by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association -- and that's not counting the sales for gear like DVDs, equipment and clothes. While advertisements might make you feel like you have to spend a fortune to get into shape, it's simply not the case. A tight budget doesn't automatically mean a free pass to become a couch potato, especially since there are so many ways to stay fit without a pricey gym membership, expensive equipment and high-tech gear.

  • Borrow fitness DVDs from your local library. Purchasing fitness programs via infomercials or from a fitness supply store can seriously add up -- and you might not even love the workout. By borrowing the DVDs from your library, you get to test drive a program, switch up your workouts and never pay a cent.

  • Swap fitness training services with a friend rather than exercising with a personal trainer. While a friend might not be a professional, you can be motivational factors for each other by performing regular weigh-ins, being accountable to each other for workouts and exercising together regularly.

  • Exercise with the seasons for the cheapest prices. Of course exercising outside is free if you run or walk, but you can also change it up by getting a cheaper swimming pass during the summer months, hiking when the temperatures are comfortable or going ice skating during the winter. The same can be said for your diet -- eating seasonal fresh food and produce can slash the costs of eating well as you work to become fitter.

  • Create your own boot camp-type workout, suggests Health.com. Boot camps are hardcore exercise classes where you use circuit workouts to help you gain strength and endurance. Instead of signing up, go online or read through a few fitness magazines to choose five or six different exercises, like squats, lunges, pushups and crunches. Then, run the circuit -- doing 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise -- two or three times. It's free, effective and you can use your body weight instead of expensive gear.

  • Invest in multi-use fitness equipment for your home gym. If a piece of equipment only has one function, you might not get a ton of use from it. Instead, equipment like an exercise ball or free weights can give you the biggest bang for your buck and isn't usually cost prohibitive if purchased from discount or big box stores.

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