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  1. That’s so awesome that you guys are tackling a spartan race – it sounds intense! Thanks for the awesome tips on frugal fitness. Now that I’ve got a bit more free time on my hands, fitness is something I need to get back into my routine.

    We do lots of walking naturally and I’m biking for errands around town, but I could definitely use something a bit more structured. This post has my brain running with some ideas 🙂

    • Thanks, Chris! Oh yeah, you can get the whole family active now.

      We’re talking about a PF crew obstacle course race in 2018; perhaps you can join us! And that goes for anyone else reading who might be interested.

  2. I love the home exercises. I am going to have to try to rig up a sled pull like the one you mentioned.

    I have long wanted to try my hand at completing a Spartan, but they don’t have one local this year. I am thinking of signing up for a “Warrior Dash”, which is similar (but easier). Looks like a ton of fun!

  3. Nice! Lots of good suggestions here. And that’s coming from a certified personal trainer and licensed corrective exercise specialist =) My friends and I did one of those spartan ones too. Very fun. I’d say cardio is pretty important. I’d like to do some tough mudders in the future. I’ve heard great things about it. Although I’m not looking forward to the cattle prods or whatever they are, the dangling electric lines over muddy water. Something about that just doesn’t jive for me 😛

    • Glad I passed! I’m a former personal trainer but it’s been a few years. 🙂 Someone was just telling me about the shocking you can get in that race. I’m with you in that it doesn’t sound appealing at all. Thanks for the comments Tim!

  4. Love these kinds of posts. We’re an active family and have created our own garage gym with equipment we’ve accumulated over the years. We also have quite a bit of DIY equipment too. Love the sled you created. Such a great idea.

    • That’s good to hear OurFI. So much better than sitting on the couch all the time together. There are some Spartan Race events for kids too, and I suppose the other events may also have family events. Thank you for the kind words!

  5. What a nice surprise. I clicked the link to check out what Mr. Groovy had to write about frugal fitness and there was a guest post from one of my other favorite bloggers Amy from Life Zemplified. I enjoyed this post emencly. Thanks for sharing how you can create an effective workout at home without having to spend much money. I bet those sled drags are not as easy as they look.

  6. Okay Amy, you’re AMAZING. When I think of frugal exercise, I think of running around the neighborhood and renting an exercise DVD from the library. This is inspiring me to get off my behind and think outside the box to get more exercise.

  7. Home gyms a lot more fun because it takes creativity as well as determination. I think some people think paying a lot of money for the gym will make them adhere to it better – well that sounds pretty risky to bet your money on your determination.

    We purchased a 3 story townhouse partly because we have a lot of stairs. Everyday is a leg day at our house! I run up stairs better than I run on horizontal ground now thanks to AirBnB!

    I giggled at some of the photos. OH goodness that lawn is ridiculously lush!!! Is there a frugal guide for lawn care?

    • I think you’re right Lily, some people believe the paid membership will also buy them motivation. That sometimes works if you are paying a trainer as well but not always.

      Go you! Stairs are a great exercise.

      I think it’s called goats, but we don’t have any 🙂 Nope, just rain and a riding lawn mower. Thanks, Lily!

  8. How fun that you guys are doing the Spartan Race together, and I love how you’ve used normal, everyday items into workout tools.
    I ditched my gym membership over a year ago and have found a lot of good resources on YouTube. I like having a video to follow and doing so in the comfort of my own home for free is perfect! Thanks for the tips Amy, and good luck in the race!

  9. Great post, Amy! I love all the suggestions! And to the Groovy’s – we’d love to do a Tough Mudder or Spartan (or just hang out) with the northeast PF crew! I love that you can do these at your house with minimal cost too. I’m reading a book Ms. Montana sent me Amy. It’s called “Younger Next Year” – have you read it?

  10. Love it! Funny that ANW influenced me to sign up for another obstacle course run in Nov…that was discounted…of course! I’ve actually done Warrior Dash twice and really enjoyed it! It’s nice that you have all that space to do that too!

    • Mr. Groovy

      Hey, Tonya. I did a Warrior Dash a few years ago and failed miserably. Couldn’t even run to the first obstacle. Basically walked the whole course. Hopefully I can redeem myself next year if Mrs. Groovy allows me to do a Tough Mudder.

  11. While I agree the money that I use for a gym could be saved, there are a few things that I like to do that I use the gym for (swimming, universal weightlifting, etc.)

    We have a bike and a treadmill, so I am already going fewer times than I use to. When I retire, I will probably drop the gym membership.

    • Hi, Kevin! Swimming is definitely something many of us can’t do at home. I think if you can afford the gym, find value in the membership and it gets you to exercise then great. I wouldn’t tell you to give it up. Glad you are being active!

    • Mr. Groovy

      Good point, Kevin. Tough to swim at home. And there is something to say for free weights. Perhaps the best overall body exercise is the dead lift. It could be done at home, of course. But once you start flirting with some real heavy weight (i.e. more than 300 lbs), you’re probably best off at a gym.

  12. Now that is getting creative. I’m sure you guys are going to kill it at your race. Find a place to practice rope climbs. They aren’t hard if you can do a pull up but require some technique.

    And get good at burpees. Any obstacle you mess up you get punished with a set of burpees.

    Why are you doing this again 😉

    • Thanks for the words of encouragement, Grant! As a matter of fact, I’m working on the burpees because the rope climb might do me in lol

      HA, I’ve asked myself that a couple of times. Something about being a 50-year-old BadAss! 🙂

    • HA, Francesca! I’m definitely tired by the end of it. I bet chasing your little one can be an exercise in itself. Hockey sounds fun too! I always enjoyed playing field hockey in school…but that’s been years ago. Thanks for commenting!

    • Mr. Groovy

      Francesca! I love it. I think chasing after a little one counts as working out too. And my eyes were popping out of my head at the thought of £3 ice hockey. But then Amy cleared things up when she mentioned field hockey in her reply. Heck, if I could play ice hockey for £3, I think I’d have to spend half the year in London.

  13. I love the sled and rowing equipment you made! Great job making fitness equipment frugally. There’s no financial reason not to stay fit.

    I was in Michigan earlier this year for Toughmudder, which we do every year (not necessarily in MI) This September Em and I are doing our local Toughmudder, which will be her first. Looks like you will be ready for your event without a problem at all.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Hey, Mike. The toboggan was a fantastic idea. And the pull up bar was one of the best home pull up bars I’ve ever seen. Love the plumbing pipe. Industrial chic meets Yankee ingenuity.

  14. Mrs. Groovy

    Thanks for sharing your routines with our readers, Amy! It’s so inspiring to know there are simple ways to train frugally for a race.

    How long does it take you to walk 5 miles and will you continue with that once the race is over?

    It takes us app. 50 minutes to walk app. 3 miles daily. I’m thinking it takes you at least an 1-1/4 hours to do 5 miles. How and when do you make the time for that 6 days a week?

    • Thank you, Mrs. Groovy! It is my pleasure.

      We don’t do the 5 miles all at once sorry I should have made that more clear. Here’s how it usually goes:

      John and I actually work for the same employer, and we are lucky to have a one-mile sidewalk loop right outside our work door. So we are able to walk that 2 or 3 times a day – during lunch hour and sometimes before we start the work day. Then we walk the other 2 – 3 miles in the evening at a state park about 5 mins from our home. My mom typically takes part in that walk as well.

      One weekend day per week we get to the park early and get about 4-5 miles in, then catch the rest if needed in the evening with a walk in the neighborhood or a quick jump on the treadmill.

      Bad weather days/times are spent on the treadmill as well. Not nearly as much fun.

  15. Amy, you’re a Goddess. Creative ideas, and impressive results! I couldn’t help but wonder how your neighbors must be trying to figure out what kind of lawn work you and John are doing with that toboggan! (a low-cost alternative to a lawn roller!?). Great ideas, think I’ll try a few in our yard!

    Good luck in the Spartan, look forward to reading about it!

    • Fritz, you are too kind! Luckily our yard is surrounded by trees but my mom does chuckle at us some.

      Why yes, I think your yard could handle these for sure. Just no more falling off the roof okay?

      Thank you!

  16. THANK YOU for sharing these! It hurts my heart to see people pay for gym fees when you have everything you need to get fit already in your home. I started my own freeish exercise regimen. Every morning I wake up and dance along with free dance workout videos on YouTube. Afterwards I lift some weights, or some days I run on our elliptical (which we bought on firesale at Walmart years ago).

    I also have the great opportunity to work from home, so I also work at a standing desk for half of my day.

    • Thanks, Mrs. P! Yay for starting your own routine! Dancing is great and strength training is super important too, glad to hear you’re getting some in.

      Oh yes, I’ve got a stand-up desk at my work as well! I do a couple hours of standing in the morning and a couple in the afternoon as well most days.

      • I love the stand-up desk, ladies. I wonder if they take a little getting used to.

        The best thing about working out at or around home is I can’t find an excuse for not doing it.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Hey, Mrs. PP. I’ve always wondered how those stand-up desks were. For some reason, I always thought it would be hard to type from a standing position. But I guess it isn’t. And it’s amazing how easy it is to get a great workout routine just by watching YouTube. Mrs. Groovy does a lot of shoulder workouts from YouTube. I watch this guy over at Athlean-X. Great bodyweight workouts. I had no idea how hard a plank, planche, or a bear crawl was. No reason to pay hundreds of dollars at a gym to destroy your body when you can do it at home for free.

  17. That looks like fun…kind of! Glad to see you were able to make the work out equipment so cheaply. I am always amazed how expensive exercise equipment can be.

    Watching America Ninja Warrior last night made me want to build an obstacle course. Those contestants are fun to watch, especially as they get older (and nearer my age).

    Keep fit America!

    • So fun!

      Yes, that show is just fun. You could do a course for your son too! I wish the women had a better advantage on the course, but some of them are really kicking butt on it now. #GirlPower

      Thanks, Dads!

    • Mr. Groovy

      Hey, Triple-D. I love American Ninja Warrior. It’s one of the few things I watch in which I’m really pulling for the contestants. Just started doing some one-arm hangs today. Brutal. I was able to hold on for 10 seconds. Perhaps by the end of the year I’ll be at the Ninja Warrior level.

  18. Awesome! I love both of these sites and I’m so excited to see the two of you working together!

    Amy – thanks for sharing these workouts! The best part is that these can really be done anywhere without equipment, so there’s no limitations!

    • Mr. Groovy

      Amy’s great. We were pleased as punch when she agreed to share her workout routine. And we certainly weren’t disappointed. Love the creativity. Love the dedication.

  19. This is an awesome post, Amy! I trained for a Tough Mudder a few years ago and had a blast with the event. I love your creativity- finding ways to train and incorporate the different obstacles in your own backyard! Good luck with the race!