Keeping it real: fitness for free

On Monday I was running with my beginner’s running group, and one of the girls told me how much she loves running since she joined our little club, and how proud she is of her speed and distance. And, dear reader*, I’m not afraid to say that my heart melted just a little bit.


Because, I love running. I think I might love it too much. I love it so much that I want to take it behind the middle school and get it pregnant (Hahaha! I also love 30 Rock. Tina Fey, you comic genius). For me, running is evidence of the power of my body: there’s nothing more satisfying than running faster for longer than you have before and, rather than dying, actually feeling ok!


This girl told me how when she had a gym membership, she never used to go. She was doing her philanthropic duty by donating to the gym for the benefit of other members 😉 I personally find just getting there a big deal: you have to have your kit  bag, your towel, your change of clothes, you have to get there somehow, and back, and if you want to do a class you have to book in advance. And that’s all before you’ve walked through the door.


Legal & General did a survey and found that 83% of families think gym memberships are the easiest luxury to forgo if necessary. But, keen to promote fitness still, they have created a competition for bloggers to describe how they keep fit for free. And I’m not ashamed to admit that I want to enter. Plus, the topic is cool. So read on for my tips and secrets on how I stay fit for free – this stuff actually does help me, and will hopefully help you too.


Wayyyy Back in the day, I started running because I was 19 and couldn’t afford a gym membership. Remember the days when you had £5 to live on til the end of the week? Thats when I found running because I couldn’t afford to do anything else. And once I started, I quickly saw the benefits:

  • You don’t have to do a lot of running to see a difference
  • You can build up your speed and distance relatively quickly if you stay regular about it
  • You don’t need all the fancy equipment to do it (though now I’m not living on £5 per week I can attest that all the ‘stuff’ is nice)


Running helps you keep fit when you work odd hours, or when you travel. Another member of my running group texted me today to say that she’d just been for a run on her holiday. She was able to work on her fitness and her tan at the same time! Heck, check out these photos from my own run in Oslo today:

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photo 3-1

  photo 5


There’s no way I’d have seen 8k of Oslo without my free run.


And with the advent of YouTube, it’s possible to work out every single part of the body without leaving your living room. You do have to be smart about which video you choose, but there’s lots of good stuff there. Thanks to this blog, I found the wonder that is 8 minute abs (the fastest way to kill your abs and appreciate 90s fitness fashion). And my sister-in-law and I have been known to do the Victoria’s Secret Angel Butt workout once or twice. I mean, you cannot argue with Victoria’s Secret. They know what they’re doing.


Obviously not everything I do is free: races cost money, and so does pole dancing. But for pole, before I was strong enough for the classic push up, I did reps of tinned-tomato lifts to get my arms in shape. I sit my ankles on piles books when stretching my splits because they are cheaper than buying fitness blocks, in that I already own them. You can use anything for resistance – the walls, coffee table, door frame, stairs – depending on what you want to stretch. And then there’s the trusty foam roller for when you can’t afford a sport’s massage. Although you initially buy the roller, it’s around £30 cheaper than a sports massage in my experience.


So they’re my top tips: go running (and hopefully fall in love), find out what’s YouTube (but be smart), and think of your house as your very own gym. And you can spend the money you’ll save on gym membership on other things. Because, sometimes it’s nice to enjoy your free run in not-free-but-very-pretty-running shorts.


And breaking news for tonight —– Australia are out of the World Cup :(


I did my usual trick of watching the second half of the game and getting way too invested for someone who doesn’t usually care. But even I could see that the Socceroos played their hearts out, and didn’t go down without a fight. And because the boys were so happy to have my support for the final 49 minutes of their 2014 World Cup experience, they sent me this:



Happy Wednesday everyone!!


Ellie B


*I have always wanted to write ‘dear Reader’. Dickens and me, spreading the literary love.