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What to do when you can't afford a Personal Trainer

So what happens when you're on a tight budget and you can't afford a personal trainer?

Well, luckily humans have been exercising for millions of years before personal trainers appeared and there are quite a few frugal ways to get by without them. So certainly we can come up with lots of things you can do on a budget of $100 or less.

1. Don't buy anything that's going to gather dust.

It doesn't matter whether you have $100 to spend or a million. You should only buy what you know you will use. So don't blow your entire exercise budget on a gadget on late-night TV. Think smaller, think variety, think of getting 20 different things for $5. Everything from skip ropes, dumbbells, a climbing rope, a football, yoga mat and more.

2. Look at what you already have.

Before you even open your wallet, explore your home and look at what items you already have. Rope? Gardening tools? (Gardening is a great source of exercise.) Cans of food and jugs of laundry detergent can replace dumbbells. You can use chairs for exercises like push-ups and dips, and a towel for resistance training with a partner. A homemade jump-rope, crafted from rope or cord. You might even find things you forgot about that you wanted to use but never got around to it: Rollerblades, that old bicycle that just needs some oil and the brakes adjusted, or that hatchet you bought for axe throwing (a growing sport).

3. Embrace DIY.

What you don't have, make for cheap. You don't need a $50 chin-up bar when any old bar will do. Old paint cans and a metal bar can be used for weights. Tennis balls for self-massage. Even just lifting the old broken air conditioner and carrying it up and down stairs repeatedly will be exercise.

4. Buy the basics.

A lot of simple equipment can be found for not much money. Plain dumbbells typically go for about 50 cents to $1 per pound of weight. Men can start with a range between 12 and 25 pounds, while women can buy some in the 5-to-20-pound range. Inflatable stability balls and hard medicine balls cost less than $25, depending on the size and weight. Adjustable chin-up bars that fit in doorways can be more pricey, but if you look for sales you can get them for less.

5. Harness technology. has a range of DVD bestsellers for exercise, but again only buy what you will use. If in doubt stick to YouTube videos as there are thousands of them offering a variety of workout videos. Don't forget interactive video games like Dance Dance Revolution or Wii Fit if you have those kicking around in your closet too.

6. Invest in some home improvement.

Go buy a large $20 mirror so you can look at your exercise form in your living room while exercising.

7. Don't forget your shoes.

Buy a pair of running shoes that fits you well and is appropriate to your activity, not the most expensive brand. Look for durability if you're planning to put these shoes through the mud and slush by jogging daily.

8. Scrap equipment entirely.

Go to a park and see your gym budget go to zero. Use the monkey bars and other things meant for kids to do your chin-ups. Stand on rocks to challenge your balance, and use other rocks as weights. Hang from a tree branch to do chin-ups. Sprint across the grass. People have been exercising for thousands of years without equipment. The great outdoors is the biggest gym in the world.

9. Browse Craigslist.

You can find lots of cheap (and barely used) exercise equipment on Craigslist.

Of course having the equipment won't really matter if a person lacks motivation to exercise. That is why personal trainers become so important.

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