How to get fit on a budget

How would you like to get fit by losing weight or building muscle without spending a ton of money?

What if you could finally fit back into your pre-pregnancy jeans? We’re talking about targeting stubborn stomach fat and getting to a happy and healthy weight.

No one wants to feel overweight.

Unfortunately, it’s way easier to pack pounds on than it is to maintain a healthy weight.

Luckily for you, I’m going to share the best kept secrets of fitness expert for getting fit. Why wouldn’t fitness experts share their secrets?

Because fitness experts couldn’t sell you anything if you knew the exact formula for getting fit, losing weight or getting ripped.

Are you struggling to get fit? Weight loss doesn't have to be expensive or difficult. Read how you can get fit at home without equipment as a beginner!

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A quick work on self image

Society places a huge burden on women to look a certain way.

Every day you are bombarded with advertising which is heavily influenced by looks. Brands are trying to create an image of what is sexy and what you should look like.


Because brands are trying to sell you a product by influencing your emotions. You could look like a model if you buy this makeup or lose 10 pounds with this pill.

Brands are creating an impossible standard to live up to. Do you know how much Photoshop goes into creating, “the ideal woman”?

Seriously, here’s an example:

See it on YouTube

It’s important to get fit and lose weight for the right reasons. Let’s lose weight to get healthy and not because you want to live up to the impossible standard of society created by marketers.

Remember, at the end of the day you are loved and beautiful in your own way.

Establish a goal: weight loss or build muscle

The first thing you should do when trying to get fit is determine your goal. Do you want to lose weight or build muscle?

Most people looking to get fit want to lose weight. Therefore, this article will be geared toward people wanting to lose weight, specifically excess body fat.

I’m sure you already have an idea of your fitness goals, so let’s dive into the good stuff!

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How is fat burned?

Calories are the single most important factor one needs to consider when they want to lose or gain weight.

But what about exercise?

Exercise is cool, but 90% of your weight loss effort will come from focusing on consuming the right amount calories. The remaining 10% of weight loss comes from exercising.

Let me break this down.

A calorie is a basic unit for measuring energy. You consume food and your body converts that food into energy for functioning. Calories are used by the body for basic tasks like keeping your brain functioning, breaking down food, and burned through exercise.

Your body requires a certain number of calories each day to maintain weight, depending on your metabolism. Consume too many calories and your body gains weight. Consume fewer calories and your body loses weight.

As Vox reports, your metabolism is one of the most critical components to lose weight. Picking up a bad habit, such as one soda a day, may be the cause of your weight gain due to extra calories.

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So how many calories do I need to lose weight?

One pound of fat is equivalent to roughly 3,500 calories.

Therefore, to lose one pound per week you would have to reduce your caloric intake by 500 calories from your required calories to maintain weight.

Slow and steady weight loss increases your chances for success. Attempting to restrict too many calories too quickly causes starvation and binge eating.

Make sure you are setting realistic goals!

So how do you determine how many calories you need to lose weight?

Related: How to lose weight on a budget

Step #1 – Determine how many calories you need to maintain weight

The best way to determine your base caloric needs is to use a calorie calculator, such as the free calculator from Life Span Fitness.

Get fit with calorie calculators

You’ll need to enter in your Sex, Weight, Height, Age, and your Activity Level. These five factors determine how many calories your body requires in a single day.

Next, hit calculated to see your results.

Get fit: Calorie calculator results

I would need to consume 2,054 calories every day to maintain my weight.

Step #2 – Calculate calorie consumption to meet your weight loss goals

Remember, one pound is 3,500 calories. In order to lose one pound every 10 days, I would need to reduce my daily caloric intake by 350 calories. Therefore, my daily calorie goal should be to consume 1,704 calories.

The opposite is true if I wanted to build muscle mass. I would need to consume an additional 350 calories to gain one pound per 10 days.

So what separates people who gain fat vs muscle?

The difference is the amount of exercise (weight lifting) someone does. If you lift weights, your body needs extra calories to build muscle. If you don’t lift weights, your body needs to do something with the extra energy and is stored as fat.

Step #3 – Adjust your calories as you lose weight

You’re losing weight. Awesome!

Guess what? As you lose weight the amount of calories you need to maintain weight decreases. You’ll need to adjust accordingly.

In the previous example, I needed 2,054 calories to maintain my weight at 160 lbs. Assuming I lose 10 lbs, I now need 1,979 calories to maintain my weight.

Get fit: Calorie calculator results 150 lbs

As you can see, dropping 10 pounds means I need 75 less calories to maintain my weight. Forgetting to adjust calories after weight loss is why some people plateau in their weight loss journey.

Get fit tips: Weight and Fat loss

So we’ve established the best way to get fit is through watching the calories you consume. No gym membership or expensive equipment required!

However, losing stubborn belly fat can still pose a challenge for even the most diligent calorie counters.

Not all foods and calories are created equal and nutrition should be your primary focus.

Remember to drink water! Water is important for weight loss because it flushes out our system. You should use the bathroom frequently, because “if it’s not coming out it’s not coming off.”

Here are some weight and fat loss tips that will help you achieve healthy weight loss, faster.

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Fat loss tips

  1. Eat soluble fiberEating fiber will help you stay fuller longer which helps you to consume fewer calories.
  2. Avoid alcohol – There is absolutely zero health benefit to consuming alcohol. Studies have shown drinking alcohol helps you to retain extra stomach fat.
  3. Avoid sodaSugary sodas are high in calories. The sugar tricks your brain into thinking you’re hungry, so you consume extra calories. Diet sodas aren’t much better as they are linked to numerous health problems.
  4. Get plenty of sleep – Your body needs sleep for basic functioning. When your body is well rested you can burn fat more efficiently.
  5. Avoid sugar – sugar is linked to numerous health problems and over consumption of sugar is linked with excess belly fat.
  6. Eat protein Protein will help preserve your muscle mass as you lose weight and keep you feeling full.
  7. Stay stress freeStress actually increases your appetite making it harder to consume fewer calories.
  8. Reduce carb consumptionCarbohydrates are used as your bodies primary source of energy. That means your body would rather use the bagel you ate for energy over your fat cells.
  9. Weight train – Weight training will help preserve your muscle mass as you lose weight. Training with weights is one of the most ideal exercises for losing fat.
  10. Take Omega-3 fatty acidsOmega-3 fatty acids can help reduce your stubborn belly fat. Taking a supplement or eating fish is a great source of Omega-3.
  11. Take Probiotics – Probiotics support healthy gut bacteria which can help regulate weight.

Following these tips will help you burn stomach fat while boosting your metabolism. I know it can be difficult to give up alcohol, but you have to decide if you really want to lose weight.

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Foods that burn fat

Proper nutrition is everything when you’re trying to lose weight. Eating 500 calories of donuts is not the same as eating 500 calories of strawberries.

Your body needs nutrients!

These foods have shown to increase your chances of successful weight loss.

  1. Fish – Great source of Omega-3 fatty acids.
  2. MCT and Coconut oil – Fats easily incorporated into cooking.
  3. Eggs – Great source of protein.
  4. Coffee and Green Tee – caffeine rich for a metabolism boost.
  5. Berries – Rich in antioxidants.
  6. Avocado – Healthy fat source.
  7. Grape Fruit – Controls insulin to keep blood sugar at normal levels.
  8. Walnuts – Full of Omega-3 fatty acids.
  9. Kale – High in fiber.
  10. Brown rice – Helps regulate blood sugar levels.

Make sure you try and incorporate these foods into your diet plan. Careful meal planning is key to reducing your body fat percentage.

How to measure fat loss

When measuring progress, it’s important to track fat loss over weight loss. Weight loss could mean muscle or fluid loss rather than what’s important, fat.

So how do you measure fat loss?

You will need body fat calipers to accurately measure and track your fat loss progress.

See it on Amazon.

The basic concept is that you pinch an area of body fat and use the calipers to take a reading. Here’s a video from ehowhealth with instructions on how to use a body fat caliper.

See it on YouTube.

You can often find a personal trainer at your local gym with a pair of body fat calipers. Most personal trainers would be willing to measure your body fat percentage for you.

The best diet plans to help you get fit

There are so many diet plans offering to help you lose weight quickly. Which ones can you trust?

Getting fit is all about one thing, eating healthy.

You should be able to get fit as long as you’re eating nutrient dense food within your calorie goal. However, you might want the option to follow a diet plan.

Here are some of the best diet plans to help you lose weight.

Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet is ideal for losing weight. The diet is based on foods you would find in countries surrounding the Mediterranean sea.

So what’s in the diet? Eggs, fish, beans, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats.

See it on Amazon.

What are common problems with the Mediterranean diet?

Most notable is over consumption of olive oil which is very dense in calories. You should consider switching olive oil for coconut or MCT oil.

Another problem is the lack of protein consumed on the diet. Often people consume more vegetables with the Mediterranean diet but neglect necessary protein.

How should you use the Mediterranean diet effectively?

Consume a healthy portion of protein, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats in every meal. The key is to consume a balanced diet.

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Ketogenic diet

The keto diet is a low-carb diet that emphasizes consuming healthy fats and proteins to drop fat quickly.

The high fat and protein will help you stay fuller longer. People who start the ketogenic diet typically see weight loss faster and with greater weight loss.

Here is a video from PROMiXX that will help you understand the basics of keto. The video is geared towards weight lifters, but someone looking to get fit with weight loss will benefit from the keto diet as well.

See it on YouTube

How to stay motivated to lose weight

Weight loss isn’t an easy journey. Most people quit and fall back into old habits.

So how do we make sure that you don’t become a new years resolutioner that quits?

Here are some tips to keep your fat loss journey going strong.

  1. Get an accountability partner – Tell someone, if not everyone about your goal to lose weight. The more people you tell, the harder it will be for you to quit.
  2. Set realistic goals – Losing weight takes time. Try shooting for realistic weight loss goals and remember to value body fat percentage over weight loss. It becomes harder to lose fat with each percentage lost.
  3. Track your progress – Keep a weight loss journal to track how far you’ve come.
  4. Surround yourself with other like minded individuals – If you surround yourself with others looking to lose weight who are motivated, you’ll be dragged up to their level. The opposite is true, surround yourself with low motivated people and you’ll lose motivation.
  5. Reward yourself – Take a mini vacation or give yourself a reward for hitting a goal.
  6. Stay positive – The more positive you are about the situation, the longer you’ll stay motivated. Don’t let negative self talk enter your head.
  7. Don’t give up during bad times – If you have a cheat day, don’t throw your progress away! Get back on track to getting fit and pretend like nothing happened.

Find what motivates you to get fit and hold onto it! Stay positive and love yourself.

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The best supplements for weight loss

A common question is, “what are the best supplements for weight loss?”

Honestly, you’ll probably be fine if you never end up taking a supplement. However, adding the right supplement can give you a boost!

So what supplements should you consider taking? Here are the supplements I would recommend if you are looking to lose fat.

Remember, you shouldn’t be trying to lose weight while pregnant. Supplements should also be recommended by a medical professional before taking while pregnant.

B vitamins

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B vitamins will help keep your energy levels high. With high energy levels, you will be able to stay more active and burn more calories.

Personally, I notice a huge difference in energy levels when I take my B vitamins. I’m able to keep up with my kids, get more work done, and have long lasting energy. I would highly recommend B vitamins to anyone looking to lose weight or with low energy.

Omega 3 fish oil

See it on Amazon.

Omega 3 fatty acids are great for health benefits all around. However, fish oil my reduce hunger and appetite which makes them perfect for weight loss.

Fish oil can also help increase your metabolism. With a higher matabolism, you burn more calories and naturally, more fat!

Some studies claim that you burn more calories while exercising if you take fish oil supplements. Fish oils are most effective when used in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle.

Exercises to lose weight

You should incorporate exercise into your daily routine when you’re looking to lose weight. However, keep in mind that your daily calorie intake is more important than exercise.

So many exercises exist, so how do you know which exercise is best for losing weight?

The honest answer, do what exercise interests you!

The goal is to stop being a couch potato and start becoming more active. Find an activity you love so that you stick with it long term. What’s the point of doing yoga for weight loss if it doesn’t interest you as much as kayaking?

Summary: Watch your calories and be an active body, doing something you love!

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Weight and resistance training

If you’re trying to lose weight, weight and resistance training is critical to maintaining muscle mass.

One of the best ways to get fit is through body weight fitness, the practice of exercising with only your body. You don’t need a gym or a treadmill and you can start in the comfort of your own home.

Here is a video by Fortress that gives you a brief intro into body weight fitness.

See it on YouTube

While the video has some flashy stunts, you can customize your body weight fitness workout plan to your level of fitness.

Jumping rope to lose weight

Jumping rope can burn 25% more calories than running. For every minute of jump roping, most people can expect to burn somewhere between 15 to 20 calories per minute.

Using a jump rope is one of the best ways to burn calories quickly.

So how do you know how many calories you burned during your jump rope workout?

The easiest way is to use a jump rope calorie calculator. Start by entering how long your jump rope routing lasts.

Get Fit: Jump rope calorie calculator

Then the calculator spits out your results:

Get fit: Jump rope calorie calculator results

As you can see, for a simple 15 minute jump rope workout, I’d burn anywhere fro 168 to 225 calories depending on my speed. If I was super fast at jumping rope, I could burn 235 calories in only 15 minutes!

Walking or running for weight loss

Walking and running are great additions to your weight loss workout routine.

Even going to your local mall and walking in the morning is beneficial!

You can find how many calories you burn if you have a fitbit or some other method of counting distance walked. Simply use this calorie calculator to see how many calories you burn on your morning walk.

get fit: Calorie calculator walking 1mi

As you can see, I burn 96 calories walking 1 mile in 15 minutes. Should I run 1 mile in 8 minutes, I would burn approximately 118 calories.

Walking is a great low-impact method of getting exercise. Can you walk for one hour a day? It’s easier if you walk while trying to have fun, such as having a conversation with a walking buddy or a nature hike.

What to eat before and after workouts

As you’ve read in this article, food is the most important part you should consider when getting fit.

So what do you eat before and after workouts?

Before your workout, have a light and healthy snack such as a banana. Working out on an empty stomach can often times lead you to feeling sick while working out. Ideally, have something light and easily digestible for quick energy like a smoothie.

After your workout, your body is in a state of repair. You should eat something with protein and healthy fat. Protein will help repair broken down muscles and the fat will help provide extra energy.

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What are the best workout programs to lose weight?

As I’ve mentioned previously, working out should be secondary to proper nutrition. However, a structured exercise program can help keep you organized.

So what exercise program should you use?

Remember, it’s more effective to buy an exercise program that you’ll use and enjoy!

Here is a recommendation if you want a place to start.

Jillian Michaels Body Shred

See it on Amazon

I’m sure you’ve heard of Juillian Michaels by now. She’s a fitness expert and trainer on The Biggest Loser. Jillian has helped countless women lose unwanted weight.

Body Shred is designed to help you lose weight and become a leaner you.

Here is a video that shows you exactly what the Body Shred program is like.

See it on YouTube
The Body Shred comes complete with 12 DVDs, a rotational calendar, a meal plan, and fitness guide.

Summary: How to get fit on a budget

We’ve covered a lot about getting fit, even if you’re a beginner or someone without a gym membership. So let’s summarize what you need to know.

  1. Your appearance doesn’t equate to your self worth – Remember you are unique in your own way. Get fit because you want positive change in your life.
  2. Fat is burned by creating a caloric deficit – Focus on creating a healthy diet that burns more calories than you consume. Use proper nutrition and eat nutrient dense foods.
  3. Drink Water – Water flushes your system including removal of fat.
  4. Measure fat loss over weight loss – Fat loss is the real target because weight loss could be muscle loss. Remember to eat plenty of protein and use resistance training to protect muscles.
  5. Try low carb dieting – Try to avoid carbohydrates as your body uses carbs as a primary energy source over fat cells. Diets such as the Mediterranean and Keto diets aim for low carb intake.
  6. Stay motivated – Weight loss is a journey, not an overnight success. Find your motivation. Hang out with like minded people to stay on track.
  7. Decide on supplements – A variety of supplements exist, but you don’t have to take them. A B vitamin complex and fish oil are good general health supplements that can help you lose weight.
  8. Protect muscles with resistance training – With weight loss comes the potential to lose muscle. Resistance training helps protect muscle.
  9. Use calculators to estimate calorie burn – A variety of calculators exist, find one for your exercise.
  10. Eat before and after workouts – Eat a small healthy meal prior to working out and a high fat and protein meal after.
  11. Stay organized with a workout program – Not required, but a workout program can provide you with an organized routine.

Questions? Let me know in the comments below!