Help me, I'm poor.

Words by

Bec Russo

Being broke is no fun. Having to give up luxuries like music festivals, gym memberships and avocados is even less fun. (Oh guacamole, how I miss you.)

Let’s face facts: unless you’re a complete gym rat who inexplicably has a shit tonne of motivation, having a gym membership is basically like throwing money down the drain. You never go as often as you’d like, you struggle to get motivated and you’re often left cursing every second Monday when the direct debit gets taken out and you’re left penniless. 

But there are ways to cut corners on your path to exercise glory that’ll bring you to DJ Khaled levels of wealth and success. You just need to be a stingey bitch about it. 

1. Use what you got

Can’t afford weights? No worries. Try lifting a few cans of tomato puree to really sculpt those bis and tris. Your one litre water bottle/your cat/your laundry basket are also great substitutes, depending on how hard you wanna go. Fair warning: coercing your lazy cat to get off his ass and be your 4kg dumbbell is exercise in itself. 

2. Get creative

Instead of just simply walking over to the fridge for your afternoon snack, try lunge walking your way there. Dropped your bag? Do a sumo squat on your way down, squeezing those glutes as you go. Watching Netflix in bed? See how many sit ups you can do in the time it takes for the next episode to load. And if your Internet is as bad as mine, you’ll be pushing 20 in no time. (This probably says more about how bad my Internet connection is than how good of an exerciser I am, but I’m trying my best to see it as a positive, okay?)

3. Make stairs your friend

Repeat after me: I shall take the stairs everywhere. It’s a pretty sneaky way to get your heart pumping and you probably won’t even know you’re exercising. Rocking up to the office every day huffing and puffing after seven flights of stairs is worth it, you guys. I promise. 

4. Stand up 

Yeah, yeah standing desks are all the rage now but that’s exactly not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about standing when you’re on public transport so that you can practice your kegel exercises. No, seriously! It’s the best place to discreetly strengthen your vag and everyone’s so engrossed in their phones anyway. They won’t even notice you awkwardly clenching your inner muscles and trying your best to keep your breathing regular. 

5. Find a running buddy

Running sucks. I’m just going to say it. Whoever thought running for “exercise” purposes was a good idea needs to take a long, hard look at themselves. 

For those of us who struggle to keep focused while running, your best bet is to try and coerce a fit friend into running with you (maybe in exchange for brunch?) They’re guaranteed to push you, especially if there’s a free meal in it at the end. 

6. If you can’t find a running buddy, just be sneaky about it

If none of your friends are up for a run at 7am on Saturday morning (honestly, who could blame them?) try heading to a busy park where there are lots of other runners. Find another runner, or even a running group, and follow them wherever they go. The key is to strategically keep at least ten paces behind them. tThat way you’re getting free motivation and you’ll be able to discreetly switch directions if they spot you following them. 

7. Speaking of motivation…

One of the reasons we join gyms is to get motivated and inspired by others. Obviously if you’re without gym, you’re without those familiar borders of reinforcement. This is where the Internet steps in. There are so many YouTube videos on the web, it’s hard to pick a favourite (actually it’s this one, it’s always this one). 

There’s also the Coach.me app that acts like your own personal fitness coach, sending you text message reminders about eating well and exercising. I get mine to send me a reminder at 5.30PM every day to go for a run, and I honestly feel bad when I don’t obey it.

8. Finally, be as cheap as humanly possible

Sign up for as many free fitness classes and free weekly gym trials as possible. Classes, trials, fun runs and the like are all available using our fave Internet oracle, Google. It may sound sketchy, but if you Google your city and “free fitness classes” you’re bound to find something legit. For instance: Melburnians, did you know there are free fitness classes at Fed Square on Tuesdays and Fridays? Yep. There’s a lot more out there than you think. Go on, nothing’s stopping you now, right?  

Illustration by Twylamae who gets fit by dancing like Elaine Benes to 'Sorry'.

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