No-cost and low-cost ways to keep the recession from going to your waistline
A pricey gym membership isn’t the only route to a toned, bikini-ready body. Here are nine recession-proof ways to stay in shape.
Rocky Reprise: For a serious aerobic workout, climb some stairs and burn 400 calories an hour – or more. You’ll have an entire year to prepare for the ultimate challenge: the Empire State Building Run-Up, a race held every February (nyrr.org).
Walk This Way: Anybody can do it, and your style can range from a leisurely lope to a heart-pumping power walk. For best results, apply interval training: Walk 3 minutes fast, then 3 minutes slow.
Swap Meet: Got a friend who’s a trainer? Offer to cut her lawn, cook a week’s worth or casseroles or drive her kids to school and lessons in exchange for a session.
Channel Surf: Tune into Fit TV (fittv.discovery.com) for “Total Body Sculpt” “Boot Camp” or “Namaste Yoga.” It’s all exercise, all the time.
FOR JUST A FEW BUCKS
Class Action: Gather some friends, chip in for a workout DVD (Billy Blanks Tae Bo, Kathy Smith weight-lifting) and host your own class. Three friends can rotate houses, each hosting once a week.
Bargain-Basement Buff: Pay as little as $10 a month for membership in a no-frills operation like Planet Fitness, with 230 gyms in 29 states.
Ah, Wilderness! Pick up a pair of multi-sport shoes (sierratradingpost.com has a good selection, great prices) and hit the trails. Hiking, with its ups and downs, offers automatic interval training.
By the Book: Get Stronger, Feel Younger and No More Cellulite are just two of the more than 20 titles from noted exercise researcher Wayne L. Westcott, fitness research director at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, MA, with easy-to-follow exercises.
Last But Not Least: If you love your gym but not the fees, negotiate to lower them. In this economy, nothing’s cut and dried. Make a case why they should make an exception, such as job loss or an ailing small business, and promise to keep your new deal on the QT. Gyms don’t want members comparing discounts. Come to the conversation armed with several possibilities. If they won’t cut the monthly rate, ask for a month free. If you can’t lower the rate, see if you can get some free personal training; gyms are eager to keep their trainers busy, with the hope that some who sample training will become regulars.