No Money, No Gym…No Problem!

There are many exercises you can do which will shape, tone and sculpt your entire body without spending a penny.

Here are a few ways to get in your cardio exercise:

  • Tune into your local fitness channel
  • DVD’s-rent or borrow a fitness DVD from a friend
  • Run up and down the stairs or track bleachers-It’s the same workout you’d get on a Stairmaster.
  • Go for a walk, jog or run outside. Strive for a target heart rate zone that’s challenging yet doable.
  • Borrow your child’s jump rope for an intense cardio blast. You can create your own “boot camp” cardio class by jumping rope to get your heart rate up, then doing upper and lower body resistance exercises to tone, sculpt and strengthen.

Here are a few exercises to sculpt, tone and strengthen:

Chair dips: Sit on a chair or bench. With legs straight, lower yourself off the chair or bench until your elbows are at the same level as your shoulders. Squeeze the triceps in the back of the arm as you lower for 4 counts then lift for 4 counts. Work up to 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Here are some ideas to strengthen your abdominals for core strength:

Bicycle: Lay on your back with your chin up, elbows back behind your ears keeping a space between the chin and the chest. Slowly pull opposite knee towards your opposite shoulder pressing off your shoulder blades. Hold each move for 4 counts. Work up to 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Crunches: Lay on your back with your chin up, shoulders back, elbows behind your ears and space between your chin and chest. Keep your feet hip distance apart. Press off your shoulder blades to lift your upper body. As you lift, curl your hips toward the ceiling in a pelvic tilt to contract the entire abdominals from top to bottom. Lift for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts then lower for 4 counts. Work up to 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Plank: This abdominal exercise requires the same positioning as advanced push-ups except you’re resting on your forearms instead of your hands. With your back straight and abs tight, hold for 1 minute. The key to this exercise is making sure your lower back stays straight and tight.

Here are some exercises for your lower body:

Lunges: Make sure your back is straight and your shoulders are back. Take a deep step and lower 90 degrees, making sure your knee is directly above heel, never over the toes to avoid injury. Press your weight through your heel as you slowly lower down. Contract glut muscle as your weight is pressed through your heel. Slowly lower then push yourself back to starting position by pressing through your heel and repeat. Work up to 3 sets of 10 repetitions on each leg working one leg at a time.

Squats: Imagine trying to sit in a chair that’s placed very far behind you. Make sure your back is straight, shoulders back and feet are hip distance apart. Press your weight through your heels pushing your gluts way out behind you and lower 90 degrees. Your knees should be over your heels, not toes to avoid injury. Lower for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts then lift for 4 counts working up to 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Plie: This exercise is similar to squats except by using a slightly different form you strengthen the hips and outer thighs. For this exercise, turn your toes and knees out while tucking your tailbone under. Your back should be straight and tight. Press your weight towards the outside and back of your legs. Lower for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts then lift for 4 counts. Work up to 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Short on time and want quick results?

Combine your cardio and resistance work. Working out this way gives you intense calorie/fat burning results. For example, plyometric moves-develop speed and power. High intensity, explosive movements (make sure you warm up first and proper form is crucial to prevent injury)

Side-to-Side Lateral Jump:

Begin by placing a small object (such as a piece of tape) on the floor. Stand on one side of the object and bend your knees into a slight squat. In an explosive movement, jump over the object, landing with knees bent into a squat. Continue jumping from side to side for 10 seconds to one minute.

As you feel more comfortable with the moves, you can use larger objects (such as a small ball or a step). If you use a step, you can ease into this exercise by standing sideways to the step, jump on top of the step and then step down on the other side (it’s better not to jump off the step). Be VERY careful to use objects that won’t slide if you land on them! Start with an object you can easily clear when you jump. Here are a few more:

Plyo Jumps:

Stand with feet together. Bend your knees into a squat and then jump up as high as you can. Land with knees bent (to protect your joints) and immediately go into a squat and repeat the squat/jump for 10 seconds to 1 minute. Raise your arms as you jump to add more intensity.

Plyo lunges:

Lunge position- with one leg forward and one leg back, bend so that your front knee is directly over your heel (not your toes). Bend your leg so it’s at a 90 degree angle, touch the floor while squeezing your gluts, press through the heel to come back up, jump as you come up. 12-15 one leg then switch to the other leg.

Plyo push-ups:

Go down into a push up with your abs tight, back straight. Instead of just coming back up to do another one, get back into a standing position, jump and do it again.

Becoming fit doesn’t have to mean costly gym memberships or even moderately priced home equipment. What is needed however, are just a few ideas and the desire to look, feel and live your best.

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