If only we had limitless amounts of money to spend on all of our fitness needs! Well, then we would be…celebrities. And we would look amazing. But alas, sometimes tough choices have to be made. Here is a look at the best fitness investments to spend your hard-earned money on, no matter what your price range.
If you have: $10
I suggest purchasing a jump rope. It’s one of the best cardio machines around, plus it’s cheap, it’s compact, and you can pack it to bring with you when you travel. Jumping rope burns a ton of calories (about 12 calories per minute), gets your heart rate way up, plus tones your calves, legs, butt, core, shoulders and arms…depending on your style of skipping of course!
If you have: $20
This one is a toss-up, as a good exercise ball or yoga mat can both be found for around this price. I love exercise balls for their endless potential. You can train your whole body with just this one piece of equipment. A yoga mat is also great however, for the many posture improving stretches, floor work, and yoga poses that can be done on this surface. I suggest getting a ball if you need to sneak in some more exercise at home, and a yoga mat if you’re hitting the gym regularly but want to include some more stretching and breathing into your life.
If you have: $50
A basic heart rate monitor goes for $30 – $50, and while it may not be fancy, it will do its job. All you need to know is how high your heart rate gets normally, and how to push yourself during your workouts in order to stay in the appropriate “heart rate zone.” This can be calculated by subtracting your age from 220 to find your max heart rate. The specific zone you want will be determined by your goals, but it’s usually between 60% and 90% of your max heart rate. Keep in mind that this is a very general ballpark to aim for (don’t get freaked out if you’re always higher or lower), but strap on your heart rate monitor and try to keep your heart rate in that zone for your whole workout!
If you have: $100
Good running sneakers. I highly recommend going to a running shoe store where they videotape your feet while running in a neutral sneaker, and analyze what kind of arches you have. This information can be invaluable for those with high or low arches, or those who over-pronate while running and don’t realize it. If you fall into one of these categories, finding the right running shoe can make a world of difference. If you’re a neutral runner, then any shoe might work fine, but having a knowledgeable staff member work with you can still be an enlightening experience, and the money you pay for a good-quality running shoe will be paid back to you in confidence and success.
If you have: $250
Get a bike. Depending on which city you live in, your commute to work is probably not an active one. But with a bike, all of a sudden getting to work, running errands, and going home all become a workout in and of themselves! A bike is an easy way to stay active, stay green, save money on gas, and burn calories. You can usually find a garden-variety bike for $200-$300, though if you’re looking for something special it can take you up in price very quickly. Try Craigslist or eBay if you’re having trouble finding something in your price range.
Bonus! If you have: $500
Now, if you are looking to spend this much there are surely a lot of great options available. A year-long gym membership, a few sessions with a personal trainer, or a whole new gym wardrobe. But I just recently discovered this online, and I’d like to include it here: the Trek Desk. Basically, it’s a walking desk station. It’s not for everyone, sure. But for those of you with $500 to invest, who are caught at your desk all day wishing you could walk while you work? Well…this is for you.
Jessi Kneeland is an NYC-based personal trainer. She believes that fitness can show people what they’re made of, including our own Recessionista-in-chief, who’s bum Jessi kicks daily. Check out her blog at http://jessikneeland.wordpr