How to get fit for free

The immense joy of stuffing our faces over the Christmas holidays has come to the end and you can’t even afford to buy a set of scales to find out how bad you’ve been. Deep down you know you need to get back into shape, but the January student loan has only just scraped you out of your overdraft…

However, expensive gym membership is no longer an excuse for getting stuck in the typical student chubby phase whilst at university. Getting fit can be budget friendly and more importantly, quick to fit in between your busy timetable of clubbi-, COUGH… studying; give some of the tips below a go!

Walk everywhere

Everything in Canterbury is in walking distance, so take advantage! If you are like me, that walk up to your lecture will probably end up being a brisk walk as your kept on snoozing your 10 alarms… yes, that’s not a typo. 10 alarms. But guess what… that’s even better for you! A study by Public Health England has shown its more effective exercise to concentrate on the speed you are walking than counting the number of steps.

Walk into town to do your weekly food shopping; here your return walk even has the added benefit of building up your arms as you carry heavy bags on both sides. It’s your own fault for buying that 2l bottle of full fat coke…

Download the ‘Couch to 5k’ App

This apps provides a free running plan for inexperienced runners to gradually build up your stamina to fully run 5k by the end of the 8-week plan. Sessions begin by alternating between jogging and walking which definitely makes the plan feel achievable when you start out. 3 days a week for half an hour will fly by (like the speed of your running by the end too, fingers crossed!).

Once you’ve mastered this distance, there’s also an app to train for a 10k run! Or you if your competitive side is calling you, there’s the option to participate in a free weekly event called ‘Parkrun’; it’s a timed 5k run taking place at the Pavilion on campus, where you may meet THE ONE. A running buddy, of course.

Follow a YouTube workout channel

Yoga, cardio workout, stretching… there’s an abundance of free fitness guide videos for every aspect of getting fit online! It’s a great way of exploring lots of exercise routines until you find one just right for you. Similar to going to a fitness class in the gym, there’s an instructor in front of you demonstrating how to properly complete each move. And of course, you can’t escape motivational music here either… BUT, there’s bonus’s too! You are in the comfort of your own home so no need to invest in any expensive gym wear and feel free to embrace sweat patches in all places, without an audience.

Examples: SweatyBetty, Pamela Rf, Fitness Blender

Ps. If a workout routine recommends using weights, improvise and use alternative items around your house. Unused bags of flour, bought as a fresher with aspirations of baking, can finally come in handy! They even have the weight already written on the side!

Discover your local outdoor gym

Experience the fresh air and freedom whilst toning up at a free outdoor gym; it’s certainly a great escape from the crowded and sweaty environment of an indoor gym. Outdoor gyms have become the latest playground for adults in local parks across the country. The nearest to campus is located at Park View playing field in Sturry; a 30-minute jog away makes for a perfect warm up before your workout. The equipment comes with instructions and are a lot simpler to use. You’ll find leg presses, rowing machines and cross trainers, to help you on the path of getting fit.

Fitting in “getting fit”

Give yourself rules. Don’t stop yourself from doing what you want but put a condition on it. For instance, if you are binge watching a series on Netflix, tell yourself between each episode you MUST complete a 10 minute YouTube workout. The perfect way of doing it this way is you aren’t even being lazy during the next episode, instead you are “recovering”. Sounds like logic to me!

Make a sick-AF playlist

You are definitely doing it wrong if you use the same playlist for studying and working out…. Just no.

Spotify’s very own “Workout” playlists are made of good stuff. However, their running playlists are on another level! They are split by heart-rate zones, so that the bass/beats in the song help you maintain the correct pace. Pretty useful I must say.

Record your progress

Keeping track of your body transformation, whether you prefer through photos or weight loss figures, will help keep you motivated with proof that the effort you are putting in IS making a difference! Download an app that allows you to share your workouts with your friends or the growing fitness community.

Strava is ideal app for running and cycling, where you can follow you friends and give them “Kudos” (a snazzy word for a thumbs up, or “good on you for getting out”, etc.). You can track your personal records for segments (stretches of road) and distances, whilst also comparing yourself to others on multiple leaderboards. Easy to get addicted to! Not such a bad thing if your getting fit because of it.

At the end of the day, you don’t need to be the next Jessica Ennis, but by fitting in a workout here and there will certainly lift your spirit and feel better about yourself, which is what matters!