After the last champagne cork was popped on New Year’s, you resolved to get in shape. So, how did that go?
Yeah, I see you over there, looking down, shuffling your feet, and mumbling excuses. It’s okay, we’ve all done it. Well, nearly all of us. Still, though spring is nearly gone, it’s not too late to slim down and rock your beach look.
The real issue is money (and isn’t that always the issue?). Glowing skin, beachy highlighted hair, and hard abs usually mean big bucks spent on salons and personal trainers. I don’t even want to see the tanning bill for the Jersey Shore cast! However, this site is Mr. Cheap Stuff, after all, so we’re here to show you how to do it for less.
Let’s start with your body. It’s the most noticeable, and aside from looking good, being in great shape is better for your health.
1. Dieting For Less
Okay, you could simply eat less, and obviously that costs nothing (actually you save money, if you’re buying less food). Yet most people struggle with dieting. If you don’t choose the right foods, you won’t get the proper nutrition to sustain your energy and health while on a lower calorie level, and you’ll be more tempted to cheat.
I’ve lost count of how many diets start out with good intentions, only to end in a pile of potato chips. So it’s helpful to choose a healthy, simple diet that has already been carefully thought out by experts. I’ve tried many, and finally I’m losing weight with the right plan. See the next couple of tips for my recommendations.
Of course, you can feel free to try other options; check out our Nutrisystem coupons. The important thing is to find a plan that is realistic for your needs and tastes. If a diet includes a lot of foods you dislike, or is overly rigid, you probably won’t stick to it. Go for a plan that can fit your life.
2. An Easy Diet For Women
Jillian Michaels’ Ripped in 30 Meal Plan. I found this one through buying the Ripped in 30 workout DVD, which gives you a link to download a printable plan. The DVD is about $10 and includes four workouts, so between that and the meal plan, it’s an excellent value. You can get it at Buy.com using our Mr. Cheap Stuff coupons.
This diet has 10 days of meals, so you repeat the cycle three times to get a full month of menus. Seriously, the recipes are delicious, they don’t taste like diet food, I haven’t felt hungry, and I’ve been losing 2 pounds a week, no problem.
3. An Easy Diet For Men
Eat This, Not That by Men’s Health Magazine. Their website is full of great tips to avoid fattening takeout and restaurant food – but for a quick and easy plan, try their Shop Once, Eat for a Week diet. (You’ll need to sign up for their email list to get that one. A second week of the plan is available to print here.) These diets are full of guy-friendly foods like fajitas, nachos and burgers. The recipes are delicious, but actually a little bit too heavy and filling for me, as a woman. For a guy, though, it’s perfect.
With the diet under control, now you have to focus on exercise. No need for a gym; there are so many free or cheap choices for getting in shape. In fact, the hot trend in fitness now is called “functional fitness”.
This means, instead of going to a gym and doing exercises for isolated muscles, you perform exercises that use your whole body and your body weight, which is what you would more likely do in real life situations. Examples are pushups, squat-thrusts (also called burpees), pullups, planks, etc. Even Navy Seals get in shape this way, so we know it works. If you don’t know how to do these exercises, just pay a quick visit to YouTube and search for the name of the exercise to see plenty of demonstrations.
And of course, there’s walking, running, swimming (free if you’re near an ocean or public pool), and even just dancing around the living room (yes, I admit to doing this). Workout DVD’s are cheap -even new ones are often under $10- or you can borrow some from the library. I like DVD’s because I can work out when it’s convenient. Sometimes I pop one in at 11 p.m., if that’s the only time I have free for exercise.
5. Getting A Healthy Tan
Okay, moving on to your skin. We all know it’s unhealthy to bake in the sun, no matter what your race or natural skintone. Even if you tan easily, you may regret it later when you see the wrinkles (and possibly skin cancer) that can result.
For a little bit of glow, try a gradual tanning moisturizer. Examples would be Jergens Natural Glow, or a store brand with similar ingredients. These products mainly moisturize but have a small amount of self-tanner.
If you want a full-on sunless tan, try Hawaiian Tropic Island Radiance Self Tanner. It smells good (tropical, naturally) and leaves skin smooth. Usually sunless tans take a day or so to fully develop, and you have to reapply every few days to keep up the tan.
If you want a right-now fake bake for a party, then buy a bronzer. An example would be L’Oreal Sublime Bronze One Day. This is not a self-tanner, basically it’s just dark bronze body makeup and it washes off, so I don’t recommend it for swimming, but if you want to resemble a “Dancing with the Stars” cast member, then bronzer is your friend. All these products cost under $10 and you can get them from Drugstore.com with our coupons.
6. Always Use Sunscreen Or Sunblock
Now that you have a healthy type of tan, remember that self-tanners and bronzers often don’t include a sunblock, so make sure to check your products. If they’re labeled with an SPF number, you’re covered. If not, be sure to buy a separate sunscreen or sunblock and consistently use it on your face and body before you head out.
High maintenance hair is not the best choice for hot, sunny, sticky days. Skip the time-consuming and costly blowouts and show your natural waves (if you have them) or pull your hair back. Yes, men, this applies to you as well, if your locks are on the longer side – surfer dudes don’t need to straighten their hair! If you insist on the smooth and straight look, John Freda Frizz-Ease is a godsend, though.
Now, how about getting some beachy blond streaks? Jennifer Aniston pays a fortune for her hair, but you don’t have to. If you have lighter hair and want highlights, the time-honored cheap way is to fill a spray bottle with lemon juice, spray on your hair, comb through, and head out to let the sunshine do the work. Darker hair will need more help. Try L’Oreal Touch-on Highlights. Again, all products are under $10.
Forget heavy winter spackle; go with a lighter touch and use products that stay put in sweaty weather. You can forego foundation; get a self-tanner specifically for faces, and you’ll get a nice glow that won’t wash away. Waterproof mascara is a must; fortunately one of the most popular mascaras is cheap – Maybelline Great Lash comes in a waterproof version and is only about $5.
Photo credit via Flickr (memoflores, Newbirth 35, puck90, Ulf Liljakoski, greenlagirl, jrishel, lightbrigade)