These days, being fit and healthy and following the trends can be super expensive. When you count up the cost of a gym membership, a yoga studio membership, all you normal groceries plus things like chia seeds, protein powder and energy balls, all of the amazing activewear (different types for different activities) and sooo much more.
But being a Uni student, I cannot afford all of this and I know a lot of other people are in the same boat. I am a great believer that you shouldn't have to have money to be a healthy, happy and fit person, which is why I personally try and provide a lot of inexpensive or free opportunities for people to participate in my classes. But I want to share with you what I do in my daily life to stay fit and healthy on a minimal budget.
There are so many ways to do exercise without paying money for classes. Of course if you are able to pair these with a session a week with an instructor that will help you make sure you are doing everything in a safe way, but really if you are careful and be sure to listen to your body, you can do it all on your own.
There are so so so many classes on YouTube that range in length and content from tough circuit training to easy beginner yoga sequences. This is an easy way to choose exactly what type of exercise you want to do and it is completely free. My personal favourites are Yoga with Adriene and Blogiplates for Yoga and Pilates sequences for anyone.
There are also loads of apps that can take you through exercises or keep track of what you're doing and record your progress. My personal favourites are the Nike+ Training and Nike+ Run Club apps which have workouts provided for you as well as being able to record what you've done. These apps are also great because they can create plans and programs for you to follow for up to 12 weeks that are based on your own goals and change and develop depending on your feedback and your participation. It really is great. Obviously it's not quite as good as having a personal trainer with you everyday, but I think it's the next best thing!
Now, all of these are great solutions to the money problem, but they also create other problems as they take away some of the parts of exercise that make it so enjoyable, like the social aspect and the opportunity to get out of the house.
But fixing this is easy! I recommend you find a friend who is just as interested and committed to being active as you are, go to a local park or even just your backyard (or if the weather is bad, try alternating who's house you go to or finding other spaces to work out. This will mean you get to hang out with your friend and you'll get the added bonus of being able to hold each other to making a commitment.
There is a rumour going round that eating healthy is hella expensive. This just isn't true! You just have to be smart about what you buy and where you buy it.
For one, I shop at the big supermarkets. Not because I want to, but because it is generally cheaper (not always but most of the time). It is also easy to keep track of promotions going on at big supermarkets to you can get the best bargains. However, I am always willing to pay an extra dollar for Free Range or Australian grown produce - which I think is something you should consider.
Secondly, buy in bulk as much as you can. It costs less and it is easy to freeze produce or meals you've made. Also, having a bunch of left-overs will make it more likely that you eat them for lunch rather than buying something.
Another tip is to find healthier alternative to the usual cheap food. For example, I love to eat Kangaroo instead of beef or lamb because it is an incredibly lean meat packed with lots of protein and iron.
I also make a crap ton of smoothies! Smoothies are great, particularly for breakfast, because a lot of the stuff that goes in them can be kept frozen and ready to go and it is easy to pack a lot of good stuff in them while keeping a delicious taste. My favourite ingredients are things like frozen mixed berries, bananas, spinach, milk (dairy or otherwise), yoghurt, soaked oats, carrots and apples. If you can afford a bit of protein powder, that goes great in there as well.
The best meals to make are things like stir fried kangaroo and veggies with rice (a great easy marinade that you can use for pretty much anything is Kecap Manis - it's a student staple!) or pasta with a sauce that is packed full with veggies and a lean meat or chicken, but don't be afraid to get creative. I love to do a take of the old 'meat-and-three-veg' by getting some salmon or chicken, marinating it with the aforementioned Kecap Manis and steaming some veggies.
The biggest tip I can give is to have a plan. Plan your meals before you go shopping, working out exactly what you're going to have and exactly what you need to go in that and in what quantities. This will help you only buy the things you need so you can stay within your budget and still get a full weeks worth of food.
In terms of mental health, it can be hard to stay sane when you're a student or when all you do is work, workout, eat, sleep. Trying changing things up by going for a walk a couple of times a week, either by yourself or with a friend or family member. If you don't have time for that, try doing just a couple of minutes of mindfulness. I recommend the Smiling Mind app or Insight Timer app - they both have lots of mini meditations that can be used at any time to reset your mindset, or longer meditations when you need a proper chill out. These things are a great start when it comes to mental health and it won't cost you a thing.
So those are my top tips! I spend a good chunk of my life doing these money-saving hacks and I hope you've discovered something new that you can use as well! Let me know in the comments what you think or whether you want to hear more from me about anything to do with keeping healthy on a budget, whether its healthy student recipes or just the best workout when you've got no time on your hands!
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Until next week,
Mia Anderson x