How to Prevent that Dreaded Dad Bod with Literally Zero Budget


Seeing a trend here? I'm really the typical G.I. (Genuine Instik) when it comes to money matters. I rarely pay full price for anything. Saving money really makes me oh so very happy - how big or small that amount may be. When it comes to fitness in particular, we always assume that it's going to be expensive - that in fact would depend on you. Being a dad, fitness is a top priority (I want to see my baby grow up and be an adult and who wouldn't?) but budget always wins any given day. Here's how I try to get by with little or no money involved:

1. Running is free - anywhere, anytime


I've always loved running but this year was the year I took it very seriously. I try to make sure to at least run thrice a week, 5KM per run at a very brisk pace. What's even better is I'm never limited by location and in most cases, time. I typically run outdoors just because it's more interesting than doing it on a treadmill plus of course, convenience. 

If running outdoors safely is an issue, for the people in the North, the U.P. Diliman College Circle is free and humongous at 2.2KM per roundtrip and has an area dedicated just for runners and bikers. For the people in the South, my personal favorite is the Ayala Triangle Grounds at around 1.2KM per roundtrip. Polluted air is my only issue but it's the perfect fit for the location of my work in Makati. 

2. Using your own body is good enough


Back in high school, doing weights was the "in" thing and I myself thought that it was the only way to really build muscle and watching the WWE fondly didn't help matters. But now that I'm 32, I've learned that being jacked up doesn't equate to actually being healthy and weights are really not that essential to have a semi-hefty build.

So what I do may sound crazy or counter-intuitive but I just do the ff:

  1. At least 100 pushups every other day - Monday, Wednesday, Friday 
  2. At least 50 pullups every other day - Tuesday, Thursday, Friday

And that's about it and it takes less than 10 minutes tops. The result: I've noticed that I'm neither too skinny nor too big but I'm pretty happy with my overall form. You may ask where are the crunches? I'm too lazy but you could also include that if you want to.

3. Counting calories works


I know there have been a lot of fads when it comes to eating and there's no doubt that Keto works and I won't even debate the efficacy of Intermittent Fasting. In my own personal experience, counting calories worked best and probably the most sustainable dieting method I've tried. What I love about it is that I can eat anything but of course, in moderation. As long as you're within your daily caloric limit, you're good to go. I've personally lost around 25 lbs in a span of six months right before my wedding date. The only issue with calorie counting is that it will need your utmost honesty and discipline. Without those, don't expect to get the results you're gunning for. 

4. Mobile apps are great motivation


For my first three points, I've learned to motivate myself by using mobile apps to track and push me further. We are at a time that technology really helps us in a lot of ways and a lot of those are in fitness. 

For running, I personally love Strava which acts as a workout tracker and social media for athletes in one package. If you want more privacy, a good alternative that I've tried is Nike Running Club. It's simple, quick, and no-nonsense to use. 

For doing home and bodyweight workouts, Nike Training Club and SworkIt were apps I used to do almost every day last year. You can set how long, intensity, and which body parts will be targeted. You just have to follow the video instructions every interval. I've transitioned right now to doing pushups and pull-ups at the moment but try it and you'll be surprised at how fun these apps are.

For counting calories, my personal go-to is MyFitnessPal. It has most food listings available - even Pinoy food. And while it may not be accurate for some food types, it's good enough. Any monitoring is better than no monitoring at all.

Best of all, all of these apps are free. They do have premium versions but you really don't need them to make them work to help you.

I know my own fitness guide ain't perfect - it's mostly free stuff - and if you have the budget and time to go premium (24-hour gym, fitness classes like spinning, rowing or boxing) then good for you. Unfortunately, my circumstances are very difficult at the moment and I designed this to those in the same situation. If you have other tips of your own, do let me know. Let's help each other out.  

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