Getting fit on a budget – Team Fighting Fit

5 ways to get fit on a budget.
By Coach Fahad Maniar

As a fitness professional trying to help people get into shape so they can be more confident, vibrant and happier versions of themselves, I run into all sorts of excuses as to why someone fails to work out and invest in their health.

The main ones are usually lack of time or lack of money.

Well, today, I wanted to cover with you how to get fit on a budget.
Yeah, I get it, Personal training isn’t cheap (sure, there are cheap personal trainers out there too but you probably wouldn’t get a tattoo from the cheapest tattoo artist going or medical surgery from a cheap surgeon who read a few books and saw a few youtube videos on how to perform a triple bypass, would you?)

But the thing is, Eating clean and training hard does not have to be an expensive endeavour! I started out my fitness journey as a student and remember that for most of the time, when I couldn’t afford much, I’d rely on cheap foods like tuna flakes (yes, the chunk variety was a bit out of my budget so I had to rely on cat food’s closest cousin, tuna flakes) as a protein source.


So, here are my 5 tips for getting fit on a budget.

1. Follow the simple rule of Moving more

 Okay, probably not what you wanted to hear in a list but the truth is, most people are not getting to their goals because they’re just not doing what is required and if you just do this, you’ll save yourself so much money on supplements etc. In fact, Moving more is one of the free things you can do right away! How many times have you had to go to the shop 5 minutes up the road and took your car? Oh, I know, you want to save time right? But how many times have you tried to park as close to the shops as possible in the car park, circling the car park 10 times before you found a space when you could have parked your car in “The nosebleeds” (that’s the far end of the car park where no one bothers to park) without having to wait and you get to walk a bit more.

You see, we always think of movement as exercise or time spent in the gym but movement is just movement and when it comes to burning calories, there’s a trick called NEAT that most people don’t consider.

NEAT stands for Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. In other words, it’s activity you do, such as walking, standing or even fidgeting (maybe your fidget spinner can help you lose weight after all!) that can account to at least 15% of your daily caloric intake.

2. Get an accountability partner

When it comes to accountability, nothing can beat hiring a coach who is trained to help you get the results you want and understand how to hold you accountable and get the best out of you (trust me, the investment is worth it) but until you’re ready to make that investment in yourself, the next best thing could be to have an accountability partner or buddy.

This could be a training buddy who makes sure you’re at training sessions and not slacking when you’re working out or just a friend to whom you regularly update your diet and training to. (Be sure to ask their permission first or you may lose friends fast!)

They may not be able to give you the quality advice a coach can give you but it will hold you accountable if you need to check in with someone about what you’ve been doing.

3. Prep your food

When was the last time you were out and about and bought yourself a nice lunch. The odd coffee and sandwich from Starbucks (around £7) or a Marks and Spencer’s Meal Deal (Around £5)?

Now, you’ve got to eat lunch when you’re out and about at work or wherever you are but all the weekly meals do add up not to mention how much empty calories you may be putting into your body as a result of eating store bought food and meal deals.

Granted, you can make excellent choices (especially at M&S), it’s still going to cost you more money than if you were to prep your food at home. The benefit of pre prepping your food isn’t only just going to help your pocket but also, you’ll be in total control of the quality of the ingredients going in too! You’ll have a better check in your calories and macros as a result of making the food yourself because remember, even the store bought food’s nutritional labels can be off by as much as 25% (and imagine what eating 25% more calories than you thought you were eating would be doing to your waist line!)

4. Ditch the diet and the supplements…

“Yo, Did you just say ditch the diet?”

Unfortunately, we live in a world that is very commercial and food manufacturers and marketers have caught wind of the amount of money there is to be made in health food. Seems like you’re okay to slap the word “Diet” or “High protein” onto a product and triple the price of it.

Now, whilst you should be conscious of eating foods that are better for you and generally have more protein (And often, they can be a bit more than cheaper foods that aren’t nourishing you), be aware of marketing gimmicks especially if you’re trying to get lean on a budget.
The bodybuilding and fitness mags may tell you you need a pharmacy load of supplements (hint, they’re owned by supplement companies!) in order to reach your goals but other than a good multi vitamin, a fish oil, BCAAs, magnesium and a decent protein powder, you really don’t need much else (maybe creatine) – All the hyped up pre workouts, fat burners, mass gainers etc? Leave them till you’re absolutely ready for them and have enough knowledge about them or have a coach that can help you with supplements otherwise you’ll be doing what I see a lot of people do, the shed pounds buying supplements but not the pounds off their bellies but the pounds in their bank accounts!

Get your diet on track first and foremost, spend a bit of time learning about or working with a coach to understand the basics of good nutrition (calories, macros etc). It might help to watch our video on nutrition here →

5. Train as a group

Personal training is by far the quickest way to get the results you want because a good personal trainer will give you a tailor made plan for both exercise and nutrition based around your lifestyle and your goals and will coach you, hold you accountable and keep you motivated whilst allowing you to tap into their expertise. Personal training however doesn’t often come cheap (though it is often worth it!) – However, many good personal trainers now offer what’s known as semi private coaching. This is personal training in a small group of like minded individual along with the same attention to detail, motivation, accountability and nutrition coaching you’d get as a one to one client but at a fraction of the cost.
This allows you to benefit from expert coaching without having to pay the full price if you’re happy and willing to train with others.

To find out more about our own semi private training programmes, please click here →

About the Author

Hi, I am Fahad and I am passionate about fitness, combat sports and personal development. I have combined those three things with my mission of helping people live kick ass lives and created Team Fighting Fit. A training program and community to help you achieve your goals in half the time!