Shake up Your Fitness Plan

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You've splurged more than you'd like on gym membership, feel like you've been doing the same workout routine forever, and keep missing workouts because of long working hours. Now's the time to reassess your fitness program, shake off the excesses and add a spring to your step. Here's how.

Fitness on a Shoestring
If your fitness endeavors are lightening your wallet faster than the number on the scale, you need to reassess your budget. Not to mention that the impact of the economy will very likely be weighing on your mind as you decide how much to fork out this year for keeping trim and fit.

But there can be an upside to the downturn: health clubs are more likely to dish out budget-friendly packages. They may also be more willing to listen if you want to negotiate a membership package that's more suited to your own schedule and needs.

Another way to slash your get-fit costs: opt for group training and classes over personal training. What you forgo in one-to-one attention, you'll gain in camaraderie and the opportunity to meet like-minded people. What's more, the positive peer pressure of keeping up with everyone else in the physical challenge can do wonders for your willpower.  

Time-Pinched?
A busy schedule can one of the biggest threats to a fitness regimen but don't let that stop you from working up a sweat. The solution: shorter, high-intensity workouts, which incinerate calories while stepping up your strength and endurance. Boot-camp style workouts fit the bill. These can be easily done with some simple equipment, including dumbbells, an exercise mat and a medicine ball. Comprising strength exercises such as walking lunges, jumping jacks and pushups, plus light cardio for warming up and cooling down, you can squeeze it all in for just 30 minutes. 

Or team up with a friend and get time on your side. Making a date to go to the gym together will urge you to make time out of your busy schedule to keep your promise.  A friend can also relieve you of daily commitments, such as helping you babysit, so that you can free up an hour or two to get that physical high.  All hail sisterhood!

Get Out of the Hamster-Wheel Routine
Even if you have the time, thinking of running on a treadmill non-stop for a dull hour may make you more tempted to reach for the remote control instead. It's time to get out of the rut and try something new to get your heart pumping.  For a change, why not try some niche exercise classes? Ethnic dance, hula hooping, pole dancing, Zumba -- the choices are plenty. Go ahead and turn the 'no pain, no gain' adage on its head.

If you're not quite ready to get grooving yet, try exercise games, or "exergames", as your boredom-busting solution.  You'll be so caught up in the video games that you'll hardly notice how hard you're working for the fun. For game lovers, that means no more excuses to be couch potatoes!

You don't have to be rich to be fit. Neither do you need all the time in the world to stay in shape. Here's to a great year ahead of keeping fit and having fun at the same time! 

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