Spring Training

by Kim Randall

Summer is fast approaching. While that is music to most people's ears, it also strikes fear in the heart of those of us who dread putting on a bathing suit after all of the holiday goodies we enjoyed a few short months ago. The way I see it we have two options. We could either burn last year's bathing suit and vow never to be seen in less than a t-shirt and shorts again or we could use the upcoming weeks to shed a few extra pounds, tone up, and, hopefully, tame the bathing suit beast once and for all.

Here are some suggestions to get you on the right track without a lot of unnecessary expense:

Get Moving

Since the great outdoors is not always cooperative this time of the year, workout videos are a good bet for shaping up indoors. However, brand new videos can cost upwards of $15 each and that adds up fast if you like a lot of variety. In this case, the "try before you buy" philosophy will help prevent disappointment and keep the dollar bills from flying out of your wallet. An invaluable resource is www.collagevideo.com.

On their website, you can view samples of the videos they have for sale. As well, they give reasonably detailed information about each one (type of exercise, body parts worked, length of each segment) and even list qualifications for the instructors that lead the workouts. Website visitors are able to give honest opinions about the videos they've used and that can help you avoid disappointment.

And remember, workout videos are not just for the ladies. (Sorry, guys - you're not off the hook!) There are quite a few out there that cater to both men and women. Cory Everson's videos are a great example. She provides exercises that get results without being intimidating.

Online shopping for equipment may land you some bargains, but items like dumbbells will cost a small fortune to ship. Consider visiting a used sporting goods store to buy "like new" items at bargain prices. Play It Again Sports is a great store that buys, sells, and even trades used sporting goods. While you may not have one within a convenient driving distance from your home, you may find there are similar stores close by.

While you can find many effective substitutions for exercise equipment around the house, it is important that you have appropriate and safe equipment available to you. If you are uncertain about what you need, pick up a magazine. Those put out by Joe Weider (Shape, Muscle & Fitness) provide a wealth of knowledge for the beginner and more advanced exerciser. Lastly, consider using the coupon for the 30-day free trial at your local health club. You'll have access to trained professionals at no cost to you.

Get Inspired

Motivation is the key to success in shaping up, as with any goal. While ultimately the motivation must come from within, why not let other people help inspire you? There are many websites out there that provide great tips to help keep you going when the going gets tough. A personal favorite of mine is www.kathysmith.com. I've subscribed to her free weekly wellness newsletter and it helps to keep me in check.

Also, remember to give yourself rewards along way. Rewards don't have to be expensive. A warm bubble bath after a long week can often do the trick. Just make sure that your rewards are frequent enough that you continue to maintain a high motivation level.

Get In That Bathing Suit

OK, so maybe you're not ready for bathing suit season yet but, armed with a few good tips and a little inspiration, you'll be on your way in no time and you won't have to worry about your wallet slimming down in the process!

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