Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Fitness on the FREE


I've got a love hate (or maybe hate hate) relationship with fitness; let's just say there are plenty of things I'd rather be doing than exercising but it's a necessary evil. It can also be hella expensive to pay for a monthly gym membership, personal trainer, yoga classes or whatever your jam is. If you're looking to cut some unnecessary costs out of your budget you should take a long hard look at what you're paying for fitness each month and halt some of those costs. There are some really great (and completely FREE) online resources that can get you in shape in the comfort of your own home. Who really wants to deal with crowded gyms anyways? You will want to have some basic equipment available to make the most of your workouts but it's easy to keep the cost low, probably even less than a month's payment at the gym. Pick-up a few cheap free weights (like these, or if you want to go even cheaper check your local Kijiji) and a yoga mat (like this one) and you'll able to accomplish most of your fitness goals. 

I really enjoy yoga and it's one of the few fitness activities I have stuck with consistently over the years. I used to have a pass to a local studio that I really loved but it eventually shut down and I never found a good replacement. Yoga can also get really expensive and the class times aren't always convenient for my schedule so I've found that using online alternatives have filled the void. There are options out there on the world wide web that give you access to knowledgeable instructors with high quality, full length videos that you can do in your own living room whenever you have the time.  My two favourite sites are:
  • Yoga with Adriene - I love, love, love Adriene's videos! She's got a really great selection of videos with full classes and shorter videos teaching the foundations of yoga, plus she's funny and doesn't take herself too seriously. If Adriene taught classes in Edmonton I would absolutely pay to go, she really is that great. If you're just starting out on your yoga journey, or wanting to get back into the flow, you should check out one of her 30 day challenges. Each of the past few years she has put out a new practice video each day in January to help you get motivated and stick with a regular practice. I've done both the 2015 and 2016 versions and loved them. Most of the videos are about 30 minutes long and vary things up so some days are a real physical challenge and others you get to relax into it. *Update - there's a new 2017 version just starting up! 
  • Do Yoga With Me - Another good (and Canadian) resource with LOTS of full length videos and a variety of yoga styles and skill levels. These videos are less consistent that Adriene's and I've found I like some of the teachers more than others but there are some good ones. Many of the videos are shot outside so the quality isn't always the best but I've never had a problem following along. A couple of videos I go back to again and again are David Procyshyn's Yoga for the Upper Back and his Deep Release for the Hips, Hamstrings, and Lower Back. Both are great if you suffer from back pain or sit at a desk all day, and he does the most relaxing guided meditation. *Update - As of January 2017 they are also offering a 30 day challenge with either a beginner or intermediate option. It looks like they are putting together a variety of their most popular videos. I'm definitely going to keep this in mind for when I'm done Adriene's new challenge. 
Maybe yoga isn't your thing or you also want to include something a little more intense then you should check out one of the following options. Both have videos that will really get your heart rate up and help you tone up. 
  • FitnessBlender - Daniel and Kelli are a husband a wife team that will work you out hard! They've got tons of videos on everything from HIIT to pilates and many of the videos don't require you to have any equipment. Their website is also really user friendly with super simple search options; you can choose a specific body part to work or search by ability level or length of video. I've done their 5-Day Workout Challenge for Busy People (all workouts are less than 30 minutes) and it's a good place to start. Each of the videos can be modified to meet an ability level and targets different body parts throughout the week. They also have paid programs that include a nutrition guide and calendar of workouts if you want something more structured. I have purchased one in the past and liked it, and they are very reasonably priced. 
  • XHIT Daily - Another great YouTube resource with a huge selection of workouts. These ones tend to have picture perfect trainers in skimpy outfits but if you can get past that (sometimes I can, sometimes I can't) I find the workouts to be effective and fast. Most of the videos are short with a specific target (abs, butt, arms, etc.) so you can do them individually or patch a few together for a more complete workout. 
What do you guys think, are you loyal to your gym or do you prefer working out in the comfort of your own home? 


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