MONEY Stay Up & Save: How to get in shape on a budget

You could wait for gym membership deals at the beginning of the year, or you can get ahead with these tips and tricks to staying fit for cheap.

With the new year just around the corner, you know people will be changing up their lifestyles and joining gyms for resolution season, which is a great thing. But you could go ahead and beat them to it and save some money in the process.

We spoke with Jared Graybeal, fitness expert, personal trainer and coach. He also serves as the CEO of Superfit Foods meal prep company, located at 315 11th Ave. N. in Jacksonville Beach.

His first piece of advice for saving money specifically is to get with a fitness professional, but not necessarily a personal trainer.

“If you’re just getting into fitness, leverage a professional, but a personal trainer can be expensive,” he said. “So try group training.”

Second, use social media for your benefit. Sure, it can be a toxic place where unreal body image and expectations meet over-hyped influencers who are trying to sell the next great fat-burning supplement (don’t fall for it). However, when social media is used for the right reasons, it can be a great place to get motivated and find fitness tips, programs and workouts that you can do.

“Through social media, there are a lot of great online challenges too,” he said. “So look for those, because the challenge platforms they’re creating bring accountability.”

Keep in mind that the best fitness program is the one that you’re going to do consistently and for the long haul over time. Whether it’s a powerlifting regimen twice a day or walking 30 minutes three times per week, both have their benefits.

Graybeal says the cheapest and best way to make sure you’re being active consistently is to find a friend.

“If you don’t want to spend any money, find an accountability partner,” he said. “Find a good friend who is on the same journey as you and just move your body three days a week.”

Also, check around your neighborhood. Some HOA fees cover a community fitness center. The same applies to apartment and condo complexes, so check for the free places to workout.

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