Anyone who has been inspired to join a gym at New Year, only to find they rarely use it, will know just how expensive memberships can be. But getting fit doesn't have to be costly - there are plenty of cheap and even free ways to get in shape.
While an all-singing, all-dancing 12-month membership to a luxury gym might seem like a good idea in the heat of the 'get fit' moment, in most cases it just ends up being an unused financial burden.
Yet many gyms, including FitnessFirst, Nuffield Health and LA Fitness offer free 'try before you buy' tasters that will give you an idea of whether it's really for you. If you're not convinced either way, it's a good idea to visit The Gym Website, a broker that'll give you all the best deals in your local area, and short-term memberships that might be a better option.
Pay as you go
It might work out more expensive in the long run, but if there's even a remote chance your fitness drive will peter out before the year is up, you'll still save money by paying as you go.
Local leisure centres should be your first port of all, as they are usually run on a pay-as-you-go basis, but there are others that allow you to pay by the month or by the day. The Gym Group charges as little as £5 a day for its 40 gyms in UK cities, while Xercise4less, Easy Gym, Fit Space and Simply Gym are others to try.
If motivation is your problem, an app could give you that extra push you need when the exercise regime gets tough, and many of them won't cost you a penny. Couch To 5k is a fine example. This app, available on iOS and Android, promises to get you from lounging on the sofa to comfortably running 5km within just nine weeks - all in only three training sessions a week.
Nike Training Club is a useful tool if you're unsure how to improve your fitness or work on specific areas. It provides you with a range of workout routines based on your personal level, and once you start working out, you'll unlock extra regimes, recipes and fitness tips to give you an added boost.
Meanwhile, if cycling for fitness is more your style, Strava Cycling adds a little fun competitive spirit. The GPS tracker measures your speed, distance and elevation, but it also allows you to compete with others who have ridden the same route.
YouTube has brought us helpful instructional videos on everything from dog grooming to DIY, and it is awash with fitness channels to help you slim down and tone up.
Some of the best include diet.com, a great all rounder with more than 500 videos covering exercise, weight loss, nutrition and healthy diet. Those for whom boredom strikes during your daily fitness regime may enoy BeFiT. The channel offers new workouts every weekday, including 30-day programmes to target certain areas, dance fit fun, cardio, strength-building and Pilates. And if the latter is your preferred method of training, try Blogilates, hosted by Pilates guru Cassey Ho. Easy-to-follow Pilates and yoga instruction is the name of the game, but she won't go easy on your muscles!
Have you found a cheap way to get fit? Leave your comments below...