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Fitness on a Budget

There was a great question this week that focuses on getting fit and loosing weight on a budget.  In times like these, we all are trying to pinch a few pennies, here is how I mix in fitness for pennies.  Here is the question:

There are some great ideas on the Articles Section on getting fit and loosing weight and such.  However, I am 25 years old, I am single and live from paycheck to paycheck.  Many things that people suggest doing are quite frankly too expensive - Gym memberships and food included.  How do you loose weight and build muscle on a very strict budget?  I am looking to loose a significant amount of weight and know that I have to start small.  What do you suggest?

You can get fit and lose weight with little or no money at all – just a time investment.  For a reasonable price of time, you can achieve your goals if you can follow these suggestions:

Cardio-vascular fitness – First and foremost, this is the fat burning method that is easy on the wallet, but you can spend a majority of your time on this depending on your current fitness level.  If you are a beginner, I do not recommend starting off running in the first 4-6 weeks, especially if you have significant weight to lose (+30 pounds).  Walk it off!  By walking further and more often through your day, you can add to your calories expenditure with very little effort.  However, a session of walking 20-30 minutes at a faster than normal pace is recommended on a daily basis.  For a FREE idea of a fitness plan with nutrition and workout see the link . Be prepared to do something daily and lose 15-20 lbs.  To burn MORE fat faster and an optimal levels, do your PT / weights first then add in the cardio at the end.  See related article on Cardio vs Resistance Training

Water is FREE! -  Water is the magic solution to weight loss.  See the latest Water / Weight Loss article on the article archive.  

Drinking water instead of soda makes a huge difference on your calorie intake at the end of the day.  I have seen people replace soda with water and lose 25 lbs. in one year.  They did not have to do anything else – just replace soda.  Water is the KEY!!!

DROP SUGAR - As seen above if you eliminate sugar from your world you will see a huge difference in your waist size as well as your wallet.  Sugary drinks, snacks, cookies, cakes all cost money!  Get your “sugar” or carbs from fruits and vegetables.  Sure these cost something too but if you are going to eat anything eat this brand of food for energy, health, and weight loss.

Dumbbells and calisthenics – You can get a few pairs of dumbbells for a few dollars.  Usually they cost about 50 cents a pound.  I would recommend a pair of 3,5,8 lb dumbbells for the type of arm and leg workouts in these programs. BUT you do not have to buy dumbbells, you can actually use milk jugs filled with water or even large soup cans.  Here are some great workout ideas pulled from the downloadable manuals from the ebook store:

Try the light weight shoulder workout – 3-5 lbs is all you need.  See the link about the best shoulder workout ever!

Pyramids and Supersets of pushups and crunches - These are quick and challenging workouts that you can do anywhere.  No need to get weights at a gym.  These workouts work with your own body weight. 

The Best 20-30 minute workouts - These workouts are quick and simple and will progress as you get more fit.  They grow with your fitness level as you get in better shape.  This can save your time budget as well.

Food is Money - Now as far as food, you are right, food does cost money.  But, food is more expensive in restaurants, take-out / delivery, etc. and fast food chains have $1.00 meal deals that are cheap but loaded with fat, sodium, which will not help you in your weight loss / fitness program.  Buy your produce such as fruits and vegetables as sales come and go.  Usually if you look for the fruits and vegetables that are in season, you can get them at a cheaper price.  Same goes for your lean meats.  You can buy regular meats like ham, steak, and chicken and cut off the fat yourself and have lean meat.  No need to buy meat with the fat already cut off - cut it off yourself!.  And of course, as mentioned above, water is the key.  Drink more water for a natural hunger suppressant, but do not neglect your nutrition and not eat.  You should be eating 1800-2000 calories a day.

You can save money by not eating as much AND lose weight obviously.  BUT, make sure you are limiting ONLY foods that are bad for you (high sugar / high calories from fat).  Instead, snack on foods like peanuts, almonds which have good fats that your body needs and are high in calories and great for energy. 

For examples of what foods to purchase, and when to eat them in your day, check out the Weight Loss and Nutrition Articles Sections on the Fitness Information Link on the main page of 

I hope this helps you with Fitness on a Budget.  Thanks for the emails.  Keep them coming to

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at



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Published Books / DVDs
Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness (Book / DVD)
Maximum Fitness

The Special Operations Workout

The SWAT Workout - From Recruit to SWAT Team Member
The Combat Swimmer Stroke DVD

The Pre-Habit Workout DVD
Clinic DVD for Navy SEAL PST
The FBI Special Agent Test Clinic DVD

The Complete List of Stew Smith's eBooks:

Fitness for All Levels of Fitness

The 90 Day Beginner Guide to Fitness
The Advanced Maintenance and Recovery Program

Reclaim Your Life - The Erin O'Neill Program

Veteran's Fitness - Baby Boomer and a Flat Stomach

The Busy Executive Workout Routine
The Advanced Weights / PT Workout (Fall / Winter Weight Gain Cycle)
The Perfect Pushup Workout

The TRX Workout
- Circuit Training 101 ebook

NEW Obstacle Course Race Ebook

The Special Forces Physical Fitness Workouts
 Combat Conditioning Workout

Navy SEAL Workout Phase 1  Beginner Weeks 1-9
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 2 - 3 - Intermediate Weeks 1-12
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 4  Grinder PT -  Four weeks before Hell Week

Navy SWCC Workout

The Army Special Forces / Ranger Workout 

The Army Air Assault School Workout

The Army Airborne Workout

Air Force PJ / CCT Workout

The Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer Workout

The OCS, ROTC, Service Academy, & Bootcamp Workouts

New - Army PRT and CRT
Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard OCS Workout

The USMC IST and PFT Workout
USMC OCS / TBS Workout
The Service Academy Workout (West Point, Navy, Air Force Academy)
The Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp Bootcamp Workout

The Army OCS and PFT Workout
The PFT Bible - Military / Police Standard PFT


The Law Enforcement Physical Fitness Test Workouts

The FBI Academy / PFT Prep Workout

The DEA Prep Workout

The FLETC Prep Workout - Ace the PEB

The State / Local Police Academy Workout

The Fire Fighter Workout

Seal Multi Men's Multi-Vitamin Multi-Mineral

Free SEAL Training Videos from Phil Black

TRX Train Like the Pros



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