Fitness on a Budget

I remember when I was growing up it was always difficult to convince my parents to buy me new things. They were incredibly disciplined in what they invested their money in, and if it was something they didn’t see as “valuable” or “worth the money”, it was an almost certain “no”. Dreams of buying 30 dollar dumbbells, a treadmill, or even some gym memberships were never going to be reached. If it wasn’t for the local YMCA offering a 12 dollar monthly membership, I do not know if I would have ever been part of a gym! Now I don’t want to throw my parents under the bus, they gave me everything that I wanted that I truly needed, but the point is there millions of people who struggle financially and still want to get healthy. I am now a college student, and I know what it feels like to live off of 100 dollars for a month; I see it with my friends and in myself every day! Breaking the bank isn’t an option for me or for many of us, and that is a sad but true reality. However, this reality does not inhibit our ability to live a healthy lifestyle. In fact, we can still get in tremendous shape and look amazing with the use of extremely cheap equipment. In particular, the following presents my five favorite exercise modalities, all which can be found at sporting good stores or online for under $20!

Your Own Body

As cliché as it is to use in this article, do not underestimate the power of bodyweight exercise in shaping an amazing physique! There are several successful exercise programs that use only your own body to change and get dramatic results. I personally prefer to use bodyweight exercises as opposed to weighted exercise just because of the lean and clean cut look it elicits. Whether it be push-ups, dips, squats, lunges, running, or jumping, there are hundreds of exercises out there that are incredibly effective, and they are completely free. Here is a sample body weight workout that will challenge you for free!

Exercise Bingo: Create a slip of paper for each of the spaces (i.e B1, N2, etc.), and put them in a hat. Pull out a slip of a paper, and conduct the exercise on that respective space for 1 minute. After the exercise is completed, pull out another slip. If you pull a free space, rest for one minute and drink water. The goal is to get two bingos on the same card.

1 Wide Push Ups Jumping Jacks Mountain Climbers Sit Ups Squats
2 Military Push Ups Burpees Free (1 minute break) Jump Squats Calf Raises
3 Plank High Knees Lunges Hip Bridges Arm Circles
4 Free (1 minute break) Butt Kickers 360 degree jumps Superman’s Free (1 minute break)

Speed Rope

A speed rope is very cheap item that will bring a hell of a lot of intd0c73dd1-e269-4b28-a360-57a2d7074ccf_1-89a1581b98b87ba35a057d771ef1ece7ensity into your workout. I would like to make the distinction between a jump rope and a speed rope, one is used for recreation and the other exercise. Don’t get discouraged, jumping rope is difficult at first, especially at high speeds. However, after practicing it for a few workouts you should pick it up quickly. You can find this modality for as cheap as $2.97 at your local Walmart. Check out this sample speed rope workout below!

15 Minute Speed Rope Circuit

Regular Jump (1:00) High-Speed High Knees Jump (1:00) Regular Jump (1:00)
High-Speed Jump (1:00) Regular Jump (1:00) Double Jumps (1:00)
Regular Jump (1:00) Single Leg Jump Rope (1:00) left Regular Jump (1:00)
High-Speed Side-to-Side Jump (1:00) Regular Jump (1:00) Scissor Jumps (1:00)
Regular Jump (1:00)(left) Single Leg Jump (1:00) right Regular Jumps (1:00)
  • Regular Jump– Normal jump rope at a regular pace.
  • High-Speed Jump– Jump as fast as you possibly can.
  • High-Speed Side-to-Side Jumps– Jump side to side with both feet as fast as possible while jumping over the rope.
  • High-Speed High Knees– Perform high knees while jumping over the rope.
  • Single Leg Jump Rope– Jump over the rope with only one leg, while the other is lifted off the ground.
  • Double Jumps– Jump high enough where you can perform two full revolutions of the jump rope before touching the ground.
  • Scissor Jumps– Put one foot in front of the other, jump, and then switch feet. Continue this process.

Medicine Ball

A medicine ball is yet another relatively cheap item that provides a lot of versatility when it comes to the amount of exercises you can perform with it. These can be found for anywhere between fifteen and thirty dollars. With its versatility nearly unmatched, here is three of the hundreds of moves you can perform with a medicine ball.

Medicine Ball Push-Ups are my personal favorite. The move is simply performing a push-up, but now there is a medicine ball under one of your hands. Medicine Ball Push-Ups have tons of versatility in their own right, and can also be performed with several balls, each placed on a different limb. It adds a balance and core component to boring old push-ups, and thus intensifies the move.  

Jump Squats are another already difficult move that Medicine Balls can intensify to push your body even further. This move is when you perform a normal squat, bending your knees to 90 degrees, and once you reach this point, explode straight up and jump in the air. Do all of this while holding the medicine ball in your hand.

Medicine Ball Burpees are another extremely challenging move that I love to use in both my workouts and the workouts of my clients. Start standing straight up, and then kneeling down and touching the medicine ball to the floor. Once the medicine ball reaches the floor, jump your legs back into Push Up position, and perform a Push Up with both hands on the medicine ball. Once the Push Up is completed, jump your feet back up to the ball, and stand up.

Agility Ladder

The Agility Ladder is my favorite thing that I mention in this entire article! It allows for workouts that challenge the coordination of the neuromuscular system, have high intense cardio components, and just provide for a fun and unique workout experience. All these benefits are only coupled when you realize it only costs eleven dollars at Walmart! Check out this Video with 30 speed ladder movements to see what it is all about!

Resistance Bands

Resistance Bands are the perfect replacement for weights for anyone that is on a tight budget. Not only do they serve the same practical purpose as dumbbells, but the difference in cost is absolutely astounding. While a pair of thirty-pound dumbells will cost around $40, the resistance bands will cost only $10! There are plenty of videos on YouTube that will take you through resistance band workouts from start to finish. 

All of this exercise equipment is a staple for the workouts I use for both my clients and myself. Not only are they all incredibly cheap and a perfect way to ensure proper intensity for your workouts, but they are extremely fun and challenging ways to workout. I promise that even if I had a billion dollar budget, these are exactly the things I would use to change my client’s lives!

This article was written by Alex Perelló.


3 thoughts on “Fitness on a Budget

  1. I love these suggestions. My favorite fitness investments were a yoga mat, jump rope, exercise hula hoop, and (admittedly a little more more pricey, $100-150), a folding exercise bike. I can fit my entire “gym” in a closet and it cost me under $200. Also, YouTube exercise videos.


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