One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to get in the gym and tackle your fitness goals, but doing so doesn’t have to be an investment that empties your pockets.
“Nowadays there are so many free resources that we can find. Different plans and workouts,” Kollins Ezekh, a celebrity personal trainer and founder of Members Only Boxing and Fitness, tells CNBC Make It.
For example, putting “the right question into ChatGPT is going to give you a great answer” that can help you develop your own at-home workout routine, Ezekh says.
“I can type in ‘I’m a male, 30 something years old, I weigh 200 pounds, and I want my weight to go down by like 10 pounds, what should I do?’ And then AI software is gonna type out a workout plan, which is pretty specific, because you gave them your age, your gender [and] your goal,” he says.
Ezekh likens the structure of the detailed workout plans that he’s been able to develop using ChatGPT to what a trainer would recommend for their clients. You can also include which equipment you have available to you, like dumbbells, for your plan to be tailored with that in mind.
“The more information you put into ChatGPT, [the] more accurate your workout plan is going to be,” he explains. If you’re unsure about how to do an exercise, you can use apps like YouTube and TikTok for tutorials and to learn about proper form.
Here are a few other ways Ezekh suggests getting fit on a budget this year.
1. Do bodyweight exercises and go outdoors
Instead of buying exercise equipment, Ezekh recommends doing high intensity interval training “because I feel like that burns the most calories.”
You should also add bodyweight exercises to your routine, he says, including planks, jumping jacks and burpees, depending on your level of expertise. Basic full body and core exercises are always a great place to start.
Here are a few you should include in your workout:
- Push ups
- Leg raises
Ezekh is also a huge fan of exercising outdoors which is completely free. Consider running, walking and hiking, “which pretty much doesn’t require any equipment at all,” he says.
2. Buy these staples for at-home workouts or substitute equipment with alternatives
At-home workouts can be even more effective with equipment, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy $200 worth.
In fact, if you wanted to start with just three pieces of exercise equipment, here’s what Ezekh says you should invest in:
- Dumbbells: “Free weights are good because [they] challenge our full body.”
- Jump rope: “I think that’s one of the exercises that is quite simple and pretty enjoyable for people who know how to jump rope, and it burns tons of calories.”
- A yoga mat: “So you can do exercises on the floor as well.”
But if you’re looking to start with what you already have, there are ways that you can substitute a few of the items on the list.
Instead of dumbbells, some people use a water bottle or a water jug as a substitute, says Ezekh. You can also do your workouts on a carpet or use a towel or a blanket instead of a yoga mat, he notes.
3. Try fitness classes or stick to this amount for a gym membership
“But I think the biggest part about going to the gym is [having] a community of other people. Once you make friends, you kind of feel like you’re being held accountable,” Ezekh says.
You can foster that feeling of community without joining a gym by checking in with friends who also exercise often and finding accountability partners within your friend group.
If you like the idea of exercising with others, Ezekh also suggests joining a fitness class like spinning, yoga or boxing.
“With the gym setting, you have to be very self motivated because you need to get there, then figure out what you’re going to do and have a plan,” he says.
“When group fitness studios, usually they’re more class-based. So literally all you have to do is show up to the class. And then you know the instructor is going to help you with whatever you want to achieve.”
Additionally with group fitness classes, “you’re not working out by yourself. You’re working out with a group of people, and it’s very motivating, and encouraging,” especially because you’ll be excited to come back, Ezekh says.
The gym is still a wonderful option that you can commit to without spending too much money.
To start off, Ezekh suggests joining a gym that costs between $30 and $40 a month instead of committing to a very expensive one.
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