It’s human nature to resolve to get fit at least once a year – usually at the beginning of summer or the new year. The fitness industry is booming with new fads, diets, and fashion introduced daily – a trend showing no sign of stopping. According to Fitness Australia, the fitness industry is estimated at over 1 billion dollars a year, with over 3000 gyms and fitness centres in Australia. These figures don’t include the market for personal trainers or online fitness spending. If you wanted to get fit a decade ago, your options consisted of going to the gym (during ‘normal’ hours), playing sport or pursuing a free pastime such as jogging. Fast forward to today and the options are endless – our advice is to pick what works best for your lifestyle and your budget to ensure you commit.

24-hour gyms: The 24-hour fitness centre has revolutionised the exercise regime for shift workers and perpetual insomniacs. Keyless entry and staff-less workout rooms are now a key part of the fitness landscape, and the fastest growing sector of the fitness centre industry. If going to the gym at 2 in the morning suits your lifestyle, then make sure you pick a gym that has 24-hour access. This ensures opening hours isn’t an excuse for you giving up.

Apps: Fitness apps are one of the most popular categories on iTunes/Google Play and cover everything from following a yoga class, achieving a fitness goal, to measuring calories burnt. Often you can take advantage of a free trial to see if the app works for you, before committing to a subscription. The best feature of an app is that you tap into it at a time that suits you best – there’s no structured timetable. However even though many apps push new notifications to you, it can be difficult to remain motivated. From a budget perspective, it makes sense to try before you buy, and use one app at a time.

Online choices: There has been an explosion on online exercise programs, particularly through YouTube, which has provided an international audience to every fitness trainer worth their salt. Michelle Bridges (of ‘The Biggest Loser’) has turned her fame into a multi-million-dollar exercise empire with the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Challenge Program. Online programs tend to offer more support and features than a fitness app, but it can be difficult to remember to return to the website (unless classes, tips, eating plans or other information is pushed to you by email or a supporting app). Again, we suggest undertaking a free trial to see if you like the program, prior to making a financial commitment for months at a time. Also see what reviews are available about the program to see if other users consider it value for money.

Exercise classes: Gyms have transformed considerably in the last few years to keep up with client demands and exercise trends. Many now offer a full interactive exercise experience as fitness fanatics seek new and varied ways to stave off exercise boredom. Think disco spin classes, indoor rock climbing, power yoga, and group treadmill classes. Generally, you can pay for classes without being a member of the gym (if they’re aligned) and may only need to commit to half a dozen. Often you will be able to try a class for free to see if you like it. These classes are good if you’re motivated to attend each class to get what you paid for, but need some encouragement to make it through to the end!

The freebie: Power walking or running is nothing new, but the ability to entertain or educate yourself while exercising gets better and better. Incidental exercise – physical activity you undertake as part of day-to-day life (think walking the kids to school, taking the stairs instead of the lift) – is one of the main ways you can exercise without even knowing you’re doing it. Best of all it’s free. If exercising for free appeals to you, but motivating yourself to do it is a problem, consider making plans with friends or family, exercising during your lunch hour, or joining a running or walking club (easily found online). Many councils across Australia have now recognised the benefits of improving the fitness of their residents, and offer free fitness classes to get them going.

With a myriad of choices, getting or keeping fit needn’t cost you anything. After some research you’ll be able to find an option that suits your financial situation, lifestyle, fitness level, and ability to commit.

If you’re trying to identify ways to achieve your goals without sacrificing your financial well-being, you don’t need to do it alone. A financial adviser (or planner) spends their days identifying and presenting opportunities to their clients. Our simple, quick, free service will connect you to the best independent financial advisers, based on your needs. Click here to get started.

The information in this article is general in nature and does not take into consideration your personal situation or circumstances. You should consider whether the information contained in this article is suitable to your needs and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser or other finance professional.

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