Tag Archives: fitness

Fitness is Free or Very Expensive

When my scale tipped 180lbs for the second time in my life, I knew it was time to throw in the towel (or pick one up) and invest in my health. I’m 30, so my yo-yoing weight is no longer a joke (haha I’ll totally drop those extra 50lbs in a year or two once I stop being a depressed pig, no probs bobs.) Uhhh… not that the pounds ever really came off easily, but this time they are sticking like superglue. Eeeeyikes.

So now I’m trying to decide just how much I want to splurge on this whole “getting healthy” thing. It’s not actually a thing, it’s the entirety of my life AND the most important part of it. Yes, I can be a frugalista and hit $325,000 in networth this year and die when I’m 60 because I ate and sat myself to death, or I can make a change today. My goal is 120lbs-130lbs, with 130-145 being acceptable and anything over that being very bad. Anything over 160 is extremely bad. I can’t believe I let myself get this gross again. Nothing I own fits, which is another problem, because I have to go buy a whole new wardrobe unless I can shrink back into my clothes. Sigh. Continue reading

Biking for Frugality

I’m not a fitness buff, though I am trying to get in shape. When I lived in Berkley a few years ago, pre-car ownership, I bought myself a fairly decent bike to get me to and from work. It was about a 30 minute bike ride each way – flat for the most part, though to was a bit uphill and home was a bit down (which worked out perfectly, who wants to ride uphill on the way home?)

My weight has fluctuated from 163lbs to 123lbs over the last 4 years. The lowest, 123, was after I biked to and from work five days a week for about three months. Well, I had gotten down to about 130 and then went through about a month of deep depression and didn’t eat much of anything, which was an unhealthy way to get down to 123.

Regardless of my weight, I’ve never felt “healthy.” The closet to healthy I’ve ever felt was at 130lbs, when I was eating normally and biking daily. That’s what I’m hoping to get back to again.

But apparently the sheer quest for health isn’t enough of a motivator for me. What make me bike when I lived in Berkley? Sure, I wanted to get healthy. But the real reason I biked every day was that my other option, a BART ticket (BART is the subway in the bay area) would cost me about $3 round trip a day. $3 a day? That seemed like such a waste of money, esp since I owned a bike that could get me to my destination almost as quickly.

Ever since I’ve bought a car, I find it’s easier to ignore the specific cost of fuel as you travel from one destination to another. But with gas prices hitting an average of $4 a gallon around here, my bike is once again becoming my new best friend.

I need to get back in the swing of biking, really, as it’s tough to force myself to leave 45 minutes for my commute to work as opposed to 15 for the drive. But those 45 minutes are precious me-time that could either be spent moping around in bed or out and about enjoying the day’s sun. And I certainly know that I need my time in the sun in order to be healthy and happy.

So – thanks to $4 a gallon gas, I might get back in shape again. I hope I will. I won’t be in great shape when I leave for Israel in a month, sadly. Even riding my bike every day and eating healthy won’t help me look good in a bathing suit. But maybe I won’t be completely embarrassed by wearing the appropriate swim garb.

Meanwhile, there is one pair of Banana Republic jeans I bought when I was 123lbs, and my goal right now is to fit into them again one day. Of course, that means that most of my other clothes won’t fit anymore, but it would be worth it just to be able to wear those jeans again!

10 Ways to Make the Most of Your Gym Membership

Gym memberships are a costly investment, but the good thing about them is that you can control the amount of pay off by the amount you actually use them. It doesn’t really matter if you’re spending $19 a month or $99 a month, what matters is how often you actually get your lazy butt off the couch and go workout.

Here are 10 ways to make the most out of that costly gym membership:

1. Go, and go often: Ok, this one is obvious, but despite having a “duh” factor, this is the most important step of all. For the past year-and-a-half, I had a $46.99 a month membership to 24 Hour Fitness. I went to the gym a total of 10 times in those 18 months. Quick math shows that I would have been better off splurging on a day pass to a local luxury gym… or buying myself fitness equipment… instead of spending about $70 a visit. Now that I belong to Gold’s Gym with a $27 a month membership I’ve vowed to go to the gym at least twice a week. Not only does this make my gym membership make more sense to my budget, it’s also helping me be more healthy, which will hopefully cut medical bills in the long run.

2. Get a Gym Buddy… Who Isn’t a Close Friend: Having a gym buddy is a good way to encourage yourself to use your gym membership. But if your gym buddy is a close friend, there’s a better chance that one of you will come up with a last-minute excuse on why you can’t go, letting the other back out easily. After all, friends are often more forgiving about these things, especially if the friends aren’t keen on going to the gym in the first place.

3. Take a Class or Ten: Many gyms offer a variety of “free” group fitness classes. As soon as you start taking these classes, your “investment” dollars are being put to work. Assuming group fitness classes, on their own, would cost $50+ a month at the local rec center, taking a class once a week makes the entire gym membership worth a lot more. Go in without any expectations, and be ready to walk if the instructor is awful or the class is really too hard for you.

4. Use Those Machines: One of the main benefits of belonging to a gym is the ability to diversify your workout. Don’t be afraid of the weight training machines (I know I was for a long time). Instead, read the instructions on the side of the machine and start slow. You should pick a weight that allows you to do 15 reps (repetitions) of the same movement until your muscle feels as if it is melting and has turned to jelly.

5. Go In the Morning: I’m going to try to take my advice on this one in the coming year, as I’ve yet to experience the 5am gym rush. Going to the gym in the morning is great because it gives you energy for the day, helps your metabolism, and… best yet… ensures you won’t come up with excuses after work about why you can’t make it to the gym. Also, going in the morning makes you more aware of getting to sleep at a reasonable hour, which is ever-so important for weight loss and health (she writes at 2am after getting 2 hours of sleep last night.)

6. Buy a Bunch of Used Fitness Magazines: Fitness magazines often repeat the same information over and over again, so I wouldn’t recommend them for health nuts, but for beginners they can be quite helpful. Not only do they offer advice on workouts, they also will discuss (and show photos) of proper form, which will help you make the most out of your workout and not hurt yourself… both important things if you want to keep using the gym.

7. Don’t Give Up: Easier said than done… but staying on track is more than half the battle. Don’t disillusion yourself into thinking you’ll drop 10lbs a week. If you’re eating a healthy diet around 1200 calories (for women) or 1500 calories (for men) and working out 3 times a week, you will lose weight… like 1lb per every 1-2 weeks. Even if you don’t lose a pant size, any exercise is good for your long term health. It’s what you can’t see that’s the most harmful.

8. Join a Online Health Community: Free health and fitness networks can aid in your journey. Check out SparkPeople.com, a wonderful community where you can track your diet, get fitness advice and surround yourself (digitally) with other people like you.

9. Invest in a Personal Trainer: Personal trainers are very expensive and they’re not all worth their lean muscle mass in gold. Some gyms offer a few cheap personal training sessions when you sign up, so take advantage of that deal. Tell your trainer up front that you’re broke so he or she will be less tempted to try to sell you expensive supplements or additional sessions. Instead, explain that you really want to learn a good basic workout (or, if you’re more advanced, ask for a workout that can help take you to the next level). Get the workout in writing and take notes on any specific proper positioning that isn’t obvious.

10. Eat Healthy: You know that saying “you are what you eat?” Well, it’s true, and it’s most apparent when you’re at the gym. It’s easy to tell yourself that you’ve worked out a ton so a good reward would be an entire pizza or slice of cake. However, you’re just sabotaging your hard-earned results. Eating a diet high in protein, complex carbohydrates and fiber will give you the energy needed to work out. For good, easy sources of protein try egg whites. Egg beaters, which are milk-cartons of liquid egg whites, are my new best friend. Also, splurge on a good vitamin. I’m no nutritionist, but look into what sort of vitamin would be best for you. It’s cheaper to buy one slightly more expensive vitamin with everything in it you need than buying a lower-cost vitamin and having to buy separate supplements for missing nutrients.

Hello 2008!

2008, here we all come. I’m actually excited about the coming year. I feel like things are actually falling into place. I love my job (here’s to hoping I can keep it past the date my contract expires) and I’m finally directing a show on my own. I’m equally excited about both of these opportunities.

My health is getting better by the day. My new obsession are vitamin supplements. I spent most of New Years Eve at Longs Drugs as I studied the vitamin aisle. I spent too much on vitamins and other things. But to be honest all of these random pills of vitamin bliss make me feel better. And hopefully in the long run they will help my health, which will make my medical bills cheaper.

And… I worked out at home yesterday on my new stability ball and my arms and belly are in pain. Yeay! I love how being in pain is a good thing when you’re trying to get fit. My arms are just killing me. So much for “free” workouts, but stability balls cost about $20 and they basically provide you with all you’d need for a workout. I ended up buying some weights, resistance bands and the ball, so I’ll have no excuse to avoid working out in the coming year.

I hope, by 2009, I will have a flat stomach and a lot less fat on my thighs. I guess that’s a New Years resolution. But I’m seriously going to keep it.

I vow to start focusing on actually saving my money, and not spending it on needless things. I’m going to be on time (10 minutes early) to everything, unless its like a party that I should be late to. I will be a good girlfriend… no more mood swings and being afraid of a long term relationship and trying to push my bf away. No more alcohol (besides the occasional glass of red wine with dinner). No more giant desserts. Focusing on the now, not tomorrow, or the next day. Making friends and keeping friends. Not hitting on my friends. ;P

It’s going to be a good year. A great year. And I’m ready for it.

Free Workout of the Day: 8 Minute Abs (from 1994)

Can it get any cheesier than this? I remember the infomercials for this 90s exercise classic. The good news is that this video is now “free” and it works. The main guy is motivational, and the bad music (that could fit in a 90s porn as well) for some reason makes me want to work out even harder.

I kind of like how each move in 45 seconds. But by the end of eight minutes, I’m in pain.

Free Workout of the Day: Butt Blaster

Now that I’ve pulled the plug on my gym membership (that I never used), I’ve decided to seek out free fitness videos online. My boyfriend swears by 8 Minute Abs (circa 1994). If you want, you can find that easily for your dated enjoyment on YouTube. Yes, I did 8 Minute Abs today and I’m going to try to do it everyday for the foreseeable future. However, today’s “Free Workout of the Day” takes us to a slightly lower region – our butts.

I just did this six minute butt blaster workout that I found on YouTube, and boy does my butt feel blasted. Check back every day for a new Free Workout of the Day video or tutorial from another fitness website. All workouts will use body weight and cardio alone and require no additional equipment, therefore actually being free!