Gym membership? Or save money with an app?

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If I told you you can keep your new year resolution to get fit and balance your budget – would you believe me?

How’s the new year resolution to get fit going? Are you auditioning gyms and perhaps taking a sharp intake of breath when you see the membership fee?

If you’ve started your spending journal and you’re trying to keep a grip on your spending it’s totally possible to find an alternative to gym membership AND reach your fitness goals.

Maybe it’s time you considered an app

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You’ve got the smart watch – tick

You’ve got the smartphone – tick

You’ve decided to get fit and you’re checking out gyms?


You have a smart watch and a smartphone so have you thought about maximising those to save yourself the cost of a gym membership?

When you analyse your spending and break down the ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ there’s going to be plenty of scope to drive down the expense of the ‘needs’ as well as the ‘wants’.

Even if you decide that you really need to exercise more to improve your health/fitness/the way you feel, it doesn’t need to break the bank. It’s possible to reach more than one goal from your new year resolution.

And by being a savvy spender you can save yourself from a possible source of stress. The stress of additional spending commitments.

Have you checked out the fitness apps available now?

A great budget tip is to get the maximum value out of the things you already own

You have the smartphone so you have the means to help you get fit right there.

There are some great apps around, and with access to ratings by other users you can easily see which deliver on their promise.

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Yoga has many benefits and is a great way to get fit

Wherever you look on YouTube or Instagram there’s someone showing you how to start, improve or supercharge your yoga practice. You can get flexible, get strong or burn fat with the help of the many, many people who post videos on yoga.

Simply by subscribing to your instructor of choice on YouTube you can find out if yoga is right for you without spending a penny.

If you do want to try an app there’s plenty of choice

For yoga I have tried two apps.

  • Daily Yoga – Workout & Fitness
  • FitStar Yoga

Daily Yoga – rated 4.7

The Daily Yoga app includes pilates and high intensity workouts. There is a free option but if you subscribe it will cost £39 per year and you then have access to all the workouts.

There are beginner programs available that will lead you through the poses and breathing exercises, all aimed at ensuring you get the most out of your practice. Currently, I’m working through the 14 Day Fast Fat Burn program. And it’s challenging – which I love.

I started today with the Day 2 Core Builder session on my Daily Yoga app. It’s 18 min long and it I know my tummy is going to ache tomorrow! Not that I mind as I know my core strength needs some work.

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There’s a daily recommendation – today’s was Easy Office Yoga which is a real joy when you’ve spent a morning glued to a keyboard.

Fit Star Yoga (currently unavailable as an app in the UK)

If you’re in the US then you can probably find this app online. And if like me, you downloaded some time ago but didn’t do very much with it – now’s the time to take a look.

The new alternative for those of us in the EU or UK is Fitbit Coach which has a free offering and you don’t need to have a Fitbit to use it.

The free offering gives you 1 personalised workout per week and access to the Get Moving program that supports you through the start of your fitness routine. The Premium version costs $39.99 (around £30) per year and has 3 additional personalised programs per week in addition to unlimited workouts.

My assumption is that the Premium version of Fitbit Coach is similar to the one offered on the now unavailable FitStar Yoga. If I’m right, then the limit of 1 free personalised workout per week will soon become an annoyance. No-one can get fit on one workout per week. Which I guess is kind of the point – hence the premium version being the more attractive option.

For total beginners Simply Yoga – rated 4.7 is a good choice

It’s free (if you don’t mind the adds) and £5 if you want an add free experience. That’s pretty good value even if you decide it’s not for you after you subscribe.

Simply Yoga is your own personal yoga instructor. The app contains level one and level two 20, 40 and 60 minute yoga routines that step you through each pose. Each pose is demonstrated by a certified personal trainer, so simply choose your workout length and follow along in the comfort of your own home!

If you want to get into running there’s a number of apps available

Couch to 5K – rated 4.7

This app, Couch to 5K, is from NHS England and it’s highly rated by users at 4.7.

The even better news is that it’s free.

Couch to 5K is a running plan for absolute beginners. It was developed by a new runner, Josh Clark, who wanted to help his 50-something mum get off the couch and start running, too.

The plan involves 3 runs a week, with a day of rest in between, and a different schedule for each of the 9 weeks. Couch to 5K is for everyone. Whether you’ve never run before or if you just want to get more active.

Included with the app is a timer, a voice coach to keep you motivated, and SatNav to monitor your route. Once you reach your 5K target you will be encouraged to sign up for a local 5k run.

The best free option to get into running – parkrun

parkrun organise more than 580 running events across Britain every Saturday morning – and it costs nothing to take part. parkrun organise free, weekly, 5km timed runs. They are open to everyone, free, and are safe and easy to take part in.

There’s no reason to be afraid of the ‘timed’ element of parkrun. parkrun is for anyone including those taking their first steps in running to Olympians; from juniors to those with more experience.

parkrun is also in the US so checkout the information here if you’re interested.

Runtastic Premium

For more experienced runners the Runtastic Premium app is personalised and includes a fitness collection. It costs £40 per year or you can opt for the monthly payment option of £3.32 that allows you to cancel the app if you find it isn’t for you.

If you received some resistance bands as a gift last Christmas you’ll find an app useful

Resistance bands are a great way to get in shape and build strong lean muscles. They’re light, easy to transport so you can take them anywhere, and they can be used to work all areas of your body.

However, my own research on YouTube for good resistance band workouts, left me disappointed with the options currently available. I gave up and turned to a local resistance band class to educate me on the use of resistance bands.

My own experience of classes is that they aren’t expensive and are a great way to get you up and running with a workout that suits you.

The next best thing is a good app that is as transportable as the bands themselves.

Resistance Bands Workout by Fitify – rated 4.5

I haven’t used this app myself but the ratings are positive. The app has a free option although reading the reviews suggests that payment is needed to unlock full content.

Getting fit with just your app for company can be isolating

If you find that motivation is a problem for you when working out with just your app for company, you could consider apps such as Strava or Relive that offer a support community popular with cyclists, runners and swimmers.

These apps don’t come cheap though, so that’s something to think about if the free offering doesn’t give you all you want.

If you’ve tried any of the apps listed please let me know your thoughts

If you’ve tried other great apps that will help my readers in their fitness journey, let me know about those as well. Just use the comment box below.