Fitness on a Budget Part 2: DIY, Nearly Free, No Gym Required Workout Plans

Now that we have the tools to develop our own healthy nutrition plan based on Berardi’s Precision Nutrition principles for free, let’s see about constructing some effective fitness plans for fat loss or general improvement in functional fitness that require minimal or no equipment at all and use only freely, LEGALLY available web resources.

Minimum Requirements:

  • A clean bill of health from your primary care physician: Though I doubt that most of you will bother with this, I have to observe the formalities and say that you really, really shouldn’t start a new exercise regimen without being checked out first, especially if you have been sedentary for more than a month or two or have a medical condition that may affect your ability to perform strenuous exercise safely. Proceed at your own risk!
  • Good workout shoes: I am assuming that you already own a pair of decent running or crosstraining shoes that fit properly and aren’t completely flat from 5 years of daily wear. If you do not own such shoes, check the clearance area of websites like Footlocker.com for older models and sign up for their sales notifications so you will know when a 30% off coupon is available. For women, don’t forget to check the Men’s clearance; many men’s shoes are left over in small sizes (6-7.5) that would fit an average female foot just fine (7.5-9).
  • Chin Up / Pull Up Bar (Optional): Prices range from $12 for a basic model to around $60 for one with multiple grips. If you have a playground nearby with bars, you can save yourself some money by doing your workouts in the park instead.
  • Resistance Tubing with Handles (Optional): Prices are usually between $9-$15. This is a good alternative for those of you who aren’t quite able to perform bodyweight chin ups yet.

The (Free!) Programs:

Building Your Plan:

Because preserving lean muscle mass is critical to long-term success with fat loss–the more lean mass you have, the more calories you burn just sitting on your butt all day, and the more food you can get away with eating without getting fluffy again–the Turbulence Training Bodyweight Workout (TTBW) is mandatory in all of the plans.

Sorry ladies, this means you, too. Bodyweight exercises won’t bulk you up into She-Hulks, I swear. You will get leaner, firmer, and stronger without getting huge using this manual, and honestly, isn’t it sort of embarrassing to NOT be able to do real push-ups with just your own bodyweight? Physical weakness is neither attractive nor useful.

And for the guys–if you’ve been out of shape for a while, you will see some muscle gains using the TTBW plan, but they will be more in line with a lean mountain climber or volleyball player build vs. the bulky look of a bodybuilder.

As a side note, any of the plans below can also be adapted for maintenance by adjusting your nutrition so your intake is no longer at a caloric deficit.

So let’s take come up with a few training options using just the free resources above:

Absolute Beginner’s Fat Loss Program: You’ve never worked out regularly or have been out of the workout groove for more than 6 months, and your primary goals are fat loss and improving your fitness

  • Monday: TTBW (Beginner level) – bodyweight workout only; no intervals (30 minutes)
  • Tuesday: TT Intervals (Beginner level) – walk / jog* (20 min)
  • Wednesday: TTBW (Beginner level) – bodyweight workout only; no intervals (30 minutes)
  • Thursday: TT Intervals (Beginner level) – walk / jog* (20 min)
  • Friday: TTBW (Beginner level) – bodyweight workout only; no intervals (30 minutes)
  • Saturday: TT Intervals (Beginner level) – walk / jog* (20 min)
  • Sunday: Rest

* Walking / Jogging can be substituted with swimming, bicycling, rollerblading or elliptical machine if you have the equipment for these activities at your disposal.

Beginners Who Want To Prepare for a 5k Race: You are a Beginner as defined above, but you would like to combine your fat loss workouts with a training plan for a 5k race

  • Monday: TTBW (Beginner level) – bodyweight workout only; no intervals (30 minutes) *
  • Tuesday: Couch to 5k training (20-30 min)
  • Wednesday: TTBW (Beginner level) – bodyweight workout only; no intervals (30 minutes)
  • Thursday: Couch to 5k training (20-30 min)
  • Friday: TTBW (Beginner level) – bodyweight workout only; no intervals (30 minutes)
  • Saturday: Couch to 5k training (20-30 min)
  • Sunday: Rest

* If you are feeling pretty hardcore after the first week and want to boost your fat loss, you can add the TT intervals (20 minutes) to the end of your Monday, Wednesday, and Friday TTBW workouts.

Intermediate/Advanced Fat Loss Without Running: You have been working out regularly for a while or have completed the Beginner level workouts without too much difficulty. (If the beginner workouts are still challenging for you–e.g. you cannot complete all reps or intervals–you might want to do another 4 week block at the Beginner level.) You want to perform intervals without running or extra equipment.

  • Monday: TTBW (Intermediate/Advanced level) (30 minutes) + Bodyweight interval circuit (Do however many rounds of this as recommended for your TT intervals. )
    1. Squat Thrusts (30 sec)
    2. Jumping Jacks (30 sec)
    3. Mountain Climbers (30 sec)
    4. Jump Squats (20 sec)
    5. REST (60 sec)
  • Tuesday: Optional general exercise* (30 min)
  • Wednesday: TTBW (Intermediate/Advanced level) (30 minutes) + Bodyweight interval circuit (Do however many rounds of this as recommended for your TT intervals. )
  • Thursday: Optional general exercise* (30 min)
  • Friday: TTBW (Intermediate/Advanced level) (30 minutes) + Bodyweight interval circuit (Do however many rounds of this as recommended for your TT intervals. )
  • Saturday: Optional general exercise* (30 min)
  • Sunday: Rest

* Take a walk, do some yoga, garden, swim, bike, do a few rounds of bodyweight circuits again, or pop in a workout DVD–the goal is to do something active that you enjoy.

Intermediate/Advanced Fat Loss With 5k Training: You have been working out regularly for a while or have completed the Beginner level workouts without too much difficulty. (If the beginner workouts are still challenging for you–e.g. you cannot complete all reps or intervals–you might want to do another 4 week block at the Beginner level.) You would like to mix bodyweight interval circuits with a 5k training plan.

  • Monday: TTBW (Intermediate/Advanced level) (30 minutes) + Bodyweight interval circuit (Do however many rounds of this as recommended for your TT intervals. )
  • Tuesday: Couch to 5k training (30 min)
  • Wednesday: TTBW (Intermediate/Advanced level) (30 minutes) + Bodyweight interval circuit (Do however many rounds of this as recommended for your TT intervals. )
  • Thursday: Couch to 5k training (30 min)
  • Friday: TTBW (Intermediate/Advanced level) (30 minutes) + Bodyweight interval circuit (Do however many rounds of this as recommended for your TT intervals. )
  • Saturday: Couch to 5k training (30 min)
  • Sunday: Rest

Intermediate/Advanced Fat Loss With Extra Cardio: You have been working out regularly for a while or have completed the Beginner level workouts without too much difficulty, but you feel that additional cardio might be needed to get rid of those last 5 lbs of fat. You would like to mix bodyweight interval circuits with a 5k training plan.

  • Monday: TTBW (Intermediate or Advanced level) (30 minutes) + Bodyweight interval circuit (Do however many rounds of this as recommended for your TT intervals. ) or your choice of running / bike / swimming / etc. intervals
  • Tuesday: Cardio Coach V.6 workout (run / bike / elliptical / etc.) (45-60 min)
  • Wednesday: TTBW (Intermediate or Advanced level) (30 minutes) + Bodyweight interval circuit (Do however many rounds of this as recommended for your TT intervals. ) or your choice of running / bike / swimming / etc. intervals
  • Thursday: Cardio Coach V.6 workout (run / bike / elliptical / etc.) (45-60 min)
  • Friday: TTBW (Intermediate or Advanced level) (30 minutes) + Bodyweight interval circuit (Do however many rounds of this as recommended for your TT intervals. ) or your choice of running / bike / swimming / etc. intervals
  • Saturday: Cardio Coach V.6 workout (run / bike / elliptical / etc.) (45-60 min)
  • Sunday: Rest

Fitness on a Budget Series:

Further Reading
Need more variety? Mix things up by swapping out the TTBW workouts and the Couch to 5k training plan with some of the options below!

3 thoughts on “Fitness on a Budget Part 2: DIY, Nearly Free, No Gym Required Workout Plans

  1. What great info. It’s good to get some extra inspiration that doesn’t involve $$$. Thanks! Rhonda

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