All week I’ve made posts about how to get healthy, fit and trim. What are my qualifications? Well, I’m a guy who was severely overweight and managed to lose 60 lbs and keep it off. Did it happen over night? No, I wish! Did I do it using some piece of ‘As Seen on TV’ fitness equipment that cost just three easy payments of $19.95? No. I did it the old fashion way that many of us try to avoid when losing weight: exercise and diet. It seems fitting (pun intended somewhat) that I end the week of how you can get healthier by talking about the key to any weight loss or health program: exercise.

I know people love gyms but I happen to believe they’re the cause of people not losing weight. Huh? Yeah, you heard me. For some, gyms work. You have all of your exercise equipment in one place, you have a place that offers classes, that motivates you and helps you focus on your fitness. BUT … for some, gyms are the complete opposite. They’re an obstacle – you have to rush before or after work to get to the gym, you have to wait for people to stop hogging equipment, you spend your time trying to figure out what to do in order to see results. In other words, gyms are often times a waste of your valuable time. In addition, it’s probably draining your bank account. You’re probably paying the gym money for the privilege of using their space and equipment everyday – even though you only find yourself in the gym 3 times (at most).

Exercise is a lot like eating right; if you have to spend too much time thinking about it and preparing to do it, you’re going to hate doing it and you’re going to drop the ball and never go back to pick it up. So, what are you to do? Streamline your workout routine. Working out doesn’t need to be complicated. You don’t have to workout as if you’re training for a marathon or a triathlon – how about you take it slow and every now and then for the sake of having fun you toss in something new and unexpected? My workout regimen is pretty basic and it’s helped me keep most of the weight off that I’ve lost over the past two years. It involves lifting weights (dumbbells mostly though I’ve started adding in some barbell work), resistance bands, pullups/chinups, running and jump roping. That’s pretty much it. I’ll tell you why this approach to working out is superior to the gym rat mentality: first, you can do a lot of these exercises anywhere. Dumbbells, jump ropes, medicine balls, swiss balls are all rather affordable and can be stored in your home or apartment. I never feel entirely guilty about buying a new piece of equipment. In fact, I’m currently looking for the best recumbent bike for home at the moment! Investing in your own personal home gym is one of the best investments you can make! But if you are hesitating on whether it is the right thing for you then perhaps going to a website like could help make your decision easier. However here are some initial reasons to start a home gym. First, everything you’d need to workout will be waiting for you at home rather than in a far and distant gym. Second, it’s yours and you don’t have to waste time waiting for someone in the gym to relinquish their control over it. Last, working out at home or outside by yourself is ideal because going to a gym can be a bit unnerving and intimidating when you’re comparing yourself and your body to that of others.

Now, a lot of people are unsure of what to do with their equipment or simply aren’t sure of what exercises to do to get results. You don’t need a personal trainer, all you need is some expert opinion. With this being said, if you have given it some thought and feel like the assistance of a personal trainer will be right for you, it may be best for you to do some research and find more info. As your health is very important, it makes sense for you to go about it the right way. If you are a little older, getting exercise can be a good way of keeping up active during your older age. However, it is still important to make sure that you and your family are covered should the unfortunate happen, looking into life insurance could help with this and there are a lot of compare life insurance companies out there for you to check out.

There’s a ton of helpful websites that show you exercises and how to do them and even provide you a routine to follow for specific goals (search for Men’s Health or Scott Herman on YouTube). Twitter is another great free resource for fitness and exercise experts (shameless plug, follow me on Twitter @decaptain for lots of free health and exercise info). Then there’s magazines. I’ve looked at Women’s Health and like it for women looking for exercise/health information. For men, I subscribe to Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness and Runner’s World and enjoy both. I’ve been looking at Muscle and Fitness and am adding that to my list of ‘must haves’. Yes, the subscriptions range from $10 (Men’s Fitness) to $20 (Men’s Health) or $34 (Muscle and Fitness) but again, this is like having a personal trainer (or trainers) come at you through the mail all year long with new routines, nutrition tips and articles about improving your health).

The key is to figure out what you want out of your workout: do you want killer abs, muscle, a trim body, a nice butt – and then research different exercises you can do to target that goal. Don’t be afraid of trying everything – I’ve done everything from Wii Fit to actual running in a park and even did yoga for a long period of time before pairing everything down to running/weight lifting. The key is to find something you enjoy, something that’s easy to do anywhere, and something that you’re not going to stop doing after a few weeks. If you find yourself getting bored with the routine or stop seeing results, don’t quit! Just try something new. Every season I tend to move on to something new, even if for a few weeks before going back to my usual routine. Doing the same thing the entire year will get boring and will not be effective for long – your body is smarter than you think and will grow tired and bored with the program just as much as you are. Now’s the time to change your lifestyle and get in the best shape of your life.

Follow me on Twitter @decaptain

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