It’s that time of year again. The season when your local gym goes from ghost town to the most popping place around. It’s officially New Year, New You season — meaning fitness centers and diet pill peddlers are chomping at the bit to cash-in on your resolutions.
But do you really need to purchase expensive shakes and supplements? Is it truly necessary to throw down hundreds of dollars on initiation fees plus $50-$70 monthly for a gym membership? Contrary to what they have led you to believe, the answer is probably not.
Instead, look for simple lifestyle changes that can help you get fit without slimming down your Checking Account. That way you can achieve both your fitness and financial goals at once for a New Year’s win-win. Just be sure to have a conversation with your doctor before making any changes to your current diet or exercise routine.
Use what you already have.
Does your neighborhood have sidewalks? Probably. Do you have access to online videos? If you’re reading this, that’s pretty likely, too. Is there space in your place for simple exercises? Surely you can move a coffee table out of the way.
What does that all boil down to? You have a gym all around you. Get tips and movements from reputable YouTube channels. Walk or jog around the block. Do simple exercises in the living room. Once you’ve established a routine, and you find that you want add some modest equipment to boost your efforts, scope out garage sales and resale websites instead of paying retail.
Keep it simple and take it slow.
Getting in shape isn’t a race. It’s a process. So it’s unrealistic to expect big results right away. Instead, aim for goals that embrace slow and steady progress. Also, keep in mind that the more complicated you make things for yourself (i.e. going to the gym daily at 4 a.m. and purchasing expensive shakes), the less likely you’ll stick with it long-term.
Do the math.
When you’re trying to lose weight, it takes a deficit of about 3,500 calories to lose a single pound. To create that deficit, you have two tried and true tools — diet and exercise. For best results, they should be used in tandem, but your diet will have the greatest impact on your results.
To simplify things, shoot to have 80 percent of your efforts come from a healthy diet and 20 percent from moderate exercise. Why 80/20? Well, it takes a 30-minute jog around the neighborhood to burn about 250 calories. Do it three days a week and you’ll burn 750 calories. Meanwhile, you can cut 400 calories from your diet seven days a week, for a total of 2,800. Compare the two totals and you’ll see that your calorie deficit came out to roughly 80 percent food and 20 percent exercise.
Get on the move.
You don’t have to wait until your scheduled home workouts to burn a few extra calories. There are little ways you can get moving throughout the day. Such as:
- Parking at the back of the lot.
- Going for a short walk after lunch.
- Taking the stairs whenever you have the choice.
- Tidy up your house and your yard.
- Get up and talk to your coworkers instead of emailing or messaging them.
- Take public transportation.
Scale back your weigh-ins.
Try not to tie your idea of success to the number on the scale. That could just melt your motivation. Instead, revel in your increased energy. Enjoy each moment more with your improved mood. Smile when you notice that your clothes feel a bit roomier. Gleefully add the money you’re saving on unhealthy foods, gym memberships and supplements to your Savings Account. Also, check in with your doctor to see if your cholesterol, blood pressure or blood sugar levels have improved.
Make it fun.
Who said shaping up had to be a total downer? You don’t have to turn yourself into a virtual hamster on a wheel. Find ways to move that make your happy. If you like dancing, turn up the music and dance your heart out. If your kids are into sports, get outside and throw or kick the ball around with them. Like to people watch? Head to Lake Eola or Crane’s Roost parks and walk around. Having a workout buddy helps, too. That way you can share your success, struggles and smiles with someone.
At the end of the day, finding — and sticking to —a healthy routine is what matters most. So, if you feel you need the collective energy of the gym to motivate you, join one. Just shop around first. Look for zero initiation fee specials and don’t get taken to the cleaners with add-ons. And most importantly, use it often to ensure you get your money’s worth. If its group fitness classes like spin, yoga or Zumba that you enjoy, look for savings on websites that offer local deals. This will help you get started for less, especially while you’re testing the waters and your innate consistency.