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Workout For Free


Until I discovered my obsession with Body Pump (a group fitness class), I never had a real gym membership. During college I bounced between the free gym in my dorm which consisted of a couple treadmills & dumbbells and my mom’s video tape recording of a Jane Fonda workout from the 80’s. No joke, it was a tough workout. Once college ended and careers started, we were paying off $30,000 in student loans and didn’t want to spend any extra money if it wasn’t a necessity. Now that we’re in Calgary and gym memberships the local YMCA start around $100/month per person my husband and I have sought out free ways to work out for free and keep it fun. I’m currently training for a half marathon July 7th but strength, stretch, and cross training are still in my weekly plan. Here are a few free apps & ideas we use and love.

This app is free but you only get access to one 15, 30, and 45 minute class. They offer a great stretch and you may sweat a little bit.

Tempo Run
Created by a team at my alma mater, Michigan State University, this app syncs with your music and sorts out speed/hardness level depending on the beat of each song. Check out the app; it’s a great resource for interval training.

Map My Run
With our international phone plan, I only have internet access when Wifi is available. This has been a bummer for half marathon training since it means I have to plan out runs before hand. You can add friends and cheer each other on or even compete for weekly mileage.

Tabata Timer
This app is simple yet KILLER. If you don’t know what Tabata is, I wrote about it here.

Nike Training Club
This is my favorite app of the list provided. This app has a lot of different workouts and you can choose between beginner, intermediate, or advanced as well as a 15, 30, or minute workout. Warning: you will likely have trouble walking the next day.

If you don’t have a smart phone or still want more variety, here are a few other free options:

Treadmill Roulette
This little game was created by Tina at Carrots N’ Cake. You pick 10 songs and depending on your answer to her questions provided, you change the speed of your run. It’s an interesting and fun spin on interval training!

This is technically an app since you can use the stopwatch found under your “clock” app. A good ol’ timer is great for 1-minute planks, push ups, sit ups, whatever else. I like tabata better since I tend to give myself a little longer break in between sets than I should, but it’s still a good option.

14-day Cross Fit trial
Curious about the ever-growing CrossFit hype? I found a 14-day beginner intro to CrossFit that just uses body weight and let me tell you– you’ll probably die… even on day one. Have fun!

What are your favorite FREE ways to be active?



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. I’m a big Nike Training Club fan, although I wish it had more customization options. Great free app, though!

  2. Those are great ideas! I’d like to start working out again so that I have more energy throughout the day. Thanks for the suggestions!

    • You’re right- it sounds backwards but working out really helps with energy levels and better sleep at night! Thanks for sharing, Joshua.

  3. That would be nice. At least there are enough different workouts to keep you entertained if it’s supplementing your usual workout routines.

  4. I don’t mind working out for free but I do prefer my gym. The best case would be if my gym was free! Haha. It’s just nice being able to get a great workout in no matter the weather.

    • I would LOVE a free gym pass! I think Ill get certified to teach body pump when we get back from Canada. I’d get paid to workout and a free gym membership! It’s a win in my book.

  5. Great tips. I’m getting addicted to hot yoga, but I agree, it’s a pricey habit.

    Too often, I think people give up an expensive gym and just stop exercising, which is a horrible health strategy.

    • Yes just because a gym membership is costly does not mean you don’t have to work out. Health costs will make up way more than a gym membership down the road!

  6. I don’t believe in having a gym membership myself. I would rather want to run around the field with my partner and 4-year old kid in the morning for a couple of hours or have a workout video at home than go to the gym for exercise.

    • I agree that a gym doesn’t seem too exciting (the treadmills and machine part of the gym), especially if you don’t go in with a plan. I love my gym because it has group classes like cycling, body pump, Zumba, and turbo kick which make working out a lot of fun and worth the monthly fee to me. To each his own as long as there is SOME kind of physical activity going on!

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