We use cookies to give you the best possible online experience. If you continue, we’ll assume you are happy for your web browser to receive all cookies from our website. See our cookie policy for more information on cookies and how to manage them.


Gen O: Keeping fit and healthy on a budget

Share this article

Generation Ostrich – also known as Gen O – are the 16-34 year olds with their heads in the savings sand. Looking after their bodies is high on the agenda for a big proportion of Gen O, with many willingly spending excess money every month to reach their health and fitness goals. But it seems that they’re working up a sweat about their spending habits too, with our recent survey1 revealing that 29% feel stressed when thinking about their finances.

Trying to keep up with the latest health and fitness trends can be pricey, and is one factor leading 27% of Gen O to save nothing each month. So, we got in touch with three health and fitness experts, who told us how Gen O can be happy and healthy without sacrificing their savings pots.

Lottie Rainbow

Lottie is a personal trainer and health and fitness blogger, who recognises that “the health and fitness industry can be a dangerous place for Gen O spending money. This is because of the perceived norms of how to reach a certain goal (usually weight loss or building muscle) and the social pressures which contribute to the ideal that you have to buy certain things to look a certain way.” However, she tells us that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to stay healthy, so follow Lottie’s top tips to help keep your costs down.

1. Invest in key sports clothes

“Your activewear does not have to cost the earth! Invest in a few key pieces (a good pair of trainers, for example), and make sure you do your research – sometimes the most expensive brand is not the most practical or comfortable. Many high street shops now do good quality sportswear which is much more affordable, so shop around before you splurge.”

2. Don’t feel pressured to compete

“Keeping fit and healthy should be fun and for YOU, not something that you need to prove to someone else or that you only work towards for a small part of the year just to tick a box. You don’t have to spend money on entering competitions or signing up to marathons just because there are social pressures to do so. Work towards a goal by all means, but this does not need to cost anything.”

3. Avoid superfood trends

“You don’t need to hunt down ‘superfood’ ingredients that you can’t pronounce and can’t afford. (Apart from quinoa, which you can get in any supermarket for a very reasonable price, and is a great source of protein!) Most of the time, this raw cacao, goji, matcha, dairy and gluten free food isn’t even any healthier or more beneficial than sticking to the basics. Choose natural ingredients that you can get in your local supermarket, and that you don’t have to travel elsewhere and spend a fortune for.”

4. Shop smart

“Get your fruit and vegetables from your local market and hit your supermarket late at night when everything is being reduced – meat and fish can be frozen and used throughout the next couple of weeks. I always bulk-buy where possible as well. If something is on offer that you know you regularly buy, stock up!”

5. Use gadgets wisely

“Try not to solely depend on buying the latest fitness gadgets, as you may fall into an unhealthy obsession with tracking steps, calories burnt, calories consumed and so on. This could turn your health and fitness into something categorised by a number rather than it being enjoyable and sustainable.”

Eggs and avocado on toast
Lottie doing yoga
Image source: @lottierainbow

James Northcott

James is a health and fitness blogger who also recognises that there’s now increased pressure on Gen O to keep up with all the health and fitness trends. Read his advice below to find out how you can keep costs down and meet your personal health goals at the same time.

1. Join a budget gym

“Be honest now. Do you really need to be paying extra money each a month for a fancy gym with a sauna and Jacuzzi? Budget gyms have been popping up all over the UK in recent years and their popularity is soaring – for a good reason. You can more than halve the cost of your gym membership by simply switching gyms. They often offer free classes as well. You may just have to be sensible about what time of day you visit, as they can get particularly busy early evening.”

2. Follow the RIGHT fitness personalities

“It’s hard for Gen O to escape social pressures, which is why it’s important to follow the right social media accounts, which will have a positive impact on your healthy eating outlook. Instagram and YouTube have a rich source of free workout tips, recipe ideas and videos showcasing home and gym workouts with an added dose of motivation. They’ll help give you inspiration to keep healthy whilst keeping down costs.”

3. Take the time to meal prep

“You know the drill. Head out of the office at lunchtime for a quick bite to eat and maybe buy a snack for mid-afternoon when your energy levels plummet. This is a habit readily adopted by large numbers of Gen O. Whilst it may be convenient, the costs soon start to add up and it’s not always as healthy as you think (I’m talking added salt, sugar, sauces). The solution? Every three days or so spend a couple of hours meal prepping for the next few days. This will save you time, allows you to prepare healthy meals (as you’re in charge of every ingredient going into them), and also reduces wastage as you know exactly what you’ll be eating.”

4. Don’t rely on supplements

“Supplements are exactly that. They are there to supplement an already balanced and healthy diet. Don’t get caught up in the hype and advertising thrown at you on social media and on the internet. You don’t need to spend a fortune on an array of supplements that might give you a 1% edge when your diet still needs to be worked on.”

5. Make the most of personal training

“It’s all well and good turning up once or twice a week to get shouted at by a personal trainer, but try and find one who passes on their knowledge to you in every session and explains WHY you are doing what you are doing. This way you can learn to become self-sufficient and save in the long run.”

Salmon and tomato and avocado on toast
James Northcott weightlifting
Image source: @jnorthcott

Sophie Bertrand

Sophie is a health enthusiast and blogger, who tells us that a fit and healthy lifestyle “can also be perceived as very expensive. So where does it go wrong? Living healthy shouldn’t cost this much, right?” The answer is no! So, Sophie’s put together some handy hacks, to help you be your healthiest self without breaking the bank:

1. Steer clear of fad diets

“With the market growing and offering countless ‘quick fix diets’ that promise you’ll lose 10lbs in two weeks, it may appear somewhat appealing to try. But ‘shake diets’, low carb diets and low calorie meals delivered straight your door is not the way forward, so don’t waste your money. They are unrealistic and unattainable, and won’t do anything to help you maintain a healthy routine. Living a fit and healthy lifestyle needs to become a way of living, not an ongoing trial of how to lose weight quickly. Skip the diet and just eat healthy.”

2. Fill your freezer with frozen fruit and veg

“A key ingredient to maintaining a ‘clean’ and healthy body is plenty of antioxidants – usually provided through a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables. However, buying the juices, fruits and the freshest vegetables can come at a price, and you may find that they’ve gone bad before you’ve had time for them to last you through the week. So why not stock up on organic frozen fruit and veg instead? These have just as much nutritional value as fresh ones do, and this is also a way of preserving their nutrients and phytochemicals, which means they will last you a lot longer and stop you wasting money.”

3. Take the stairs

“This may sound simple but every little helps! Try to be as active as possible whenever you can be. If you’ve been sitting at a desk all day, give up your seat on the train and stand for a while. Don’t park your car so close to your destination so you give yourself a little extra opportunity to walk or cycle somewhere. When you see an elevator, turn your attention to the stairs next to it. All these little changes will make a difference and cost you nothing!”

4. Water and green tea are your friends

“Drink plenty of water and green tea. A huge contribution to optimal health is staying hydrated. You don’t need to be spending money on juices, fizzy drinks and countless cups of coffee. Keep your insides nice and clean and try to drink at least 1.5 litres of water a day. As well as this, get in the habit of drinking green tea first thing in the morning. It will kick start your metabolism, give you energy, and is packed with those all-important antioxidants… Drinking water and green tea doesn’t cost much at all!”

5. Home workouts

“Personally, I think that investing in a gym membership is so worth it. However, if due to financial restraints or work schedules you find this unrealistic, then you can watch a workout DVD or YouTube videos. Even just setting aside half an hour a day to work up a sweat can improve your health drastically.”

Porridge with raspberries and almonds
Sophie drinking tea

To find out more about the reasons why Gen O are willing to spend more keeping healthy, and the other pressures on this generation to part with their money, read our other articles below.

Social pressures burn Gen O pockets

One in 10 Gen Os prefer to live in the moment, but how much does this cost? Find out how social pressures are causing Gen O to spend more money.

Learn more here

Tools & calculators

Use our handy tools and calculators to help you plan for your future.

Pensions explained

Puzzled by pensions? Get the lowdown on everything you need to know.


Already have a pension with Aviva? Monitor it online at the touch of a button with MyAviva.

Back to top