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Let’s get PHYSICAL

by Archives October 12, 2005

If you’re a fitness fanatic and “Let’s get PHYSICAL” devotee, you’re sure to have caught last week’s column on the top 10 reasons for staying in shape. And with improved sleep patterns, reduced stress levels, a stronger immune system and a super-charged sex drive making the list, it’s easy to see why working out is the key to a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Fitting fitness into an already hectic schedule can be tough though, and most people find it easier to come up with excuses than to actually exercise. Health club membership fees, lack of time and gym-intimidation are common obstacles on the road to getting ripped, but in reality, they’re irrelevant. Expensive equipment, structured classes and top-notch trainers needn’t be necessities in your quest for a better bod. In fact, working out at home is often more effective because it’s cheap, convenient and comfortable. Read on for the reasons why working up a sweat chez vous might be the best get-fit method for you:

Cut the commute

When free time is scarce, the trek to and from the gym can ruin your fitness resolve. If you only have 30 minutes to work out, you’ve no time to waste commuting to the health club. By setting up a “mini-gym” at home– a few free-weights, a variety of videos, a fitness or bosu ball and an exercise mat– you’ll be all set to sweat whenever you’ve a few moments to spare.

Customize your environment

Creating your own workout environment will up your motivation in a big way. No longer will you be forced to endure Top 40 radio, guttural grunting or the jarring clatter of dropped weights.

Be your own DJ and set the pace of your workouts with music you enjoy. Also, consider giving your space a more tranquil feel with muted lighting, scented candles and a few plants when performing relaxing routines like yoga and Pilates.

Avoid the “Ah-nulds”

Muscle-bound meatheads are omnipresent at the gym, and while intimidating to some, they’re just plain irritating to most. When they’re not busy grunting, groaning and dramatically dropping dumbbells, they’re flexing in front of the mirrors, entranced by their own enormity.

Perhaps if their minds weren’t so clouded with creatine they’d understand what it means to be a distraction. But unfortunately, hulking he-men are a weight-room staple, making at-home workouts that much more appealing.

Lose the line-ups

There is nothing more annoying than having to wait to use equipment at the gym. Not only is it a waste of precious time, but long pauses between sets or exercises lessen the effectiveness of your workout. Unless you hit the gym at the crack of dawn or close to closing time, avoiding this inconvenience is next to impossible.

Sidestep stormy weather

When it’s pouring rain or blowing snow outside, it’s easy to excuse skipping a jaunt to the gym in favor of hiding out at home. But miss too many workouts because of wicked weather and you may find yourself saddled with unwanted weight.

Instead of curling up on the couch in front of the T.V., throw on a fitness DVD and work up a sweat in spite of Mother Nature. Just because you can’t hit the health club doesn’t mean you can’t fit in a fitness session!

Split your sessions

Studies have shown that two shorter workouts during the day are just as effective as one longer session, and exercising at home makes it easier to divide your time. You can weight-train in the morning and squeeze in a quick cardio session after class, all without having to waste time schlepping to and from the gym.

Conserve cash

Money is tight for most students, and a pricey health club membership often isn’t in the cards. But that’s no reason to succumb to sloth: Setting up a home gym is an easy and economical alternative. It’s simple to stay in shape with a few basic pieces of equipment, all of which can be purchased for less than the price of a few months’ membership at the local gym.

So embrace the get-fit potential of your own private space, and work out on your own time and at your own pace.

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