In today’s time being healthy, fit and trim is of the topmost concern to us. But sometimes even though we are willing to exercise, money or time constraint becomes a hindrance in our way.
Gymming is a very good option to lose weight and to tone up the body. But it requires a nice amount of money and also you tend to waste time commuting to and fro from the gym, let alone the time wasted while waiting for your turn to use the equipment. Also some people find it very monotonous to go to a gym everyday.
So here are some inexpensive and innovative ways to get back in shape that wont burn a hole in your pocket but would surely burn away all the fat you have stored while eating all those McChickens and Cheesebursts…
The first and foremost thing before doing any kind of exercise is to warm up a lil. Start with stretching exercises. Now for cardio we can either walk, run or skip..
The best calorie-burning equipment you have is your own body, so why not use it.?? Jogging is one of the most calorie-expending activities you can choose, and it’s free. Even better: alternate brief spurts of running with longer walking intervals. It has already been proved by a research that, not only is interval training superior for weight loss, but it improves endurance levels as compared to the traditional runs. If due to some reason you can’t go out. You can use a treadmill at your place (if you already have it), use it for 20 mins. Since we are on a budget friendly exercise routine we will jog on the spot for 15- 20 mins, gradually increasing the time as we go. Another very cheap alternate to the expensive equipments, is a skipping rope.
A skipping rope costs approximately 100-150 bucks and is easily available at any health equipment store. Start by about a 400 skips and increase them gradually to a 1000 skips. While skipping what you can do is, skip the first 150 skips at normal pace and then try to max your pace for the next 50 skips then do the same for the rest 200 as well. If your house has two floors, walk up and down the stairs once slowly and once as fast as you can. Repeat. Then get down onto the carpet and lie flat.
Then jump up as fast as you can and proceed again to the stairs.
An easy and more private alternative for those looking to get in shape can be found in fitness videos. There are many options available on the market, and most require little or no equipment. You can get such Dvds for about 300-600 bucks but a cheaper option to that is download a nice fitness programme from the internet and burn yourself a Dvd. That ways even if you don’t like one programme and want to shift to some other you dint spend anything on it.
Now for strength training exercises anything with weight can be used. You can also do many strength training exercises using nothing but your own body weight as resistance. The best options for this are lunges, crunches, pushups, squats and dips.
Crunches help in firming and reducing your abdominal area. This is how you do crunches:
- Lie down on the floor on your back and bend your knees, placing your hands behind your head or across your chest (whatever feels comfortable).
- Pull your belly button towards your spine, and flatten your lower back against the floor.
- Slowly contract your abdominals, bringing your shoulder blades about one or two inches off the floor.
- Exhale as you come up and keep your neck straight and your chin up.
- Hold this position for a few seconds, breathing continuously.
- Slowly lower back down, but don’t let your body relax all the way..
- For added variation, bring your knees in at the same time you lift your upper body off the floor (full body crunch)
Static lunges work all the major muscles of the hips and thighs. So now on how to perform a lunge:
- Stand with right foot forward, left foot back about 2.5-3 feet apart.
- Hold weights in each hand and bend the knees to lower the body towards the floor. Keep the front knee behind the toes and make sure you are lowering straight down and not leaning forward.
- Keep the torso (upper body) straight and abs in as you push through the front heel and back to starting position.
- Don’t lock the knees at the top of the movement.
- Perform 1-3 sets of 8-16 reps according to your fitness level.
The squats involve the upper thigh, calves, hamstrings, butt and also your lower back. This is the best exercise for a firm and sexy butt.
- Stand straight. Suck in stomach, and keep your feet shoulder width apart.
- Keep your back straight as possible; now bend your knees until you’re almost in a sitting position. ( its like sitting on an imaginary chair)
Dumbbells are a great investment and are very versatile. You can buy these too for a very nominal price at your health equipment store. Dumbbells can be used in a variety of ways to strengthen the upper body. Bicep curls, lateral arm raises and overhead push-ups are a few exercises that can be done using dumbbells. If you don’t want to invest in a pair of dumbbells yet, you can make your own small homemade dumbbells by filling up water bottles or soda cans with sand.. if you want the dumbbells to be a little heavier then fill the bottle with sand and a little water..and voila you have your own free dumbbells to use. For the girls who have just got into strength training the right weight for the dumbbells would be 1kg, and you can increase the weight to 1.5-2 kgs as and when your strength builds up. Before using dumbbells make sure to start with some stretches or warm ups to loosen and prepare each muscle group. Failing to stretch the muscles can result in strains, tears and other injuries. And don’t increase the weight unless you are ready for it. To check if you are ready to increase the weight just do 5 reps of any exercise that you are doing with increased weights and if you feel comfortable you are ready for it. Always increase the weight gradually not all at once. Never pick up the weights with a jerk and same goes with every exercise. Never jerk yourself when doing any exercise. Like when doing a bicep curl, you hold the dumbbell in your arm and bring it up towards you chest, and then when you bring it down, this is where the jerk part comes, you have to keep control of your muscles and don’t just let it fall down.
Want a stepper?
Why spend money. Use the bottom step of the stairs for step training. Hold your dumbbells in hand and do bicep curls while stepping.
The best equipment that I have and I really like is a Resistance Band. Resistance bands are very reasonably priced and easily available. They don’t use much space and can be used for strength training. With weights, you’re often limited as to how many exercises you can do. But, the resistance band allows you to change your positioning in multiple ways. This changes how your body works and how an exercise feels. I used to exercise with Resistance band earlier but after my surgery. My leg muscles went kind of dead, so my physiotherapist told me to do certain exercise with the resistance band since it’s the best way to strengthen your muscles.
Here are some tips to get the maximum out of your workout:
- Alternate strength moves like squats, push-ups, and wall-sits with high-intensity cardio moves like jumping jacks and running in place
- Take advantage of things you have around the house. A table is a great place to do triceps dips. So all you need is to be innovative.
- Aim for a minimum of 45 minutes per session
- Decide all the exercises that you will be doing. Now do one set of every exercise in the workout, repeat for 2 or even 3 sets. Go straight from one exercise to the next with little to no rest in order to keep your heart rate elevated
- Choose exercises that will incorporate your entire body. For instance pairing bicep curls with lunges would make you burn more calories than you would have burned by doing bicep curls while standing still. This is also very time-efficient.
Even with all of these resources, what is most difficult and challenging is staying committed to your fitness programme. I even have a wallet friendly, infact fun solution for this. Make your friend, husband, sister your workout buddy and schedule your workouts with them .Working together will be just like having a personal trainer who would motivate you with your weight loss and fitness target. Aim for 2–3 strength training sessions per week, and try to get some form of cardiovascular exercise like walking at least 5 days a week.
Those who have motivation may find it possible to get a complete workout with little or no extra equipment. So what are you waiting for.. Get moving baby..
Thank you Priyanka for such a motivating article – Rati