New sneakers, high-end equipment, private classes—in your quest to drop a few pounds, you may find your wallet getting thinner, too. But it is possible to get in shape without going broke. Here are a few get-fit tips that can get you results without costing you a fortune.
If you can't splurge on classes . . . DO A WORKOUT DVD. You can get a solid workout in your own living room for the price of a private yoga lesson or a few dance classes. (And, ahem, we know where you can find a few good DVDs.) The trick is to stay motivated when your comfy couch is beckoning from a few feet away. These tricks can help:
- Treat your workout time like an actual class. "Schedule time in your day to work out, and stick with it," says JJ Virgin, a Certified Nutrition Specialist and Certified Health and Fitness Instructor.
- Even if you don't feel like pushing yourself to the limit, at least push yourself to start. "Back in the day, Beachbody's motto was 'just Push Play,'" says Steve Edwards, Head of Fitness and Nutrition Development at Beachbody®. "Once you're actually doing the workout, most people figure they might as well put some effort into it."
- Invite a friend. "A workout buddy provides accountability and makes it more fun and interesting," Virgin says.
- Join an online community. One recent study found that women who worked out with a virtual exercise partner exercised for twice as long as their solo counterparts. The Team Beachbody® Message Boards are a great place to find motivation from fellow fitness buffs.
- Get high-tech help from goal-tracking apps and websites that allow you to monitor your progress. Team Beachbody's SuperGym® is an online health club where you can plan and track workouts, find a fitness buddy, and get advice and motivational tools.
- Take a picture. "The motivational power of 'before' photos is massive, because you're going to improve," Edwards says.
"Even when you don't feel your training is going well, you can look at where you once were and it almost always gets you moving."
- To torch fat, do outdoor intervals."Run up a hill or stairs at top speed for up to a minute, then walk back down at your normal pace to catch your breath and recover," Virgin suggests.
- Check a map. Your local geography might offer a unique workout opportunity—are there mountains to climb, oceans to swim, or a stadium for stair running?
- Go back to the DVD rack. One more benefit of workout videos: Many of them don't require special equipment. "Some, like INSANITY®, use no equipment in the entire program," Edwards says. "Yoga is another great workout that needs no equipment, but still offers many options."
- Turn everyday household items into makeshift equipment—canned soup cans double as light weights, furniture can add instability, and a milk crate can work as a step. The Message Boards are the perfect place to find DIY ideas.
- If you buy a pair of weights, go heavy. "Get the heaviest set of dumbbells you can lift in good form," Virgin says. "You can do a lot with that basic equipment."
- Buy bands. "Exercise bands are cheap, light, and take up almost no space in your house," Edwards says. "All of our weight training workouts provide options to use bands—we do this to eliminate excuses." Plus, they're ideal if you want to stick to your workouts while traveling.
- Stick to the basics. "Shop seasonal produce, lean meats, and other foods on the periphery of your grocery store," Virgin says. The center aisles are usually where packaged and processed foods are kept. Watch for sales on meat, and buy nuts or beans in bulk.
- Get informed. "Nutritionists worth their salt tend to write books. Read those," says Denis Faye, Team Beachbody's nutrition expert. Michael Pollan's Food Rules is a good place to start.
- Plan your meals ahead of time so you're not winging it when you hit the aisles. Look for apps that help you plan meals and track deals. "Make a list and stick to it—don't be swayed by unhealthy sale foods," Virgin says. And to prevent impulse purchases, she adds, "Don't go to the grocery store hungry."
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