Get Fit for (practically) Free!

My dad and I this past September after we completed our second half-marathon together. 

The most common excuses people use to avoid working out and getting fit are generally: a lack of time and/or money, or not knowing where to start or what to do. While I cannot solve your time issue (although, Tim Ferris can!),  I am able to point you in the direction of free, or almost free, resources for working out sans the gym.

I have personally used, or currently use, the following resources with great success. And I, like many of you, get bored easily using the same workout plan or movements. After about ten years of trial or error, I’ve finally found a routine that works for me and has got me feeling and looking great!

The below is my typical weekly workout plan, and I’ve provided links to all of the apps and websites so that you can try them out too!

(Disclaimer: You should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting this or any other fitness program to determine if it is right for your needs).

Monday: Bikini Body Guide Workout by Kayla Itsines

There’s an initial cost to purchasing the 12 week guide, but I highly recommend it and it is 100% worth the price. I got in the best shape of my life using this three month program, and continually go back to it year after year. My 65-year old father has even had incredible results by doing it three times a week. Kayla’s Instagram account is also very inspiring and she has created a body-positive, health-minded community of people all over the world.

Tuesday: Run

I’ve started to run home from work once a week, and I love it because it is free, I get to explore my city, and I feel like I’m being super productive by exercising, commuting, and listening to an audiobook all at once!

My favorite app for running is MapMyRun because it’s fun to not only track my mileage and pace, but I also get to compete against my boyfriend, dad, and other friends in various challenges. (I’m currently kicking everyone’s butt in the two week step challenge!)

Again, there’s an initial cost associated with running; namely shoes and workout clothes, but once you’ve bought them, the cost per run is minimal. I always run with a lightweight athletic hat and fanny pack too, so I can protect my face and eyes from the sun, and carry my keys, cards/id (just in case), cell phone, chapstick, bandaids, and pepper spray (yep, I’m a woman). I tend to be overly prepared wherever I go, but you never know when it will come in handy.

I also love running around D.C. because I get to explore places I would normally not go, and I enjoy the interactions I have with people on the road. I always make a point to smile and at least say “hi” to the people I pass. While “community building” is not something that one would normally associate with outdoor exercise, it’s amazing how much more comfortable and connected I feel to my community by engaging in meaningful, albeit brief, greetings with random strangers.

Wednesday: Bikini Body Guide by Kayla Itsines

Thursday: Run

Friday: Bikini Body Guide by Kayla Itsines

Saturday and Sunday: Depending on how I’m feeling and what I have going on during the day, I will either choose to go running, do some yoga, enjoy a rest day, or do a shorter strength building workout using the 30 day workout phone apps.

Yoga with Adriene: is my all-time favorite yoga teacher and YouTube channel, and best of all, it’s completely free! She has amazing 30 day programs, and searchable videos of all different lengths when you want to work on a specific pose or part of the body. It’s perfect for everyone, from beginners to advanced. She’s really sweet and quirky, and I always feel wonderful after doing her videos.

The 30 day workout apps are fun because they target specific parts of the body, and are a perfect way of easing back into working out if you’ve been away from it for a while. During my summer of travel, these apps were my primary method for staying in shape, and I was really impressed with my level of fitness post-trip. It definitely helped me maintain my strength and I didn’t have to start from square one after returning to the U.S. All of the apps are free and you can do them anywhere; no equipment necessary. I didn’t even use a mat when I was abroad, just a towel sometimes when doing certain floor exercises.

Other great YouTube channels for easing you back into exercising, or for targeting specific muscle groups are:



Last word: getting fit is hands down one of the best ways to stay healthy, improve your confidence, happiness, sleep habits, sex drive, and avoid the doctor and high medical bills! Even if you start by doing it ten minutes a day, you will see results and a positive impact on many facets of your life.


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