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10 Low Cost/Free Methods To Improve Your Health & Fitness
Equal Opportunity, Unequal Results
The other day, I had a tweet about the cost free (or close) methods to improve your health and fitness.
This got me thinking and I figured I could level the playing field for everyone and give specific protocols for all of these items + some others, in a way that anyone, anywhere has the opportunity to improve their health & fitness regardless of financial constraint.
Everything I will list will be nearly free—truly the only exception is the cost of water for both hydration and utilizing cold exposure.
Most of these are completely location independent as well—you can do them anywhere and need minimal to no equipment.
So, at the end of the day, anyone reading this has absolutely zero excuses to not take control of their health and fitness—Equal Opportunity Equal Results.
1. Body Weight Training
I’ll start with this as it is the easiest and probably most impactful way to improve your fitness for free.
There are fitness models that have built their physiques with bodyweight/calisthenics, you need absolutely zero money to use your body as resistance for exercise.
I have written a full post on a bodyweight program on the paid substack, but I will give you a sample routine you can follow here:
Push-Up: Variation 3 Sets 20-40
Chin-Ups: 3 Sets 6-15
Diamond Push-Up: 3 Sets 10-20
Superman: 3 Sets 20-40
Bodyweight Squat: 3 Sets 15-30
Single Leg Deadlifts: 3 Sets 10-20
Calf Raises: 3 Sets 20-30 2 Second Hold At Top
Reverse Crunches: 4 Sets 25
You don’t even need to get extreme, anyone can do push-ups, squats, sit-ups, lunges, and other bodyweight exercises pretty much anywhere, anytime.
20-40 minutes at 3-5x a week is more than enough to build a good physique, don’t take my word for it, take the word of the people who have followed my program:
2. Drinking Enough Water
It is no secret that most people simply do not drink enough water.
By under-hydrating you are compromising almost every function of your health, for absolutely zero reason. Let’s be real, it takes zero effort, open your mouth, pour water, swallow, repeat.
If you’re active—especially in the summer—I would say 6 liters a day, and before someone says (they always do): “Ox too much water can kill you, that’s too much, wahhh”.
Understand the kidneys can dispel .8-1 liter of water an hour (20-28 liters a day, math isn’t perfect on this but whatever)1, you are typically awake 16 hours a day… math says… 6 liters is fine, and it’s good for you.
At a minimum, I suggest 1 gallon or 3.7 (round up to 4) liters a day, but if you are a heavy sweater or live somewhere like Florida or Arizona this is probably not enough.
The benefits are more energy, better skin, healthier kidneys, better brain health, better digestion, to be honest this list could go on and on with benefits.
Only downside is you will pee more often, that’s a very small price to pay for much better health.
To help you accomplish this, buy a large water bottle. Personally I use a 1 liter water bottle and fill it up 6 times a day.
3. Walking 10,000 Steps a Day
Walking is the most underrated exercise for general health and fat loss.
I have seen people lose dozens of pounds simply by walking more and aiming for a steps goal everyday. This increase in your metabolism is pretty substantial and as a plus, walking is extremely low impact, so if you are very overweight, this is much easier on your joints and tendons than trying to run.
10,000 steps a day is a great goal and will ensure you are walking enough to maintain proper activity levels to promote good health. A study done in 2010 showed participants taking at least 7000 steps/d, compared with those taking fewer than 7000 steps/d, had a 50% to 70% lower risk of mortality2
Walking is a great way to start your day, and I suggest doing it after every meal, 10-15 minute walks, to promote better digestion and energy levels after eating.
Another benefit of going outside and walking is we get fresh air and direct sunglight, which brings us to our next point…
4. Adequate Sunlight
Sun exposure is absolutely essential for proper health, and unfortunately most people do not get nearly enough.
You need 20-30 minutes of direct sun exposure a day to promote health as sunshine is how we naturally get vitamin D which is associated with lower all cause mortality. The sun in general has an inverse relationship with mortality, the less sun, the higher risk3
Sun exposure can directly raise testosterone, promote better motivation through dopamine pathways, and get you tan, which makes you look more jacked.
You need to get 20-30 minutes a day with as little clothing as possible—this is your excuse to walk around and MOG lesser men.
5. Cold Exposure
This is the most expensive item on the list, depending on how much your water bill is. You are going to shower anyway, and you can take advantage of getting some cold exposure and improving your metabolic and mental health.
Recently I did a post on Cold Exposure and its benefits.
In short, it increases the amount of brown fat activation which greatly increases your metabolism at rest. It also promotes brain health through various pathways and increases your dopamine.
My cold exposure protocol is as follows:
Turn shower as cold as possible.
Get in the shower for 3 minutes.
Get out and wait until I stop shivering.
Repeat for 3 total reps
This gives me 9 minutes of total cold exposure, which I’ll do twice a week, minimum.
We need around 10-20 minutes of cold exposure weekly to maximize it’s benefits.
There is no reason to not get adequate sleep—it is one of, if not the most, important aspect of overall health.
You should be sleeping 7-9 hours a night and focusing on quality sleep.
From the paid post on Sleep:
Get 7-8, even 9 hours of sleep a night—give yourself enough time
20-25% of sleep should be REM sleep
You want your room cool and as dark as possible
Avoid alcohol and THC before bed—they ruin REM sleep (CBD isn’t inherently negative here)
Avoid caffeine at least 4 hours, preferably 8 hours before bed
Avoid Blue Light at least an hour before bed
Low-Dose Melatonin, Magnesium, and Glycine are bonafide supplements to improve sleep (there are others but these are the big movers)
Either don’t eat for 2-3 hours before bed or eat a heavier carb meal if you eat carbs
No naps 8 hours before bed, limit naps to 20 minutes
Sleep and wake up at the same times every night/morning
Track your sleep with a fitness tracker like Whoop, Oura, or whatever other tracker that displays full sleep stats
Avoid complex, stressful work before winding down for bed
Sleep is the most important thing to get right, and of course it costs 0 dollars to make the decision to get into bed and sleep at a responsible time.
7. Mediation & Breath Work
Life is stressful and stress is the silent killer. Luckily we have an extremely easy and simple way to alleviate stress, so simple in fact how we do it is by literally doing nothing.
When is the last time you actually sat down for 10 minutes, closed your eyes, and focused on nothing but your breathing?
This has an immediate effect on our mental state, our focus, and our total cortisol (stress) levels.
10-20 minutes of mediation just a few times a week is enough to reap massive benefits from everything from longer attention span, improved sleep, and even lower blood pressure4
We don’t even need to necessarily meditate either, we can reap similar benefits through just doing simple breathing exercises.
A very easy one you can do right now is called “Box Breathing” and it’s as simple as:
Close your eyes. Slowly breathe in through your nose while counting to four.
Hold your breath inside while slowly counting to four. Don’t clench your mouth or nose shut—just avoid inhaling or exhaling for the 4 second period.
Begin to slowly exhale for 4 seconds.
Repeat steps 1 to 3 at least three times. Ideally, repeat the three steps for 4 minutes, or until you become calm.
You can try this in a stressful situation (when it’s appropriate) and you will immediately notice how calm you become.
Nothing is cheaper and easier than simply not eating for a day. Actually, this isn’t just cheap, it actually saves you money.
Once every 30-60 days (you can even go once every 7-15 days, though maybe not a great idea if trying to gain muscle) a 24-48 hours (suggest every 30-60 days for 48 hours fasts) fast can give us some pretty amazing health benefits.
Fasting is simple, just consume water (I don’t suggest water fasts) and no food at all.
The benefits of this include:
Better Gut Health and Digestion
Improved Cognitive Function
Increased Growth Hormone
Autophagy (Replaces old, dysfunctional cells with newer, healthier cells—results start around 24 hours and peak around 48 hours)
No one wants to be stiff and not be able to touch their toes or scratch their back.
With the thousands (if not millions) of free yoga ad stretching videos on YouTube, you can essentially get a yoga class for free from the comfort of your home.
A huge benefit of yoga is the fact it increases blood flow to body parts that can help with recovery and increase brain functioning. Yoga also has a very anti-inflammatory effects, and as we know, inflammation is one of the cornerstones of all chronic illness.
Personally, I suggest on your rest days to do some mobility/yoga work to improve your recovery and help you remain mobile.
Though not “yoga” I use ROMWOD videos frequently to help improve range of motion and mobility.
10. Fix Your Posture
Your posture affects everything from your testosterone to your mood, energy, digestion, breathing, and even organ function.
You see it everywhere—people have this hunched over look that has been exasperated from rampant cell phone usage.
Not only does this make you look bad, but its negative effects on your health are significant.
Good posture is simply your body aligning structurally in a way that is natural when sitting, standing, etc.
Think - shoulders back, chin up, neutral spine with slight curve in the lower back.
Posture is something that you need to be constantly aware of and cognizant to ensure you are using correct posture as it’s extremely easy to allow yourself to slip back into bad habits.
A very simple posture exercise is the Doorway Stretch:
You can do this very simply:
Find a doorway and put your hands and elbows on the doorframe
Ease through the door until you feel a nice stretch
Hold this for 20-30 seconds
Repeat 3-5 times
Bonus: The Paid Substack
You actually just got snippets from a few of the paid substack posts in this article.
For a whopping total of 15 cents a day, you can get detailed breakdowns on a lot of the subjects mentioned, all of my workout programs, and access to monthly Q/A’s answering all of your fitness questions.
The value is much more than simply $5 a month, but my goal is to be able to bring low-cost, high-quality health and fitness information to as many people as I can possibly help.
I had to shamelessly promote this, not because I want your sale, but because the value of this information is easily worth 10x more than the cost.
Putting It All Together
We have now gone over 10 ways we can greatly improve our health for either zero or nearly zero cost.
We have given examples and even laid out the steps of how to make these things happen, there is truly no excuse to try and execute these. You will see massive improvements in your total health and wellbeing.
Health and Fitness is accessible to nearly every single person on earth, and if you’re reading this, you are fortunate to live somewhere that you have access to internet and technology—you can make this happen.
Better health and fitness is simple a decision we make every day to make our lives better. You know have the information, please make use of it and don’t let another day go by telling yourself you’ll start “tomorrow”.\
P.S Substack now offers an app which could make your reading experience much better—I found this out yesterday and it’s extremely useful.
This is not Legal, Medical, or Financial advice. Please consult a medical professional before starting any work