Cheap ideas for keeping a fit body fat wallet.

The costs of maintaining a regular fitness routine can add up quickly. If staying in shape is starting to make you skinny in the wrong place—specifically, your wallet— we’ve got a few tips to help you bulk up again. John Rosabella, a master trainer and nutrition consultant at In Motion 24-Hour Fitness Center in Bonita Springs, begins by reminding thrifty athletes that workout equipment can be found all around them.

A park bench can be used for push-ups, for example. Steps can become a stair machine. And some of the best exercises to strengthen and tone the lower body—such as lunges and squats—require no equipment at all.

Pinching your pennies doesn’t mean you have to scrimp on wellness, Rosabella continues. He suggests beginning your workout week with upper body training, perhaps with weights; scouring a discount or thrift store will likely reveal a low-cost set. You can amp up the efficiency of this workout with cardio intervals between reps, Rosabella adds.

Then, enjoy two or three recreational activities, such as swimming or running, during the week. Finish off the week with lower body training, such as lunges and squats. Finally, don’t forget to add in some abdominal work. If you don’t want to splurge on a workout mat, a towel will suffice.

One place where you shouldn’t cut corners is nutrition, Rosabella counsels. He encourages athletes to remember the motto “eat lean, clean and green,” meaning they should try to eat lean protein, minimally processed foods and lots of leafy green vegetables to enjoy peak physical performance. In Motion often holds free nutritional seminars; check the gym’s Facebook page for details and schedules.

“You can never out-train a bad diet,” Rosabella says. “If you’re not eating properly, no matter what you do, it’s all going to be for naught.”

  1. Core value For the past three years, former bodyguard and longtime martial arts enthusiast Jeff Ebner has been leading “Plyo in the Park,” a boot camp-style class at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Cambier Park in Naples. There’s no charge to attend this 30-minute workout; Ebner says his payment is simply helping people achieve their wellness goals. But with a high-intensity program that focuses on core strength, we’re betting he gets paid plenty. Bring water and a towel. (239) 777-2567 or for more information.
  2. Free flow Emptying your piggy bank to find the funds for your yoga class can put a serious dent in your bliss. Instead, stretch your dollar further with a free yoga class. At 9:30 a.m. every Saturday, teacher Anna Withrow leads a multi-level class at the Alliance for the Arts Green Market in Fort Myers; bring a mat, water and sunscreen for this outdoor class, and supervised children are welcome. At 11 a.m. every Sunday, Naples fitness outfitter lululemon holds a community yoga class inside its Waterside Shops location. Mats available. More information available at and
  3. A wheel steal Spin class can be addictive, but gym fees can be sobering. If you own a bike and a helmet, why not try pedaling with one of Southwest Florida’s many group road rides? Usually organized by cycling clubs or bike shops, there is no charge to participate and rides are held every day of the week, morning and evening. One note: You’ll need to understand the etiquette of group riding and be able to maintain the speed of the ride, which varies. Visit or for a primer on ride safety, as well a comprehensive listing of free local rides, including those best suited for beginners.
  4. Sole provider When you tire of the treadmill, lace up your sneaks and head out to Waterside Shops in Naples at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays for a free fun run hosted by local coaching company Leapfrog Athletics. The out-and-back style course lets runners choose a distance from two to six miles, and Leapfrog coach Matt Reedy is on-hand to answer running-related questions from attendees, meaning you can enjoy a bit of complimentary coaching, too. The run begins on the west side of Waterside Shops. Contact (239) 272-7811 or for more information.
  5. Splashy savings When the water’s warm, the best thing to do is dive in. Skip the admission to the lap pool and head to the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club at 6 p.m. on Friday nights, when the Gulf Coast Runners host a training swim in the Gulf of Mexico through October. Swimmers of all abilities are welcomed, and after attendees have conquered the waves, the event soon turns in a casual social affair. There is no charge to attend, and details are available at
  6. Cheap date Maybe the best thing about staying fit on a shoestring is meeting other cash-savvy fitness fanatics who share the same idea. Not sure where to start? Check and discover an assortment of group gatherings for the movement-minded, including inline skating, beach pole walking, pickup soccer and paddleboard yoga. While many of these meet ups are free, a handful of others have a nominal membership costs or rental equipment fees.