Use What You’ve Got: Spend Less, Workout More

Use What You’ve Got: How to Stop Spending Money on Fitness Stuff & Actually Start Working Out

Arthur Ashe said, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” This quote can certainly be applied to a lot of aspects of our lives, but I think that it is specifically important in relation to fitness. If you are just beginning or thinking about starting a fitness program, I would strongly encourage you not to buy anything! The truth is you don’t need an iPod, speciality clothing, tennis shoes or even a gym membership. All of these things are nice of course, but really all you need to get in a great workout is yourself and a little bit of space.

Years ago, when I first moved to Canada, I would do squats in the living room watching my then one year old son. Of course during that time I wanted the cool barbells, workout gear and supplements but honestly couldn’t justify spending the money on those things. What I could do though was squat in my living room. Which after a while taught me a very important lesson, all I really need to get fit was the will to workout and do what I can.

In 2012, 4.89 billion US dollars was spent on fitness apparel, but I have a hunch that not everyone who bought workout gear actually used it for its intended purpose. Also the statics of people who buy gym membership in the new year but quit using after a month is heartbreaking (4 in 5).

There is a real pressure from marketing that if you make a purchase (yoga pants, gym membership, protein powder, the list goes on), you will motivate yourself to workout. I disagree, I know that working out motivates you to workout more. If you want to start a fitness program, I suggest taking a least a month to workout in your home (even in your pajamas), without a new gym membership or buying anything. Try a full body workout a few times a week for about month before you make any fitness related purchase. This is great for a number for reasons in that it will save you money and help you practice the movements you will be doing in the gym and even prepare you for more strenuous types of exercises. I made my first fitness related purchase after working out for a solid year, for some equipment that I still use today!

When you are first starting out or getting back to it after a break, it’s easy to think that if you buy something, it will be the solution. However, fancy workout gear isn’t going to make you workout, YOU are! On the flip side, wanting those new things isn’t bad at all, however why not make them a reward or an extra once you’ve put in the hard work first and developed a habit of exercising regularly.

An example of the type of cost-free workouts that I am referencing include:

  1. Squats: Beginner’s Guide to Squats
  2. Bear Crawl: How to Do the Bear Crawl
  3. Full Body Workout: Easy Steps for a Full Body Workout
  4. Plyometrics: Beginner’s Guide to Plyometric Exercise Moves
  5. Burpees: Bursting Through Plateaus with Burpees



And a new one that I’d like to share with you today is the Wall Workout.         


Benefits of the wall workout:
  • train anywhere
  • workout the whole body with simple and practical movements  
  • increase your flexibility, balance, strength and athleticism
  • injury prevention
The wall workout:
  • walk up to a wall in your house, facing the wall with your feet touching the wall, raise both your hands up the wall as far as you can go without lifting your feet, pause for a second and then lower your hands back to the starting position, repeat ten times
  • step away from the wall about three or four feet, place both hands back on the wall and lower your upper body until your chest almost touches the wall and then push back to the starting position without removing your hands, repeat ten times
  • turn around and place your back against the wall, squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor, pause for a second and then slowly lift up your body to the starting position, repeat ten times
  • lay down on the ground and place your legs on the wall (the closer the better), place your hands on your thighs and then run them up towards your feet as high as you can comfortable (you should be lifting your shoulders off the ground just a little), pause for a second and then without removing your hands slide them back to the starting position
  • after repeating each exercise back to back, take a one minute break and then repeat the whole thing over again for a total of three times

The idea behind this workout is to condition your body to move against resistance, after a couple of times feel free to explore and add bodyweight movements to the routine, for example after you get comfortable doing the wall push, you can then practice a conventional push-up. You can also increase the repetitions and number of times you do the the workout as you go along. To get the full benefit of this workout try to do it about three times a week.

Like a lot of my suggestions, this is just a platform to continue your fitness journey with movements that you discover and enjoy.

Remember, there is nothing wrong with buying awesome fitness gear and purchasing a gym membership – but just make sure that spending isn’t derailing you from your true exercise and health goals.

Thank you so much for stopping by today and as always cheers to  your health!   

David Smith

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One Comment

  1. I agree: you don’t need fancy stuff to exercise, and “working out motivates you to workout more.” The wall workout seems like a good all-around beginning workout to get me started. Thanks.

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