Fitness technology is all the rage at the moment, with all of the big, traditional sports brands getting involved, including the likes of Nike with their Fuelband. We have also seen the arrival of players like TomTom, who are making a series of sports watches for the first time. Fitness and technology is now bigger business then every before, but in times of financial uncertainty, many of us are still trying to find ways to save the pennies. Step in fitness tech, with its wide array of ground breaking new devices which can save money on fitness.
Everybody is focussing on all of the amazing new fitness technology, but here I investigate ways that we can use this great new technology to actually save us money. Below are 16 tips which could save you over £5,000 a year, without sacrificing any of your health or your fitness. Let’s begin…
Tip One: Cut out public transport by walking – and measure your progress with an activity tracker
- Save money on the tube, bus or your petrol by walking to work
- Measure the steps taken with an activity tracker, and measure your fitness as it improves
- Walk further every day, and set goals to carry on doing more
- Save time on gym based cardio and hit the great outdoors
Potential saving: £2+ per journey, per day on the London Tube. £1,456 a year based on one outbound journey and one return journey per day over a year
Or, Tip 2, save some money by at least partially walking to work. You don’t need to walk all of the way to work, why not build up slowly by walking one stop closer to work on the tube (Tip 3)
Potential saving: As much as you want it to be. If you walk one leg of your journey, then you could save £728 a year. Most people do more than one journey a day in London, so that could be incremental on tip one
Save a bucket load on your life insurance premiums
Tip 4: Getting fit can seriously pay when it comes to insurance payments. Pru Health, which is an offer from the Prudential provides discounted, or even free gym membership for customers who can prove that they’re fit. How do you do that? One way is by using a pedometer to demonstrate how far you walk each day. An activity tracker will also do the business.
Potential saving: £150 a year
You can save more money by buying healthy food, such as fruit and veg at your local store. The scheme works on ‘vitality points’. Vitality points can involve downloading healthy eating plans on a fit tech app (Tip 5)
Get proper gear, at the right prices
The latest fitness technology is designed for hard gym wear and tear, so it pays to buy decent quality, training specific fitness gear (Tip 7). Use shopping comparison services to find the best deals and shop around, often major store chains offer huge discounts on gym gear. Gym memberships are quite cyclical, with huge peaks in demand at certain times of the year. The New Year always sees a spike in membership, as does the early spring as people prepare to hit the beach. Buy your fitness gear in one go at unpopular times of the year, like November time, and capitalise on retailer promotions to shift slow stock (Tip 8)
Potential saving: 30% off your gym gear, which could easily equate to £75 over a year
Also, you don’t always need to buy the most expensive fitness technology. Take Heart rate monitors, they come in all guises, and are aimed at a host of different trainers, budgets and sports. Some people make the mistake of trying to grab the best gear they can, often because it is on a ‘good deal’. The best deal is the kit that matches your needs the best though. Tip 9 is that it is best to get the cheapest priced piece of kit that does what you need it to. If you train in a gym, then you don’t need a GPS watch. If you don’t swim, do you really need a watch that is aimed at triathletes?
Ditch the gym
People choose to use the gym rather than train outside for a host of reasons. Some folk value the output data on the cardio machines, such as the calorie reading. These machines are typically inaccurate anyway without a HR reading, so why not invest in a decent heart rate monitor and ditch the cardio machines full stop (tip 10)? Not only do you save money, but you get fresh air and a more varied training programme, with all of the natural undulations in the terrain.
Potential saving: Average cost of a major brand gym according to Deloitte = £563 a year)
Or, downgrade your gym to meet your needs. You’ll often find the same fitness technology in your local health centre or even in your local university gym. If you’re not a big user of the spa, sauna and steam room, then this could save you some serious cash (Tip 11)
Potential saving: Average cost of a major brand gym according to Deloitte (£563 a year) – average cost of a council run facility (£435 a year) = £128 a year
Ditch the PT
Personal trainers make a killing out of rolling out some basic training routines, and then writing down the numbers afterwards, Often they stand by and watch you on the treadmill, providing little if any real benefit. Fitness technology can easily fulfil their role, saving the tech savvy trainee a small fortune over a year.
Tip 12: Use a free app like MapMyRun to track your outdoor training
Tip 13: Use a heart rate monitor to accurately track your progress. Some advanced heart rate monitors come with software which lets you analyse your performance, providing additional improvement ideas
Tip 14, use a free exercise app to find great workout ideas and new exercises. A cursory search on the iOS app store shows hundreds of such apps, with not much to choose between them. Tip 15, Download a number of them to get more variety and new exercise ideas
Potential saving: 4 PT sessions a month at £35 a session (£1680 a year) – a heart rate monitor cost. The Garmin Forerunner is a great place to start (~100) = £1,580 saved per year!
Invest in a high quality set of body fat scales, in order to accurately measure your body composition over time (Tip 16). Many people pay for their PT to provide a body composition test, often at around £60 a go. You’re encouraged to have one of these tests per month, whereas with your own scales, you can have one test per week at no additional cost. Tanita do a range of great body fat scales, with decent models measuring body fat, body water, bone density and visceral fat beginning at around £80.
Potential saving: 12 body composition tests (£720) – a good body fat scale (£80) = £640 saving