Learn to walk before you run

WE'VE ALL seen those annoying infomercials bragging about the simplicity of losing weight and looking buff with new and innovative exercise gear that is apparently so easy the people using them have the energy to flash a cheesy smile at the camera.

But despite the roaring trade in these machines, the majority of them end up gathering dust in their advertised "easy storage" place under the bed.

My take on why anyone would buy a product from such irritating ads is that the promise of an easy but effective workout is far too enticing for many to refuse.

But there is a painfully obvious factor that people who fall into these traps tend to ignore, myself included, and that is that exercise is not meant to be easy.

This may come as a revelation, but getting fit takes work and most importantly, it takes dedication and motivation - which unfortunately can't be bought over the phone with a convenient two-for-one deal.

The truth is that spending hundreds of dollars on an abdominal machine or a gym membership does not guarantee you a quick fix, even if that super-buff man with the rippling abs covered in Vaseline says so.

So if you want to get into shape for the summer but the thought of sweating it out in front of an audience at the gym makes you cringe; next time why not try starting off with the at home basics rather than throwing your money at the TV?

If you're one of those people who, like me, lack motivation, ease into it before you go spending a fortune on the latest high-tech equipment.

There are always the traditional equipment free exercises that in my opinion are highly under rated.

By starting out with a combination of push-ups, sit ups, lunges, squats and chair dips, not only are you giving your whole body a good work out, but you're doing it for absolutely no impact on your wallet.

Try keeping a diary of your exercise and pushing yourself that extra bit further each day with the number of repetitions you carry out.

If you want to take things to the next level but don't want to spend an arm and a leg in the process, there is a whole bevy of cheap exercise equipment out there that will help you maintain that rocking body.

With equipment like handgrips, skipping ropes and 1.5 kilogram dumbbells generally under $10, plus medicine balls, resistance tubes and a range of brand name exercise clothing under $50, Rebel Sport has your work out needs covered for whatever your budget.

While it all depends on how much you're willing to pay, one thing that people tend to spend a lot on is brand name gear- which is a bit of a conundrum considering its sole purpose is to get covered in sweat.

Often there is very little to no difference in comfort or superiority when it comes to the clothing we work out in.

For example, if you've decided to take it to the streets and start jogging, there's an excellent range of comfortable, quality and reasonably priced runners out there that are a steal for between $10 and $40 - a bargain compared to the $100 runners belonging to brand names.

The main suggestion here is to do your research and try the cheaper non-brands on for comfort because the truth of the matter is, that is the main priority.

No matter how much you spend, depending on the amount of exercise you do, chances are you'll need a new pair in a matter of months.

My final tip for exercising on a budget is having a look around the house and making your own substitutions.

We've all heard the old "using baked bean cans as weights" trick, but how many of you have actually tried it?

Admittedly the prospect of doing bicep curls using a couple of baked bean cans in each hand sounds ridiculous, but after trying it myself for 10 minutes, I did feel the burn.

While I'm not sure whether that's a statement about how effective the exercise was or how weak I am, there are still plenty of other household items that can aid in developing your fitness.

Skipping ropes can work wonders for cardio and if you happen to have an old basketball or soccer ball lying around, it can easily be turned into a medicine ball by filling it with sand.

So next time you find yourself contemplating a ridiculously expensive machine advertised by an early Arnold Schwarzenegger look alike on the late night home shopping channel, remember you need to learn to walk before you run.

Topics:  exercise weight loss

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