bridgeb1It’s January and you’ll notice everyone is talking about fitness and New Year’s Resolutions. People are joining gyms, hiring trainers and signing up for specialty classes and programs. That all sounds great if you’ve got limited resources. But what do you do if your budget is a little tight and you need to get fitness on a budget? Well good news, fitness and health is not reserved just to the wealthy! So what do you do to achieve your New Year’s fitness resolutions and battle the bulge even though your wallet is skinny?

Let’s put first things first. The problem with anyone struggling financially is that it’s very easy to give up on making time and the budget for fitness.But fitness should be the last area of your life to put on the back burner and trim from the budget when finances are tight as it’s the very thing that is going to give you the energy and stamina to deal with any struggles you may have. If you don’t make time for fitness then plan on being forced to make the time for being sick and tired on top of everything else. Unwanted medical bills, prescription co-pays, and lost income due to illness, stress and injury are very costly alternatives to investing in you.

Often times the key to finding the budget for fitness is about perception and priority. For example many people view health club memberships as too expensive of an option for fitness when in fact buying a latte every day or your cable bill usually costs more than what a gym membership and two personal training sessions per month would cost. Now seriously, which of these two choices is going to get you into rock star shape in 2015?!

Also consider that many low-cost gym options have surfaced making fitness affordable for everyone.  Planet Fitness at $10/month and LA Fitness at $30/month is about as affordable as a fitness club membership could possibly get. But keep in mind, these types of options only work if you use them.  A low-cost, high volume gym banks on the fact that most people won’t use their membership so it’s just free money. $10 for nothing is an expensive use of your health budget so you have to be internally motivated to make this work and set up lifestyle systems to assure success and commitment!

So let’s just say that there is absolutely no budget for a gym.  Well, then let your body be your gym.  Did you know that after all of these years of scientific advancement into gym equipment and technology that many of the most effective fat burning and muscle sculpting exercises for your entire body are ones that only involve your body and use minimal to zero equipment?  Walking, running and hiking costs nothing.

Here’s a few muscle conditioning exercises to get you the physique you want on a seriously slim budget.


Are one of the best exercise moves you can do to tone your hips, buns and thighs and work your core at the same time.  Because this move involves your entire lower body and requires you to stabilize the motion it really burns a lot of calories in a short amount of time.

Step Ups

Like lunges, work your entire lower body and core, but also train your balance and coordination, so not only do you get the big calorie burn you also get fall and injury prevention at the same time.


Really get the back side back into the shape it’s supposed to be. This power packed exercise is great for really improving your “bottom line” if you know what we mean.  Add a small ball between your thighs and squeeze it while you do this move to really turn the heat up and get to those results even faster.


Target virtually every muscle in your upper body and core.  This power-packed exercise works your chest, shoulders, arms and abs in one easy to do movement.  For those that aren’t quite ready for the full floor push up, no problem, just use the wall or a chair at home to do them on an incline or just do them on the floor from your knees.

Bent Over Row w/Balance

A great way to target your entire upper, middle and lower back, weak rotator cuff muscles along with your balance and important leg stabilizers. You can use soup cans for additional resistance.

Full Body Calorie Blast: Squat + Shoulder Press Combo

If you ever wanted to save time while burning some serious calories and tone your body all in one shot then this is the exercise for you. You can use soup cans for additional resistance to really tone the entire body while draining your fat reserves.

Sherri McMillan, M.Sc. has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for over 25 years and has received numerous industry awards including International Personal Trainer and Fitness Presenter of the Year. She is the author of five books including “Go For Fit – the Winning Way to Fat Loss” and “Fit over Forty” and is the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs.  She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver and can be seen running, hiking or cycling with her two children, Brianna and Jackson.  She can be reached at or

Note:  As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a 2 week pass at her world-class training studio to help get you started.  Contact 360.574.7292 for more details.

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at

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