Ever since I turned 30 in October I've been stepping up my game on the fitness front. Though I am totally in theoretical support of the Joplin Family Y, I do NOT work out in front of others. For me, working out is a solitary activity and it distracts me to think that someone could see me. When I run, I run in a weird secret spot close to my house that hardly anyone frequents. Needless to say, I've been avoiding purchasing a gym membership (I will have to give in this summer, because I know I won't run if it's over 75 degrees outside) for this very reason. One of my goals for 2013 is to pay off my credit cards, which adds a little more fuel to my anti-gym fire, because I can't afford the Y! So, if you're in the same boat as me (wanting to work out alone, work out on a budget, or just have an excuse to begin fitnessing with what you have on-hand right NOW) here's a guide that could cost you nothing, provided you have a few basics already lying around the house. If not, the most you'll have to spend with this guide should be under $50, or around the cost of just one month of a gym membership.
This guide is all about flipping off the idea that you have to have fancy stuff and spend beaucoup bucks to get in shape. You don't. Be inventive. There's no wrong way to shake it, move more, and streeeeetch. The following is simply what I have done and the things I tell myself to get it done day after day.
If you've got sneakers and sweatpants, you're ready to run. The only thing stopping you is YOU. If you're a smartphone user, download a free app called C25K that will take you from a not-running person gradually into a goddess that runs like a gazelle (see right).
I've never run in my life (well, not since I joined middle school track trying to impress a girl, but that was short-lived and my results were disappointing--both on the running and girl-getting front) until October and I used this app to begin and now I run two or three times a week. Another fun (and free) app that tracks your runs is Endomondo. For us non gym-cardholders, keep an eye on the weather and plan your runs accordingly. There are usually at least two days per week in our area that are upwards of 40 degrees--as long as it's above freezing, you should feel fine with gloves, a hat, and a hoodie. I read online that you should dress as if it's 20 degrees warmer than it really is for an outside run. Listen to something that moves you while you're running. If it's the nature around you, tune in with your very capable ears. Make your own playlist, use mine below, or listen to podcasts. Don't neglect this important aspect of the running workout. If thinking alone won't do it for you, plan your sounds accordingly. Finally, it is important to do it right. Check out this short, cheesy video on running posture and technique (I was doing it all wrong at first): http://video.about.com/running/Proper-Running-Form.htm
If you're not into the idea of running or it's just too crappy outside to run today, you'll need a few DVDs to get you through a more fitness-driven life. Again, you don't have to spend no damn money, honey, so go to your local library and find the workout DVDs (if your library uses the Dewey Decimal system, you're probably looking for nonfiction 613.7). If you live near me, our Joplin Public Library has a subject checkout limit of three, so grab a few that look interesting. Once you've sampled enough fitness DVDs to know what you like, either keep checking them out for free or drop a few bucks online for the used copies of your favorites.
My third favorite method of workout includes a game console, so if you don't have one, skip this step. If you do have a gaming console from within the last 5 years or so (xbox, wii, playstation3), check out some fitness games from Family Video or Vintage Stock for a few bucks a rental or just use those fitness games you already have and haven't used since the Wii came out in 2006. For a free option of game rental, ask around and see if any of your friends have fitness games they'd be willing to let you borrow.
One thing to remember about fitness is that you have to stay interested and like what you're doing, so try out as many DVDs/workouts/games as you can. My rule is that as long as I've done 30 minutes of workout-like activity per day, I'm good. That can be SOOO many different things. It totally counts if you go out dancing and actually work up a good sweat on the dancefloor. Werrrrrrk! Other ideas include taking your dog(s) for a walk every day, going for hikes with the kids, or cleaning the damn house. Don't be afraid to move that body, baby!
The only 5 items you need to workout, according to MixtressRae:
*yoga mat: $20 on Amazon.
*any old pair of sneakers you've got lying around
*any old pair of sweats/yoga pants/pajama pants that are intact enough for outdoor use: $5 or less at DAV or Salvation Army
*a sports bra (if ya got things that bounce too much for your comfort): $15 on Amazon
*a few workout DVDs: free to checkout with your Joplin Public Library card (Adult NonFiction section: 613.7), then drop 20 bucks at Amazon for 2 or 3 of your favorites used
MixtressRae's top5 workouts:
*Running outside: free
*Rodney Yee Yoga for Beginners Upper Body: Joplin Public Library VHS or Amazon for $3.50 used.
*Bellydance Basic Moves with Veena & Neena: Joplin Public Library VHS or Amazon for $2 used.
*Just Dance video game (for Wii, Xbox, and Playstation): Amazon for $20 used.
*Dancing: free or $3 cover charge at Plamor
MixtressRae's running mix:
Oh Well (Black Light Odyssey remix)//Depeche Mode
Slow (Chemical Brothers remix)//Kylie Minogue
Self Control//Scissor Sisters
cooldown: Waking Will//Bel Canto