I’ve got a love-hate (or maybe hate-hate) relationship with fitness. Let’s just say there are plenty of things I’d rather be doing than exercising, but it’s a necessary evil. I’ve tried so many different exercise options, from running to the gym to dance classes, you name it I’ve tried it. I’ve never found something I love but it’s definitely easier to stick with it if you make it a habit. The other thing I have a hard time with when it comes to fitness is how expensive it can be. You might think paying to workout would motivate me to do it more often but that hasn’t been the case. It ends up just making me cranky and less motivated.
To combat that, and make more room in my budget for things I actually love, I’ve built up a list of free fitness resources that keep me in shape.
I’ve found I prefer working on in the privacy of my own home. Who really wants to deal with crowded gyms anyways? You will want to have some basic equipment available to make the most of your workouts, but it’s easy to keep the cost low. I’ve been able to stock my very limited (but completely functional) home gym for less than a month’s gym membership fee. A new set of free weights won’t cost you a lot (like these) but they’re also easy to find used on Kijiji or at garage sales. You’ll also want a yoga mat, especially if you’re working out on a hard surface. Once you have those you’ll be all set to start an at home workout routine.
I really enjoy yoga, and it’s one of the few fitness activities I have stuck with consistently over the years. I used to have a pass to a local studio that I really loved but it eventually shut down, and I never found a suitable replacement. Yoga can get really expensive and the class times aren’t always convenient for my schedule. I’ve found that using online alternatives have filled the void. There are options out there on the world wide web that give you access to knowledgeable instructors with high quality, full-length videos that you can do in your own living room whenever you have the time.
My two favourite sites are:
I love, love, love Adriene’s videos! She’s got a really great selection of videos with full classes and shorter videos teaching the foundations of yoga, plus she’s funny and doesn’t take herself too seriously. If Adriene taught classes in Edmonton I would absolutely pay to go, she really is that great.
If you’re just starting out on your yoga journey or wanting to get back into the flow, you should check out one of her 30-day challenges. Each of the past few years she has put out a new practice video each day in January to help you get motivated and stick with a regular practice. I’ve done all of them so far and have often gone back to repeat some of the workouts. Most of the videos are about 30 minutes long and vary things up, so some days are a real physical challenge and others you get to relax into it.
Another excellent (and Canadian) resource with LOTS of full-length videos and a variety of yoga styles and skill levels. These videos are less consistent that Adriene’s and I’ve found I like some of the teachers more than others but there are some good ones. Many of the videos are shot outside, so the quality isn’t always the best, but I’ve never had a problem following along.
A couple of videos I go back to again and again are David Procyshyn’s ‘Yoga for the Upper Back‘ and his ‘Deep Release for the Hips, Hamstrings, and Lower Back‘. Both are great if you suffer from back pain or sit at a desk all day, and he does the most relaxing guided meditation. The site now also offers a variety of challenges if you need a little extra motivation. Similar to Adriene’s, they offer 30-day challenges for different skill levels. I haven’t tried any of these out yet but I will for sure in the future. Following a 30-day challenge really helps to get me on the mat every day.
Weights and Cardio
Maybe yoga isn’t your thing or you want to include some more intense workouts. There are plenty of free resources online that will fit your cardio and weight training needs. If you do a search on YouTube you’ll come up with a ton of results. Not all of them are worth your time though. Some of the videos are poor quality with annoying instructors. I’ve tried a lot of options but always end up going back to these two when I want to up the ante a bit.
Daniel and Kelli are a husband a wife team that will work you out hard! They’ve got tons of videos on everything from HIIT to pilates, and many of the videos don’t require you to have any equipment. Their website is also really user-friendly with super simple search options. You can choose a particular body part to work or search by ability level or length of the video.
I’ve done their 5-Day Workout Challenge for Busy People (all workouts are less than 30 minutes), and thought it was great. It would be the perfect place to start if you’re new to the site. Each of the videos can be modified to meet your ability level and targets different body parts throughout the week.
They also have paid programs that include a nutrition guide and calendar of workouts if you want something more structured. I have purchased one in the past and thought it was valuable. They are reasonably priced but not at all necessary. If you sign-up for the website (it’s free) you can plan your own workout calendar to keep yourself on track.
XHIT is another great YouTube resource with a huge selection of workouts. These ones tend to have picture perfect trainers in skimpy outfits but if you can get past that (sometimes I can, sometimes I can’t) I find the workouts to be effective and fast. Most of the videos are short with a specific target (abs, butt, arms, etc.). I like to patch a few of them together for a complete workout. Sometimes forcing yourself to commit to one ten minute video can get you motivated enough to tackle one or two more.
Just a note, XHIT hasn’t posted any new videos in about a year but their archives are still available and have enough variety to keep you moving.
What do you guys think about at home workouts? Are you loyal to your gym or do you prefer working out in the comfort of your own home? Are there other free fitness resources that you use?
This post was proofread by Grammarly.