Ways to exercise and lose inches without losing your money or your motivation.
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After having my last baby, I knew it was time to work off the extra pounds. Sleep deprived and chubby, I fell for a TV commercial touting a great all-in-one exercise system. Three years later, it’s still parked in my basement. I admit it: I need the energy of classmates and a motivating instructor, so I joined a center two minutes from my house. I’m there twice a week, rain or shine. No surprise, I’ve lost the baby weight-and then some.
We all know we need to eat less and move more, but that doesn’t always translate into action. So whatever your excuse, I’ve got a solution. Many are free.
'The gym is boring and too far away.'
Is your living room close enough? Turn on FitTV for a wide selection of half-hour shows. (To find out if your cable provider carries it, click on “Get the Channel” at fittv.discovery.com. You can also catch it via satellite, on DirecTV.) Indian fitness star Hemalayaa teaches a Bollywood class. Israeli decathlete Gilad leads a commando-type workout (cardio bursts, kickboxing, and martial arts). Or try Sharon Mann’s calorie-burning boot camp.
'I don't have time.'
Need to sneak in some exercise before your morning commute? Log on to exercisetv.tv and choose one of 600 video workouts. (Most are two to five minutes each, and they’re free.) Stressed-out? Try Kori Flechtner’s “Yoga Works Sun Salutation Energy.” Feeling sluggish? There’s Billy Blanks Jr.’s “Cardio Quickie.” (Adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week, but these mini workouts add up.)
'Home equipment is too expensive.'
Ken Grant, owner of Get Fit 516 Fitness Services in Franklin Square, New York, says all you need is a set of latex bands (they’re color-coded for the level of resistance), tension tubes (they look like rubber jump ropes with handles), a medicine ball (weights range from 2 to 25 pounds), and a stability ball (the size will depend on your height). For instructional videos, go to wonderhowto.com. Before you spring for the equipment (about $100), check freecycle.org to see if someone in your area is getting rid of whatever you need. (Maybe I should freecycle that basement relic of mine!)
'I'm not disciplined.'
If you’re like me and you need someone pushing you to feel the burn, but you don’t want to shell out the $30 to $100 per session with a personal trainer, register on freetrainers.com. Fill out a questionnaire about your fitness level and goals to receive a free customized workout.
'I need company.'
On meetup.com and exercisefriends.com, you can connect with people who share your interests, whether it’s walking, biking, running, or rowing. Type in your favorite activity and zip code to get a list of groups. At Meetup, you can be really specific, like “hiking with your dog” or “Laughter Yoga.” Active.com, a free clearinghouse of sports and recreational activities, is great if you’re looking for a Little League team for your kid or a tennis league for yourself.
'I hate to exercise.'
There. You said it. Couch potatoes and computer addicts can keep it challenging-and fun-with the Wii Fit Plus, Nintendo’s exercise video game and balance board ($100). The $200 Wii console isn’t cheap, but you get more than 60 activities, from hula hooping to strength training. The adventurous can try the ski slalom or Big Top Juggling (bet you can’t balance on a ball while juggling!).
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