SCULPT A NEW YOU
Many consumers chase the goals of losing weight and getting fit by joining a gym, at an average cost of about $700 a year -- and about two out of three don't use their memberships, according to data compiled by the Statistic Brain Research Institute. Others spring for a thousand-dollar treadmill or weight machine that ends up sitting idle. There are ways to get fit -- and stay motivated -- for much less. Try these approaches to working out at home in 2018.
MAKE A PLAN
FIND A GOOD FIT
After choosing a type of training to start, a YouTube video -- or even a workout DVD from the library -- can set the pace for free. Plenty of at-home fitness programs require no equipment, or just a few inexpensive items such as dumbbells or elastic bands for resistance training and a jump rope for cardio.
POSE ON DEMAND
Some quick online searching can lead to abundant free videos with step-by-step instructions for doing yoga. Free apps let users combine poses to create a complete workout in addition to choosing a predesigned sequence. Many apps also offer premium subscription services or unlock a suite of advanced features for $5 to $10 a month -- less than the cost of an in-studio class.
JOIN AN ONLINE COMMUNITY
Outside support is an important part of keeping a workout plan on track. Teaming up with others can boost motivation, and friendly competition can help push everyone along. Online communities such as Bodyspace, NerdFitness, and Reddit's r/Fitness are filled with thousands of fitness fanatics and amateurs willing to share advice and support.
EXERCISE FAST AND FURIOUSLY
TURN EXERCISE INTO A GAME
Video-game fans who need a push to get off the couch can find kindred spirits at Fitocracy. Users record their workouts to earn points and "level up." The platform also hosts coach-led, multi-week classes. Another popular downloadable fitness game is Zombies, Run!, which boasts more than 1 million participants and 200 missions. This app turns a run into a survival adventure as players collect supplies to build a town, dodge zombies, and explore the story with each mile.
PREPARE THE NIGHT BEFORE
Consider all the willpower it takes to wake up, get dressed, and go for a run (especially when it's wet or cold out), or squeeze in an at-home workout before the morning rush. Eliminate some of the decision-making and stress by preparing the night before. Set out or sleep in gym attire, pack a lunch, and do whatever else is possible to keep a lack of time from leading to a missed morning workout.
JOIN AN EMPLOYEE WELLNESS PROGRAM
Many employers provide incentives for healthy behavior such as exercise or participation in a smoking cessation program. The reward might be reduced insurance premiums, contributions to health savings accounts, discounts, or cash. In 2017, the average financial incentive offered through corporate wellness programs was $742 per employee, according to a survey by Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health, and the number has been trending upward.
WEIGH A WAGER
TRY ONLINE TRAINING PLANS
For one-on-one support and advice, a personal trainer is hard to beat -- but generally pricey. To keep costs down, opt for an online program that personalizes the experience, such as Daily Burn ($15 a month).