This is a guest post from John Rowley, a fitness and nutrition expert at the American Institute of Health care & Fitness. His tips to get a million dollar body on a budget are quite practical. I just signed up to ride a 56-mile leg of a triathlon in May, so I’m going to need his advice!
1. Productive Activity
You do not need special equipment for an aerobic workout. Activities most take for granted can become part of your exercise routine.
• Brisk with no risk. Walking is still one of the best and safest forms of cardiovascular exercise that almost everyone can take advantage of. Take a brisk walk every day, through your neighborhood or take laps in a local mall.
• The real stair master. A stair master machine costs thousands of dollars but climbing real stairs is free. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, or make a full workout of climbing the stairs at home, work or a close by stadium and you will master the stairs. This is the real deal when it comes to stair masters.
• Get in the game. If you have children, don’t just watch them play, get in the game. Play tag or kickball and have fun and get fit at the same time. Take a walk to the park, dance around the living room with the kids or take a family bike ride. Don’t have kids? Try chasing your puppy around the park, backyard, house or apartment for a very challenging work out.
2. A modest investment for lifetime fitness
If you’re looking for fitness on a budget, these exercise products may be the ticket:
• Adjustable Dumbbells. PowerBlock makes an adjustable dumbbell that takes up the space of two dumbbells but are adjustable. Pull the pin and you can raise the weight from 5 lbs to 100 lbs. or more depending on the set you get. You can use them for a full body workout and they have free online videos to guide you through various work outs. Dumbbells cost less than most gym memberships and once you own them you don’t have to pay for them again.
• Resistance tubing. These stretchy tubes offer adjustable resistance when you pull on them. Use the tubes for a full body work out and when you are done they fit in a draw. Choose from varying degrees of resistance, depending on your fitness level.
• Jump-ropes. Skipping rope can be a great cardiovascular workout.
• Exercise DVDs. Turn your living room into your own private health club. There are plenty of options to choose from so you are sure to find one you enjoy.
3. Be creative
If you’d rather not spend a penny on exercise equipment, use ordinary household items for a full body work out:
• Canned goods. Turn caned goods into custom dumbbells.
• Milk, juice or water jugs. Fill empty containers or jugs with water or sand and seal the top with duct tape. When your fitness level increases, simply add more water or sand.
• Step stools. Use a sturdy step stool for step training — an aerobic exercise resembling stair climbing.
• Kitchen Chairs. Turn chairs into a dipping station, use the chair for incline push ups, etc.
• Parks. Many parks have trails that you can walk or run and the have various stations that allow you to work every body part.
4. Great deals
If you’re interested in a specific exercise class or piece of equipment, shop around.
• Check out your local recreation department. Many town recreation departments offer discounted fitness classes to local residents. If you live near a high school, college or community center with a fitness center, ask if the facility is available to community members.
• Used equipment. With this economy many people are selling things they don’t use or never have. Some sporting goods stores specialize in used equipment, or you can check out listings for exercise equipment in your local newspaper. You can find incredible deals on used exercise equipment online, many times never used. Just make sure the cost of shipping won’t put the item out of your budget.
• Cost share. Outfit your own gym with a friend or neighbor or simply trade exercise DVDs or equipment with a friend so that neither of you gets bored doing the same workout over and over again. Find a personal trainer who’ll let you share the cost of a session with a friend or two.
• Garbage is garbage regardless of the price. Some fitness products aren’t worth buying, no matter how low the price. Steer clear of those machines that promise abs over night or great legs or butt with no effort. You get out of exercise exactly what you put in, put nothing in, get nothing out of it. Very simple.
• Expensive Urine. Also don’t waste your money on supplements or other products that claim unbelievable fitness benefits overnight or promise to melt away pounds without diet and exercise. If it sounds unbelievable it is unbelievable.
5. Think more than just exercise
Take advantage of your insurance and see your physician or other health benefit centers on a regular basis.
- See your Physician: Your Physician can offer specific health/nutrition tips geared towards your body and overall wellness.
- Drink plenty of water: This essentially costs nothing and will help your fitness regimen and boost your body into full gear.
- Sleep, sleep, sleep: Another overlooked free essential, sleep. Get 8 or more hours of sleep a night, and your body will be recharged to take on any level of fitness the next day.
Exercise and your overall wellness can help transform every area of your life, but be careful not to get caught up in the sizzle, look for the steak! Don’t get caught up in memberships or purchases you can’t afford, fitness doesn’t need to break the bank. Concentrate on your fitness goals — and how to achieve them without breaking your budget.