Living in LA, it is easy to get caught up in the latest health trends that come and go by the minute. And not only is it hard to stay up with these trends, it can be difficult to shell out the funds for them as well. Gym memberships, yoga studios, juice cleanses, eating organic—none of it is free (let alone cheap!). It’s fun to try out new diet and exercise fads as they come along, but eventually it will start to add up. Today I will be sharing a few wallet-friendly tricks that will help you to save money and stay in shape. Here is my quick guide for staying fit on a budget…

1. Start training.
Sign up for a 5k race, a half marathon, or, if you’re really serious, a marathon. It will give you a reason to get outside and run—which is free! Even better—choose a race that donates it’s proceeds to charity and you will be running for a great cause. If you can’t afford the entry fee, reach out to friends and family for donations to help sponsor you. You will be getting in shape and spread good karma at the same time.

2. Watch workout DVDs.
This trick may not be new, but it sure it a great bang for your buck. The best thing about a set of workout DVDs is once you buy them, you have basically invested in a 24-hour gym in your very own home. You might need to pick up a few free weights and a yoga mat, but it’s well worth it. Try watching DVDs from Jillian Michaels or Tracy Anderson. And don’t forget about our favorite Tone It Up girls. You can check out their Youtube workout videos for free (but I recommend buying the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan to go along with it!).

3. Use your phone.
Never underestimate the power of a smart phone—they can do almost anything! While you may use yours primarily for texting and instagramming emailing, you can actually download some apps that will help you to stay healthy too. Moves is an app that tracks your steps each day and lets you know how active you are. Try to get to 10,000 if you can! Other great fitness apps are MyFitnessPal, which serves as a mobile food and exercise journal, and Yoga STRETCH, which allows you to take full yoga classes on the go. Each of these apps is less than $5, which is way more cost-efficient than an expensive pedometer, a personal nutritionist, or a pricey yoga membership.

4. Make a challenge.
Starting up challenges within your office, group of friends, or family is a great way to keep you motivated to stay fit throughout the day. Go ahead and encourage your group to try a 30-day crunch challenge: on the first day, do 20 crunches at some point during your day, and increase the number of crunches by 5 every day until you are at 150 crunches on day 30. You will have toned abs before you know it. Or, kick start a walking contest within your company (using Moves!) and compete with departments to see who can walk the most over an entire month. Adding a little friendly competition into your fitness routine is a fun way to stay motivated and be active.

5. Write it down.
Another trick that I’ve found helps me stay fit is putting my goals and achievements down on paper. When I have a big vacation or a special event coming up, I make a workout calendar and hang it up somewhere I see it every day. I mark a check for the days that I workout, which makes me want to get as many checks as possible. Some people also find it helpful to keep a food journal. Writing down everything you eat during the day can help to gain insight about the types of food you are eating and how much of it.

And don’t forget that taking advantage of the great outdoors is a great way to get moving without spending a dime. Go hiking, swimming, running or biking—or even taking a long walk with your girlfriend will help you to log in some exercise.

My favorite way to stay fit on a budget is popping in a workout DVD. What’s yours?

XO Lauren

P.S. Let me know what you would like to see me cover in my next fitness blog post!