If I told you that one cost-free, equipment-free, all-body exercise will build your lungs and nearly every muscle in just minutes, you'd probably think I was an infomercial worm trying to sell you a gadget.
But I'm just a finance blogger who hates paying to sweat. The average gym membership now costs around $50 a month, according to a CNBC report, on top of initiation fees. You could shop around for the best deals but you're still going to shell out money to work out under someone else's roof. And you probably won't use the equipment as much as you think you will, given that 70% of gym members overestimate how often they'll visit, says the book Freakanomics.Home fitness equipment is no bargain either. You'll pay an average of $296.32 for a stationary bike and $586.19 for an elliptical trainer, according to the National Sporting Goods Association. Add a personal trainer at $60 to $70 an hour, and you're pushing into several thousand a year with likely no payoff. Your New Year's resolution to get fit will fizzle faster than uncorked bubbly. The only thing getting leaner will be your checking account.
All you need to do are burpees. B-u-r-p-e-e-s.
I don't mean gulping air real fast and acting rude. My kind of burpees combine a push up and squat jump in one movement. You will suck air. Your muscles will burn. Burpees could reap you more dividends than the market in 2011.
"More importantly than the money, it's the time factor," personal trainer Lisa Richardson, co-owner of the Fitness Clinic of Los Gatos (Calif.), told WalletPop. Barriers to exercise always come up, Richardson said. "There's no barrier if the exercise is where you are. I always like people to have a routine that they can fall back on at home."
Richardson has several clients doing burpees. She recommends starting slowly, especially if
you've been inactive. It is an advanced exercise that might require modification at first. You might have to work on the push up part by doing push ups with knees on the ground or by pushing off a counter top. Even a fit person will have trouble doing more than 10 regular push up burpees out of the chute.
"As an all-around, inexpensive, time-efficient way to improve your fitness, burpees are in a class by themselves," declares the Daily Fitness Solution.
This WalletPopper swears by burpees, even on vacation. The only way you'll get me into a gym
is if it has a happy hour.
To perform a push up burpee, see the demonstration here. You lower into a squat position with hands on the floor in front of you. Snap your feet back as you lower yourself into a push up. Finish the push up and then return to the squat position and leap as high as you can. Repeat, moving quickly but in control. Work up to several sets between 10 and 15.
You probably don't want to extend the routine beyond 10 minutes or so if you're doing just burpees. If you want to keep your heart pounding for a longer workout, you can march in place between sets, Richardson advised.
It's the ultimate in sweat equity.
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