woman using resistance band

When it comes to starting a workout routine, nothing can be more intimidating than having to pay to go to a gym filled with body builders, athletes, and people who look better in body shape than the average person. Luckily, with a few simple tools, you can avoid that monthly membership fee and bring the gym home.

Free Weights
Hand weights can be a great addition to any aerobic or weight lifting routine. If you're new to weight lifting, be sure to use a weight that you're comfortable with and that you don't have to strain to lift. Adding weights can speed up your metabolism, helping you burn more calories during your workout and lose weight more efficiently than cardio alone. Be sure to limit yourself to lifting no more than three times per week, every other day. If a new set of weights isn't in the budget for you, try using bags of food instead.

Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are an inexpensive way to help build muscle, enhance aerobic exercise, and create a more complete stretching routine. You can do hundreds of exercises with these bands, from beginner to advanced levels, with varying degrees of resistance. Give your abs a more complete workout. Take them along with you on business trips, family vacations, or even to work to use on your lunch break.

Walls and Stairs
Using a wall during a workout routine can be useful for balance moves, standing pushups, and strength training exercises while ensuring that your posture is straight. Stand with your back against the wall. Next, lower yourself to a seated chair position, using the wall to support your posture throughout the movement. Try holding this pose for as long as you can, working your way up to a minute without stopping. If stairs are available, lean against a higher step and do several pushups. Work your way down to a lower step with each workout. In no time, you'll easily be doing these on the floor.

Wrist or Ankle Weights
Wrist and ankle weights can help turn ordinary household activities into strength training exercises. Use these weights while cleaning or anything else that requires repetitive motion. Be sure to avoid straining muscles from over-usage. Just as weight training should be done no more than three times per week, strength training exercises should also be limited to allow the muscles time to recover and rebuild.

Home Fitness Videos
If you're the type of person who enjoys workout classes, you can bring the instructor right into your own home with fitness videos. Websites like YouTube and Netflix offer a variety to choose from and will even stream them to your television. The downside to using these videos is the lack of personal attention that usually comes from a trained fitness instructor. Practice in front of a mirror to make sure your movements match the video instructor's.

Balance Ball
A balance ball can be used for many essential core exercises and is easily stored for later use. This tool turns ordinary crunches into full-core exercise by adding the element of balance to engage more muscles. Balance balls are often used with exercise videos, particularly Pilates, allowing you to utilize the video instructor for movement ideas and tutorials.