Staying in shape can mean a lot of different things to different people: gaining weight, losing weight, building muscle, building endurance, eating right, and more. One thing all of these have in common is that it's hard to do on a budget unless you know how to.

As a university student, I find staying in shape hard because of time constraints, and when you factor in the fact that you have no money to spend on that really cool spin class, it can become even harder. Having battled against the "freshman 15" and the temptations of the Pillsbury section at the grocery store, I have come up with a few quick tips and tricks that might help you out as well.  

1. Have the right mindset when grocery shopping

pasture, apple
Natsuko Mazany

Try to go grocery shopping when you're feeling healthy and like you really want to stick to a nutritious food plan. A good time to go is after you've done a great workout and you feel super fit and in shape! GO YOU! A bad time to go grocery shopping is after a bad midterm when all you want is comfort food like cookie dough and an entire frozen pizza.

Having the right mindset will greatly improve the way you grocery shop. You'll save money from not buying those junky impulse purchases, and when you open your fridge, you won't have a choice but to eat healthy. 

2. Try FREE fitness classes at the ARC!

pizza, tea, beer
Amy Schwartz

Queen's offers free fitness classes in the ARC! They are very diverse including cardio, zumba and many other fun classes. Don't spend your money on fitness classes–the ARC offers them for free once to twice daily (except for Fridays) and having been to them, I can tell you that they are a really great workout.

3. Study while you work out

notes, textbook, study snack, snacks, studying, clif bar, tangerine, cutie
Jocelyn Hsu

This is for all of you that haven't been to the gym in a while because you don't have time. Working out can actually help you retain information better! This can mean listening/watching academic YouTube videos while on the treadmill, quizzing yourself in between sit-ups or even bringing a textbook to the gym while you do some light cardio. I have spent countless hours with a textbook open while working out on the stationary bike or doing a nice speed-walk on the treadmill. It may look a little silly, but it's a way to multitask that is actually an excellent way to study.

4. Create an at-home gym

Gabby Phi

There is a way to get in shape at home without having to walk through the gym with all the super fit, intimidating people. There are household items that work just as well as weights, such as vinegar bottles or bags of fruit. Trying to improve your cardio? Skipping ropes or your staircase will work great. Trying to get more toned? There are countless YouTube videos that target different body parts. 

5. Wear workout clothes on a regular basis

Pink, Workout clothes, Blonde, outside, Yoga, yoga pose, girl, grass
Julia Gilman

This is about mindset. When you put on fitness gear, it's like getting out of your pyjamas to go to class. You're more likely to workout if you're already dressed and in the fitness mindset. Workout clothes also don't have to break the bank! You can order some for cheap online, stop by a budget-friendly place like Winners, or even make some DIY fun workout clothes for yourself. 

Staying in shape can be difficult, especially when you don't have a lot of time or spare money. We all know it's going to be a bit of a challenge to stay in shape on a student budget, but small tricks and tips can make it a little easier.