Money & Career

6 frugalista fitness tips

By: Yuki Hayashi

Author: Canadian Living

Money & Career

6 frugalista fitness tips

By: Yuki Hayashi
You don't have to spend loads of cash to lose a little (or a lot) of weight. If you can't afford luxurious perks like personal training sessions or high-end, diet-conscious packaged meals, don't fret. Our low-cost, easy and effective diet-and-fitness tips will have you shedding weight while trimming your household budget at the same time.

1. Join the YMCA
Why pay $50 per month per adult gym membership, plus another $100 per month on private gymnastics and swim classes per child, when one $120/month family YMCA membership will snag the grown ups unlimited use of equipment, lap pools and many classes – plus as many classes as you can overschedule (just kidding) your kids into?

Money saved per month:
A family of four fitness buffs can save $280 per month by hitting the YMCA.

2. Walk, bike or blade to work
Cut the number of fill-ups you need each month by using your own steam – and burning your own calories. If a car is essential for getting your kids to school and daycare on time each morning, consider splitting drop-off duties with your spouse or a neighbour so you can walk, bike or blade to work at least half of the time.

Money saved per month:
The cost of getting and keeping a standard midsize car on the road in Canada averages about $6,200 per year (and can go as high as $9,000 if you drive over 18,000 km per year), so if you can cut one vehicle from a two-car household, you’ll save hundreds of dollars each month.

And just walking, biking or blading to the office one day per week can save you $40 per month in parking – almost $500 per year.

3. Shop the outside aisles
The outside perimeters of the supermarket are where you can find the most nutritious, fresh, and frequently, least marked-up grocery items like dairy, bread, meats, seafood, and produce. It's easier to control the fat, sodium and calories in from-scratch dishes rather than the convenience foods shelved in the middle shelves of the supermarket, so focus on the outside aisles. Your pocketbook and waistline will both thank you.

Money saved per month: Savings depend on the size of your family and the type of foods you favour. But anytime you buy whole foods rather than processed foods, you're paying less per meal because you're not paying a premium for processing and extra packaging.

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4. And freezer section
An exception to the above rule is if you find yourself throwing out a lot of spoiled veggies and fruit each week. Stop the waste by switching to frozen, which has the same amount of nutrients as fresh since the fruits and veggies are flash frozen at their peak. Use frozen fruit in smoothies or low-fat muffins, or thaw fruit chunks to enjoy with yogurt or in salads. Frozen vegetables can pare precious minutes from your dinner-prep time since washing and cutting isn't required. Be sure to buy plain frozen produce, not frozen convenience foods: the added butter, oils, sodium and sugar will add to the produce’s cost, as well as calorie load.

Money saved per month: Again, the savings vary, in this case depending on what produce you favour, the time of year (berries, for instance, always cost more midwinter then in-season in early summer), and whether you buy your produce at a discount grocer or splurge on high-quality organic produce. But less food thrown out means money saved, either way, and by the way, you can find frozen veggies at all price and quality points, too, from bulk/savings to premium organics.

5. Interval train
Shorter, more intense bursts of exertion interspersed with equal amounts of slower-paced recovery time have been proven to gain faster results than even, steady efforts when it comes to losing weight. Push yourself harder, and you can cut your weekly gym time, say from three or four 90-minute gym sessions to an equal number of hard, butt-whoopin’ 45-minute workouts,  giving you more time to:
• work more (making you more money);
• get home faster and cook from scratch (saving calories and money); or
• walk back to work or home afterwards (saving you cash on transit or cab fare).

Money saved per month: Your savings vary, but let's say you took on an extra hour of work – that could snag you an extra $22 per shorter gym session, or as much as $265 per month assuming you pick up an extra hour of paid work for three gym sessions per week. Even if you pull in minimum wage, that's still about an extra $100 per month.

6. Head for the hills
Grab your honey and kids, put on your runners, and go for a walk in the woods. It's a great way to get some cardio, work your core and lower body, and connect with nature as a family. Bring binoculars and bird watch, collect leaves and pine cones and take some photos. If you're making an afternoon of it, pack healthy treats and plenty of water so you can stay fueled and not succumb to a Tim's break on the way back home. TIP: The woods are usually a better choice than the waterfront or city streets since there are fewer restaurant and convenience store distractions!

Money saved per month: If your idea of a once-a-month Sunday treat is going to the movies and chowing down on popcorn and pop, you can save an average of $65 when you trade the flick for the forest.

Read more:
Easy ways to save money
10 ways to save money on gas
10 things your wasting your money on

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6 frugalista fitness tips