Slim Down with the Fitness Envelope System

 My girl over at She Makes Cents (A blog about becoming financially fit) gave me this idea and I wanted to see what you guys thought

You have probably heard of how people on a budget have been using creative ways to better organize and spend their money wisely. In fact Dave Ramsey, a well-known financial coach, re-introduce the idea of using envelopes to help people budget down to the last dime in order to gain control of their unmanageable financial situation.


The Envelope System: Fitness Spin-off
The Keep It Moving Fitness Spin on Dave Ramsey’s Envelope System

The enormous success of this system in the credit card swiping and paperless society that we live in continues to amaze me. So much that I can’t help but think what would happen if we applied this same system to exercise and fitness. As the year comes closer to its end, what better way to start the New Year than with an organized approach to working out.

In the financial envelope system you label a bunch of envelopes with different categories like food, gas, clothing and entertainment. You would then stuff those envelops with a certain amount of cash that iEdits to be spent for the week or month.  The fitness envelope system would be a spin on the same idea. It is a great way to set goals to your home workouts.   Below is the breakdown of what you would do. All you will need is a bunch of envelopes and instead of stuffing them with cash as you would in the financial envelope system, you can use post-it notes or tooth picks or anything that can be easily counted.

Divide and conquer.

Label your envelopes with a different category of exercise that you plan on doing. Some good labels would be upper body, lower body, cardio exercises, abdominal and core, and stretching. In the picture illustration I decide to break mine down a little further than broad categories and I used specific exercises that I would do in one week. If you don’t want to create new envelopes each week, I’d recommend sticking with the broad categories (cardio, upper body, lower body, abs)

The Envelope System: Fitness Spin-off

Fill Them Up.

After you have categorized and labeled your envelopes, determine the value of each of your post-it notes or tooth picks or whatever you decide to use. For example, 1 post-it note or tooth-pick might be worth 10 repetitions of each exercise or even 10 minutes of each exercise. So that if you have 10 post-it notes in your cardio envelope that would mean that you have to do 100 reps or 100 minutes of jumping jacks (or any chosen cardio move) before the month or week is over.

The envelope system - fitness

When it’s done, it’s gone.

Whenever you have completed the value of one post-it note, you are supposed to take that post-it note out of the envelope and trash it or put it in another envelope called “completed tasks.” For example if I value my Post-It Notes as 10 reps of each exercise and I put 50 Post-it notes in one envelope, this means that I must do 500 hundred reps before the month or week is over. Every time I do 10 reps I would discard one post-it note. The pile will continuously get smaller. Your progression will become increasingly noticeable. Once your envelope is empty you can add more to continue the challenge or pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Record your progress on the backs of your envelops. Keep a weekly tally of how many post-its (exercises) you complete.

Make it a Challenge.

While it is so easy to put 1 or 2 Post-It Notes in the envelopes and make the value of them very small, it won’t benefit you to do that. The point is to place enough Post-It Notes in the envelopes to represent a number of minutes or repetition that seem difficult to do. The goal is to make it something that will take concentrated effort to complete.

Give it time.

It might take a while to perfect your fitness envelope system and if you are creating it correctly, it won’t be easy to complete. However, if you stick to it and aim to complete a set amount each week or day you will notice some big changes. Good habits will begin to replace bad ones and you will see how beneficial this system can be in helping you reach your fitness goal.

Smile, it’s Supposed to Be Fun!

There is nothing wrong with doing this system in addition to your normal fitness routine just to spice things up. You can also add a “fun fitness envelope” and make it a rule that you can try some new fitness classes or workout DVD.  Don’t be afraid to add as many envelopes as you might need to make it fun for you. I have an envelope for my husband and I and I have convinced him to agree that each Post-It in it will be a 10 minute workout that he and I have to do together.  How’s that for quality time?


Maybe you can even put actual money in the envelopes and think of it as ‘pay day’ every time you complete a task and take the money out. CHING CHING!!!!

What exercises would you fill your envelopes with in order to prepare for the New Year?






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