Wednesday, December 31, 2008

5 frugal fitness tips!

by Weetabix, Elastic Waist

Are you broke? I'm broke. Anne's broke. Kim's facing the brokety broke reality of unemployment. You all told us that you dream of a day when someone would pay you to work out, but why are you still paying someone to let you work out? If your budget is feeling the crunch, our old friend Stacy Berman will help you stop paying for that gym membership and find extra money that you didn't know you had.

Frugal Fitness Tip # 1: Strength in Numbers!

With so many consumers cutting back on spending, personal trainers and gyms are feeling the burn. Stacy recommends quitting your one-on-one training sessions in favor of a group discounted rate. "Many trainers will accept a larger group of people for a lower individual rate," says Stacy. "It's a great way to reduce spending on fitness but keep the motivation factor there."

Frugal Fitness Tip #2: The Cheaper the Meat, the Bigger Your Waist

According to Stacy, many consumers will have to make sacrifices when it comes to consuming high-price items like meat. If you are a meat eater, Stacy warns you not to go overboard with cost-cutting. "Often the cheapest cuts of meat are also the cuts with the highest fat content. You may be saving a dollar or two, but it could add up your calorie content higher than it used to be," says Stacy. Instead, chose moderately priced lean cuts of meat and scale back on your side dishes. Stacy recommends whole grain, fiber-rich foods like rice and beans to compliment your meals. Do not skimp on these 10 foods at the grocery store.

Frugal Fitness Tip #3: Every Little Bit Counts
The world is your playground -- literally! Stacy is a big fan of using everyday activities to burn extra calories. She runs her out outdoor boot camp, Stacy's Boot Camp, in the public parks of New York City, and her classes use only their bodies and a few water bottles to get results. "You don't always need fancy gym equipment to get into great shape," says Stacy, "just a set of dumbbells and a chair can get you to your fitness goals without breaking the bank." According to Stacy, as the holiday season approaches, take advantage of calorie burning activities like raking leaves, building snowmen and ice skating. Play your way slim with this neighborhood park workout!

Frugal Fitness Tip #4: Be Prepared to Prep!
The place where money is wasted the most is in the pre-packaged food aisles, says Stacy. "Spending extra money on things like pre-washed and pre-cut lettuce, for example, is a huge money pit," says Stacy. "Buying whole foods and preparing them yourself will not only cut back on costs but it will ensure you are not eating extra preservatives or additives in packaged foods."

Frugal Fitness Tip #5: Use the "Dollar Menu" Wisely
Stacy admits there are times when you may have no choice but to eat at fast food restaurants. However, Stacy notes that many, if not all, fast food chains are offering not only healthy but appetizing options for those both on a diet and a budget. "When choosing to eat from a fast food restaurant, it's simple to stay on the health track," says Stacy. "I tell my clients to avoid the words 'crisp,' 'double' and 'big' at all costs." There are some great choices to be had at many restaurant chains -- including Wendy's Small Chili, McDonald's Salads with Grilled Chicken and Burger King's Whopper Jr. without cheese. Beat hunger (and the clock) with these speedy dinners.

[photo credit: Getty Images]

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