8 Ways to Get in Shape Without Trying Too Hard (or Spending Too Much)

Let’s be clear about one thing, right off the bat: In order to change your body, you do have to try a little. Sadly they have yet to invent a pill that unearths Emrata-worthy abs overnight, so in the meantime, at least a little bit of effort is required. And anyway, we can all but guarantee that your mind and body will thank you for putting the time in: Being active does wonders for our overall well-being, from boosting immunity and happiness to helping with sleep deprivation. 

This all being said, you also don’t need to spend hours on the treadmill to get in great shape. You don’t have to kiss your social life goodbye, or even designate an hour per day to get your gym fix in order to see results. And perhaps most significantly, you don’t have to spend a lot of money. You actually don’t need to spend any at all. 

We know this from experience. As busy, working women who who still prioritize our health, we’re constantly on the hunt for ways to break a sweat without breaking the bank (or our schedule). And as we’ve put some of these strategies into practice, we’ve found that some work better than others. Keep reading to see our favorite ways to (conveniently) stay in shape.

1. Walk everywhere.

Band-Aid Friction Block Stick ($5)

Not only is it better for the environment to give your car a break, but it also works wonders for your waistline (and mind). Plus, it feels leisurely, and it’s free. (Just maybe stock up on some blister block.)

2. Stream workouts from your living room.

Not only is it incredibly convenient, but they also tend to cost way less than a gym membership (and offer tons of options). See our honest reviews of the most popular channels.

3. Is time of the essence?

Then consider Tabata or HIIT, which require you to go all out for just 10–20 minutes (but torch serious fat and calories even after you’re done).

4. Vacuum your abs.

Not literally, please. Ab-vacuuming, which basically involves sucking in your stomach whenever you can remember to do so, went viral last summer as the new hands-off tummy-toning workout to try. (It still works, promise.)

5. Try Olivia Culpo’s bodyweight workout.

No equipment? No problem. Do it in your hotel room when you’re on the go.

6. On that note, invest in equipment that you can take anywhere.

Title Boxing Leather Jumprope ($15)

Better yet, choose something that will give you a full-body workout in a flash, like a jumprope. (Not good at skipping rope? Jumping jacks work, too.)

7. Focus on quality, not quantity.

Exhibit A: These souped-up push-ups that promise toned arms in just two weeks. 

8. Prioritize mind over body.

Getting toned abs in as little time as possible sounds appealing—we get it. Vanity isn’t out of the picture! But we’ve found that when we choose a workout that fuels our mind and allows us to go to a happy, meditative place, the physical stuff falls right in line. (We’re also that much more motivated to stick with it.)

What’s your favorite way to get in shape quickly (and on the cheap)? Sound off in the comments below.


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