5 Ways to Build Muscle and Save Money at the Same Time

Actors Jim Brown (left) and Trini Lopez, lifting weights and building muscle during the filming of 'The Dirty Dozen'

Actors find ways to make and save money on the job by lifting weights and building muscle during the filming of The Dirty Dozen | John Pratt/Keystone/Getty Images

Getting fit can be a huge expense. If you manage to find a cheap gym, you may still find that you’re hemorrhaging money in a number of other ways. Getting to and from your fitness center can add up, and if you plan on sticking to a healthy diet, you may spend more at the grocery store. You can build muscle and save money by working out at home, but that isn’t a great option for some people; at home, it’s easier to skip workouts or half-ass your way through your routine.

For some, the monetary and financial factors are what keep us from giving fitness a true go. Whether it’s losing weight, building muscle, or just trying to look and feel better, it can be an expensive and jarring lifestyle change. So, what if there were ways you could actually work on getting fit and saving your money at the same time? There are plenty of opportunities to do just that, as long as you can get creative.

Here are five ways you can get some exercise, burn calories, and build lean muscle all while saving yourself some money. They won’t all work for everyone, but if you can start to see opportunities for exercise in everyday activities, you may end up leaner and socking away more cash sooner than expected.

1. Build muscle with housework

A rake and felled leaves

Raking leaves | Source: Thinkstock

Do you typically pay someone to shovel your driveway, rake your yard, or cut your grass? All of those can be physically demanding chores, and by doing them yourself, you can save money and get a grueling workout in. Of course, this all depends on whether or not you have a house that requires upkeep, a region that sees significant snowfall, and other variables.

Regardless, if you get creative, you can find ways to exercise and get chores done simultaneously. It may be as simple as washing dishes with some serious ferocity.

2. Rework your commute

A man commutes to work on a bicycle

A man commutes to work on a bicycle | Source: iStock

According to recent data from CareerBuilder, commuting costs workers big. On average, over the course of a year, workers can spend around $3,000 just getting to and from work. In some cities, you can easily spend more than that — especially if you factor in stops for snacks and coffee.

Think about reworking your commute, if possible. If you can walk, run, bike, or rollerblade to work, you’ll be building muscle, burning calories, and saving money. Even if you’re just riding your bike to the nearest park and ride, it can save you big in the long run.

3. Use science to save money

close-up of a man's hand as he chooses a dumbbell

Man’s hand picking up a dumbbell | Source: iStock

If you want to save money by foregoing a gym membership, home-based workouts can often do just fine. But equipment — including barbells and dumbbells — can be expensive and hard to store. Well, you don’t need huge and heavy weights to get a good workout, as we’ve recently covered.

Smaller, cheaper dumbbells can be great replacements for the bulkier, more expensive counterparts. You can still build muscle by doing more reps and working toward total muscle exhaustion. Save on gym membership costs, and utilize less expensive equipment options.

4. Get a physical job or hobby

A man cuts down a tree in the forest

A man cuts down a tree in the forest | Lee/Central Press/Getty Images

If you’re chained to a desk all day, it can be hard to get enough exercise. If you’re really itching to squeeze in some more opportunities to build muscle and burn calories, perhaps look for a more physically intensive gig, or even a part-time job that can be taxing. That way, you’re earning money and exercising at the same time.

You can also figure out a new physical hobby — say hiking or biking. Instead of spending money at the bar or buying new toys, you can sweat it out on mountaintops.

5. Turn family time into workout time

The guy in the video above figured out a way to spend time with his kids while working out. It’s genius, but difficult. The video was featured on Upworthy, and serves as an example of the truth that becoming a parent doesn’t necessarily mean you have to sacrifice fitness.

It’s creative and fun, and if you can do something similar, you’ll be able to bond with your kids, save money on gym membership fees, and of course, get fit.

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