In the States, I am a gym rat, 4-5 times a week I would pound the cardio machines and stress out my muscles with the weights. About 2 months before I left, my neighborhood gym expanded and turned into a 'Super Fitness Center' for no extra cost to me. This new gym had a multitude of cardio machines with iPod plug ins and televisions for each person. All the weight machines were brand new, nothing smelt old and musty and the best part: steam and dry sauna. My mom, dad and I would spend at least 2 hours there in the evening... and it felt great.
Zoom 4 months later, July of 2010, and I am in France trying to find a gym in the area. As I start calling around and getting rates I realize it wouldn't be possible to ever have the gym I had at home. How much is shocking? Try 60€ a month... compared to the measly 20$ I paid in the states I knew there was no way.
Now I recently began wondering... why are the prices in the States so cheap for gyms, but so expensive for groceries? How is it I can go for 20 bucks a month but in France it is upwards of 60€? What can I do to make up for this?
So I realized I would have to figure out an alternative... and here goes how I keep fit without losing money:
Bri and I received a Kinect for our Xbox360 for Christmas; it's basically like a camera operated game system that detects your moves. There are two games that I use for fitness: Kinect Fitness and Dance Central. The fitness I utilize for yoga, kick boxing and cardio exercises; it is great because it detects your weight/height and helps to provide goals... I burn an average of 200 doing their exercises and I am INCREDIBLY SORE after... meaning it worked. Dance Central is more for my entertainement workout; the camera detects my moves according to a song... not only am I sweating at the end but I am also learning a new dance.
Home Workout Videos
If you don't own an Xbox nor a Kinect, the next best thing is home videos. You can find them online or have them sent through a care package from home- I do yoga videos or belly dancing... they are great because you can put them on pause to understand a move... and if you want you can do it in your underwear- can't get that in a gym! There are also many YouTube channels that are free with these types of exercises.
Inside Home Workouts:
Sometimes we don't need a gym at all to work out... a simple search on Google and here's what I found: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/at-home-workouts-0 Basically a listing of some workouts one can do at home... it still works out the body... but without the cost.
Outside Activities: Velo'v
I am personally not a fan of running, I have knee problems due to a fall in September so running is a little to shocking on my knees- however I do love the Velo'v. I can hop on a bike and go about 5-7 miles a day and it feels like I am zipping along; it still works out your heart and gets your butt/legs in shape.
Avoid the Metro
When running errands try not to utilize the metro... especially if you have some time. The walking helps to keep the heart rate up... and the faster you walk the better.
Cours de Fitness Collectif
Sometimes you can find special deals on collective fitness classes, like from this: http://www.cours-fitness-lyon.com/activites.php They offer September to June prices for only a few hundred euro... much more inexpensive than the gym prices. Just do a little search for cours de fitness en Lyon and you'll get a listing.. it takes some picking through but there are good deals.
Just Eat Healthy
Staying in shape is difficult.. but it can be even worse when we give into our ultimate French cravings and scarf down the delicious cuisine. More than 50% of being in shape comes from what we put into our mouths.. while that croissant is good on a Saturday, it's probably best to avoid having one every morning. I gained the most weight when I ate croissants for breakfast and cheese with every meal... also... cut down the alcohol, this is a huge part... alcohol is heavy on calories and we often don't watch how much we are drinking. One glass of wine a night is probably the most one should intake on a daily basis.
Good luck.. staying fit is important.. otherwise we return back home and all our families won't recognize us.