Here is a great question that focuses on getting fit and losing weight on a budget. I think I can help. Here is the question:
"There are some great ideas on the Stew Smith article archive for losing weight and such. However, I am 25 years old, I am single and live from paycheck to paycheck. Many things that people suggest doing are quite frankly too expensive - Gym memberships and food included. How do you lose weight and build muscle on a very strict budget? I am looking to lose a significant amount of weight and know that I have to start small. What do you suggest?"
You can get fit and lose weight with little or no money at all - it just takes an investment of time. You can achieve your goals if you follow these suggestions:
First and foremost, this is the fat burning method that is easy on the wallet, but you can spend a majority of your time on this depending on your current fitness level. If you are a beginner, I do not recommend starting off running in the first 4-6 weeks, especially if you have significant weight to lose ( 30 pounds). Walk it off! By walking further and more often throughout your day, you can add to your calorie expenditure with very little effort. However, a session of walking 20-30 minutes at a faster than normal pace is recommended on a daily basis. For a FREE idea for a fitness plan with nutrition tips and workouts see the "45 Day Beginner Program" (PDF). Be prepared to do something daily and lose 15-20 lbs.
Water is FREE!
Water is the magic solution to weight loss. See the "Want to Lose Weight?" article at my article archive.
Drinking water instead of soda makes a huge difference on your calorie intake. I have seen people replace soda with water and lose 25 lbs. in one year. They did not have to do anything else - just replace soda. Water is the KEY!
Dumbbells and Calisthenics
You can get a few pairs of dumbbells for a few dollars. Usually they cost about 50 cents a pound. I would recommend a pair of 3,5,8 lb dumbbells for the type of arm and leg workouts in these programs. BUT you do not have to buy dumbbells, you can actually use milk jugs filled with water or even large soup cans.
Here are Some Great Workout Ideas:
Try the Light Weight Shoulder Workout
3-5 lbs is all you need. Read "The Best Shoulder Workout" article to learn about the best shoulder workout ever!
Supersets of Pushups and Crunches
Here are some quick and challenging workouts that you can do anywhere. No need to get weights at a gym. These workouts work with your own body weight.
The Best 20-30 Minute Workouts
These "Twenty Minute Workouts" are quick and simple and will progress as you get more fit. They grow with your fitness level as you get in better shape. This can save your time budget as well.
Food is Money
Now as far as food, you are right, food does cost money. But, food is more expensive in restaurants, take-out/delivery, and fast food chains than it is in a grocery store. Buy your produce such as fruits and vegetables as sales come and go. Usually if you look for the fruits and vegetables that are in season, you can get them at a cheaper price. The same goes for your lean meats. You can buy regular meats like ham, steak, and chicken and cut off the fat yourself and have lean meat. No need to buy meat with the fat already cut off. And of course, as mentioned above, water is the key. Drink more water for a natural hunger suppressant, but do not neglect your nutrition and not eat. You should be eating 1800-2000 calories a day.
For examples of what foods to purchase, and when to eat them in your day, read the articles linked below:
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Military.com Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at Military.com. To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.