Summer's here, and there's plenty to get excited about - weddings, beach parties, and late evenings in the beer garden being just a few. Unfortunately, it's also the time of year when we realise our New Year's resolution to get fit fell by the way side at some point, and that we need to spend more time in the gym.
We've written about how to save money on a gym membership before, but the best way to squeeze exercise into your budget is to cut out the gym all together.
You might think starting a self-guided exercise regime is difficult, but think again. There are plenty of apps out there that can turn your smartphone into a pocket-sized gym. While some fitness apps do come with a small price tag, these ones are completely free and easy to use.
If you've always wanted to start running but weren't sure how to begin, this app is essential. It's basically a training plan, which aims to take you from couch potato to 5k runner in just nine weeks. Each session involves a warm up and cool down, and instructions on when to run and when to stop so that you don't push yourself too hard.
If you're already confident in your running abilities, or want a self-guided training programme, try Nike+. It's a tracker app that records both your route and your speed, offering cheers and encouragement from top sportsmen when you bust a personal best. If you do decide you'd like a bit of coaching, the app comes equipped with training programmes and tips designed to take you to 5k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon. It also has Instagram integration - perfect if you love a bit of social sharing.
You don't need fancy equipment to incorporate strength training into your routine. Gain Fitness is packed with over a 1000 work-outs, complete with HD images to help you get the perfect form. The app builds an exercise routine for you based on your goals and the equipment you have on hand, whether that's a set of weights or just a good solid chair. There are some in-app purchases if you want to expand your routine further, and at £1.99 a pop they're far cheaper than a monthly gym membership.
Losing weight isn't just about exercise: it's also about diet. The thing is, as long as you eat less calories than you burn, you'll lose weight. That's where MyFitnessPal comes in. It works out how many calories you should be eating for healthy weight loss, and also helps you keep track. It's basically like budgeting, but with food. Tell the app what you've eaten, and it will tell you how many calories you have left to spend. It takes exercise into account too, so if you burn 300 calories on a run you can treat yourself to an extra snack.
With these apps, not only will you be saving money, you'll also have more free time to spend outside enjoying the summer weather. If that's not a reason to get downloading, we're not sure what is. To keep track of all your savings, there's one more free app to think about - Money Dashboard. Our app is compatible with iOS and Android devices, allowing you to access your very own personal budgeting software on the move.
Posted by Money Dashboard