But we believe working out should be fun, easy and inexpensive. And that's where these innovative fitness hacks come in.
These hacks will help you cut the excuses, so you can finally make fitness a regular part of your daily routine.
Mix Up Your Playlist1 of 14
Anyone who's been able to stick to a workout routine over time knows that a killer playlist is the key to long-term success—but we don't mean just a Spotify playlist.
When you start feeling bored with your workouts or dreading the gym, mix it up with an exciting audio book or podcast. The options are endless. You can choose to listen to your favorite book series (Harry Potter, anyone?), an immersive podcast like Serial or even a comedy show. Just make a rule that you can only listen to it while exercising.
Try DIY Weights2 of 14
No dumbbells? No problem. For a weight-focused workout at home, use soup cans or gallons of water. If any of these items are too light, you can quickly duct tape a few together.
Other heavy items to incorporate into your workout include spare tires, a backpack filled with big textbooks and cast iron pans.
Take Your Ab Workout Up a Notch3 of 14
Make the classic, waist whittling plank exercise more effective with towels. Take two towels and place them under your hands or feet, then slide forward, backward and sideways.
For example, place a towel under each hand while in the plank position. Slide your right hand forward—you'll feel the stretch in your abs—then back to starting position. Do this 10 times on each side, then rest. The same goes for your feet.
You'll see a better burn and quicker results this way.
Monitor Your Steps4 of 14
As any personal trainer will tell you, small, everyday changes to your lifestyle add up over time, which is why you should strive to make every day as active as possible. If you haven't done so already, invest in a fitness tracker or pedometer and aim to hit at least 10,000 steps each day.
This small goal will automatically encourage you to prioritize healthy behaviors. You might start walking to work, walking during your lunch break or even walking after dinner each night.
Turn a Movie or TV Show into a Workout Game5 of 14
Let's face it: we all love to binge on Netflix. Make the most of your next movie or TV night by working out while you watch.
There are two ways to do this: Choose a few exercises to do each time something is said or done on the show or movie—just make sure to choose something that happens frequently. Another option is to take advantage of commercial breaks (if you're watching cable) and choose an exercise to do until the show returns.
Use a Virtual Personal Trainer6 of 14
If you don't have cash for a personal trainer, don't worry. You don't need it.
There are many fitness mobile apps that now act like full-time trainers, providing personalized coaching and feedback as you workout. Most even provided detailed workout and nutrition plans to help you accomplish your biggest fitness goals, whether it's running a 5K or losing 10 pounds.
The best part? They're either free or a few dollars in the app store.
Always Take the Stairs7 of 14
Stairs are great for cardio and help to strengthen your quads, butt and calves. Not to mention this exercise is low impact, making it an ideal alternative to running or jumping. You don't need to trek to your local gym to find a stairmaster, either. Stick to a simple rule, instead: Any time you see stairs, use them.
Formally Schedule Workouts into a Calendar8 of 14
Schedule workouts into your day with the same seriousness that you would schedule a work meeting. This means using a calendar of some sort. Make them non-negotiable pockets in your time. You can set a date and hour, a description and, best of all, a reminder 30 minutes beforehand.
Once you get used to scheduling your workouts, it'll be easier to stick to the habit over time.
Do Double Duty9 of 14
With minimal time, you have to make the most of every minute in the gym. Combine cardio on the tread or elliptical (or other equipment of choice) and strength training for a tough workout that you can feel good about.
For example, you can start holding dumbbells on your cardio machine of choice, doing bicep curls or shoulder presses for one minute every three to five minutes. You've now crossed off cardio and an arm workout all in one go.
Attend a Group Class10 of 14
Group classes are the perfect fitness hack for anyone who's new to working out. All you have to do is show up, and someone will have already planned a perfect workout for you, complete with the necessary warm-up and cool-down.
You can also get feedback on your form so you know where to improve or what weak spots on your body to target in the future.
Commit to 10 Minutes11 of 14
When you don't feel like heading to the gym, simply decide to work out for 10 minutes. It can be a 10-minute walk, jog or strength workout at home. Of course, you'll almost always find that getting started was the hardest part, and your workout will probably continue long after 10 minutes. But even if it doesn't, research has consistently shown that short bursts of activity are better than nothing.
Sleep in Your Workout Clothes12 of 14
This is probably the most well-known fitness hack of all, but for anyone who wants to become an early morning gym-goer, sleeping in your workout clothes the night before is a great trick for saving time in the morning.
Consider also packing your gym bag the night before and making sure you have your protein shake ready to go. This eliminates excuses and gets you out the door before you start second-guessing yourself.
Use an Incentive13 of 14
Whether you put a few dollars in a jar every time you work out or promise yourself you can buy a coveted item once you lose a certain amount of weight, incentives can be a great way of staying motivated when you're new to a fitness regimen.
As you progress, make sure to dig even deeper for motivation. Money and losing weight may not do the trick a few months in, but thinking about the lasting benefits to your health and longevity will help you sustain the habit over time.