Getting in Shape Without the Gym

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It's that time of year again - when you want to slim down, but often end up trimming your wallet more than your waistline. Forget the gym - watch this fitness expert as she gives you the how-to on getting in shape at home or anywhere.

The following post was written by Tari Rose, fitness expert in the video above and author of multiple fitness books, including her latest, BodyInstinct.

Getting healthy and fit doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. In fact, it should cost between little and nothing.

You don’t need a gym or a fitness studio. More than half of the people who get into a contract with a health club or fitness studio stop going after the first two weeks but continue to have membership fees drawn from their bank account for a year or longer. Even after the contract is up most people continue to let that money be withdrawn. In short, it’s a lot easier to join a gym than to quit.

You can walk into any gym or fitness center and be signed up in 10 minutes, but try to stop those payments and most places will ask for a certified letter and 30 to 90 days to have it become effective.  Some people let automatic payments continue out of guilt, thinking, “I am going to make it back in there one day,” but never actually do.

Better cardio, lower cost

Say “cardio” and most people think treadmill or a stationary bike, either at the gym or parked in the middle of their bedroom or basement.  These machines take up a tremendous amount of space, frequently break down and are costly to repair. Most end up as big, ugly, expensive clothes hangers.

For your cardiovascular fitness, walk or run outside, swim in a pool, or get a small step stool, put it in front of your TV, and step up and down.  Jumping rope is another way to get that blood moving and fat burning that costs almost nothing and takes up little space.  Have a staircase in your house?  That’s a built-in Stairmaster: Go up and down that for 20 minutes and you’ll feel your heart pumping just fine!

Weight-lifting without weights

When it comes to strength/resistance training, weights are nothing more than, well, dead weight. I rarely use equipment or weights with my clients.  To develop a toned body and prevent osteoporosis, you need to do weight-bearing exercises, but the weight doesn’t have to come from a dumbbell or machine. Your own body weight is all the weight you’ll need.

Using your body weight to work out is safer, cheaper, more efficient, and more practical than using hand-held weights or machines. Exercises like pushups, squats, lunges, and tricep dips are examples. Not only will these exercises work, they’re better than weights. Weight machines often isolate a muscle group and support the rest of your body so your muscles don’t learn how to work together supporting and stabilizing. This can leave you susceptible to injury. Using your body weight develops a more athletic type of body overall, as well as giving you “true strength” – strength you use in everyday life.

I’ve never looked or felt better, and I haven’t lifted a weight in more than 10 years, except my own. And I’m definitely stronger than I was when I was using weights and weight machines.

If you have no idea what type of strength/resistance workout to do, or if you need something simple and effective you can do at home, look online or check out my latest book, BodyInstinct. But however you do it, do it. Call it your “no excuses” workout because it’s available any time, anywhere – in a hotel room, at a park, at the beach, or in your living room in your underwear. Forget equipment, weights, bands, and balls – even shoes are optional.

This year make a fitness commitment, not a contract commitment.

Stacy Johnson

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