10 Ways to Work Out at Home and Stay Motivated

SCULPT A NEW YOU

Staying fit and healthy and losing weight were the top two New Year's resolutions of 2015 in a Nielsen survey. Many consumers chase those goals by joining a gym, at an average cost of about $700 a year -- and about two out of three don't use their memberships, according to data compiled by the Statistic Brain Research Institute. Others spring for a thousand-dollar treadmill or weight machine that ends up sitting idle. There are ways to get fit -- and stay motivated -- for much less. Try these 10 approaches to working out at home in 2016.

MAKE A PLAN

Creating a clear plan with goals and milestones for the year is essential to success. Focus on small, actionable goals, such as working out three times a week, rather than dwelling on the big picture, such as losing 25 pounds. Check in with the plan periodically to ensure you haven't strayed far off course.

FIND A GOOD FIT

There are many types of workouts and fitness programs that cost little or nothing. Different people have success with different approaches, and it may be fun to try out a variety of programs, apps, and tracking systems. If one doesn't suit you, switch to something else rather than give up on a goal.

FOLLOW ALONG

Once you've chosen a type of training to start, a YouTube video -- or even a workout DVD from the library -- can set the pace for free. Plenty of at-home fitness programs require no equipment, or just a few inexpensive items such as dumbbells or elastic bands for resistance training and a jump rope for cardio.

POSE ON DEMAND

If it's yoga you prefer, some quick online searching can lead to numerous apps and videos with step-by-step instructions for a complete practice at home. The Yoga Studio app, for example, costs $4 for 65 set classes and the option to customize classes from more than 280 poses.

JOIN AN ONLINE COMMUNITY

Outside support is an important part of keeping a workout plan on track. Teaming up with others can boost motivation, and friendly competition can help push everyone along. Online communities such as Reddit's r/Fitness, are filled with thousands of fitness fanatics and amateurs willing to share advice and support.
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EXERCISE FAST AND FURIOUSLY

Short on time? The New York Times offers a free mobile app that combines two seven-minute workout routines designed to target the whole body. Another free option, Max Capacity Training, is user-friendly and well suited for people who lack workout equipment. The fitness program involves 16 minutes a day, three days a week, for 12 weeks, and combines high-intensity interval training with progressively challenging body-weight exercises.

TURN EXERCISE INTO A GAME

Video game fans who need a push to get off the couch can find kindred spirits at Fitocracy. Users record their workouts to complete quests and "level up." Another popular downloadable fitness game is Zombies, Run!, which boasts more than 1 million participants. This app turns a run into a survival adventure as players dodge zombies and stockpile supplies with each mile.

WORK OUT OR PAY UP

Linking money with working out and eating healthy may prove to be a good motivator. Pact is an app that tracks workouts at home, or with imported data from running apps and fitness trackers. Users must hand over credit card information and agree to work out a set number of times each week. Those who miss workouts owe money; those who keep up earn a share of the penalties paid by the laggards. Pact also lets users bet on how many fruits and vegetables they consume each week.

WEIGH A WAGER

Although some people exercise solely for fitness, the promise of weight loss is often a big incentive. With DietBet, users lay a wager on whether they can lose 4 percent of their weight in four weeks or 10 percent in six months. After the time period ends, those who hit the mark get to split the pot leftover from those who didn't meet the goal.

TRY PERSONALIZED ONLINE TRAINING

For one-on-one support and advice, a personal trainer is hard to beat -- but generally pricey. To keep costs down, opt for an online personal trainer. Although the trainer won't be able to adjust your body into the proper positions, the expert can help create custom workouts and diets, define goals, and keep you committed. JWW Fitness offers private sessions via Skype, with prices starting at $30 for one 30-minute session.